On being a starving artist

I know a lot of writers in real life. Most of them have day jobs which are not related to writing. Most are teachers in some capacity or another. One is an animator of how-to videos. Only one is a full time writer, but she’s also a cartoonist and painter and sells her art along with her stories and graphic novels. 

I admire her. I really admire anyone who is willing to take the risk and rely on something like writing or art to support themselves. i think it must take either supreme self confidence and confidence in your abilities or a bravery I can’t even imagine.

I have a day job too. It’s pretty cushy. It’s easy and enjoyable and the hours are not too long or arduous. If I had it my way, I would have a flat in Paris or Barcelona or somewhere else really beautiful and take walks and drink wine and write when inspiration struck. I don’t have the balls to do anything like that though. To write full time.

I grew up in a house where my parents fought constantly about money. If there was tension in the house it was probably because they were fighting about money. I swore that I would never let myself worry about money, so I’ve always had a job and I’ve always made sure that I was never in debt for very long and I’ve always chosen security over trying anything risky.

I don’t regret these decisions. I’ve chosen my life. But I realize that I’m probably in quite a privileged position to be able to choose security, when there are tons of people who would love to be able to be financially secure the way I am. 

But I still really admire the people who have taken the difficult route of dedicating themselves wholly to their art.

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2 responses to “On being a starving artist

  1. I am totally sympathetic to your point of view. I haven’t pursued the starving artist lifestyle, but I am teetering on the edge tempting myself to dive in head first because I’m inclined to follow my passion. But self preservation is as natural an instinct as any, so the struggle is real.
    -Kenneth Lee Averiett.

  2. I’m kind of the same. I teach. I’d love to give it up and just write, but I can’t seem to make much money from writing yet

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