The Part-time Artist’s Journey

More of This and Less of Writing is OK

Is long . . .

In 2012, I started working for the family business again and also got a part time job at my son’s school. It’s been a blessing and a set back for fiction writing.

First, the setback.  It’s simple.  I have less time for writing. I think Malcolm Gladwell was spot on in saying it takes 10,000 hours of work to become an overnight success.  I was on track to finish about 1500 hours a year. I have about 3K under my belt. In 2012, I’m on track for about 600 hours of fiction writing. It’s a little disappointing to push this timeline out, but I don’t believe in racing through life towards goals that just lead to more racing around.

So, for example, I almost passed up a trip with Sage and Indy to San Diego next week because it’d cut into my writing time. That would have been silly. I’m young, healthy, and I have an opportunity to take my family out west for a week for little money. You got to jump on that stuff. I can sit at my dining room table and write when I’m 45, 55, 65 and 75. Passing up opportunities to be with my family just to be published at 45 instead of 49 is silly.

Now the good. I don’t consider myself a radical feminist or anything, but I have feminist philosophy built into my psyche from those who sacrificed, came before and rose above the oppression (Mom).  I feel indebted. Strangely it’s a bit of an albatross in that the flip of it is that I feel worthless if I do not contribute something to the world with financial value.  Unpublished fiction has no financial value. Published fiction will bring in the equivalent of a part time minimum wage job. I can’t blame all of this on feminism, because American consumer Puritan moxy deserves some credit too.  Wait, this was the good section.

Point being, working at SageRock and Indy’s school, relieves that guilt and brings more joy to writing by taking the pressure off to make my art into a sellable, respectable product. I am contributing elsewhere. It also gives me permission to take my time (see San Diego).

Now, I ask you . . . what is your art?  Is it your profession?  Is it a hobby?  Do you struggle with the idea of earning cash and bringing product into the world? What would you do if the money was irrelevant?


  1. Money will never be irrelevant. Sad but true. So art must exist outside the sphere of monetary gain or else you become a craftsman? I like it. Makes sense to me. And you are so right about the fragmentation being too great for art to really leave a dent in the paradigm like it did in the past. Is our Renaissance over? Does the technology make the cultural impact? I’ll be in my corner if you need me. 🙂

  2. What would you do if money was irrelevant? That’s another post altogether! But it’s an old question, and irrelevant itself. Money will never be irrelevant.

    I’m of the belief that the only art is art that you create for yourself for no financial gain. Working full time in the arts has meant a lifetime of doing gigs that weren’t necessarily what got me interested in music in the first place. I am not an artist. More of a craftsman, or, at best a journeyman. Capable in all the styles I need to be in order to make a living, but never really “following my bliss”. I am not ungrateful. I have been able to make a living doing nothing but music in some form for 15 years now. Sometimes, though, I lose sight of the love.

    I think this is a topic I could expound on for some time, but I will leave it with just the above thoughts. I am curious what people’s thoughts on that are.

    Oo! One last thought about the money and success. Posterity is a thing of the past. Our generation won’t have much of it. The world may never see another Goethe or Shakespeare. We have become too fragmented for that kind of cultural impact. So, maybe it’s better to just tend to one’s own corner, one’s own gigland (Milwaukee), one’s own outlet (blogging, etc.) In the end, we are ashes to ashes and dust to dust. Happy Tuesday!

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