I’ve recently started trying to change my lifestyle, from my thoughts downwards. I’m attempting to adopt an overall view of the world that is more positive–what I’ve recently termed in the new volume I’m writing as the “awe-filled” perspective. The instant I made the decision to do this, all hell literally broke loose in my life, as if the Universe at large was waving a finger at me (the way we do with naughty children) going “uh uh uh”. On the heels of that, someone very young and yet very wise said something very important to me. She said:
“You’re an artist and a writer. You shouldn’t hate what you do; you shouldn’t have to stress constantly about what you do.”
I sat there, gobsmacked, as she said these words to me. Why? Because she’s not wrong!
The things I create should be about passion, about infinite possibilities, not about my bank account. Is it stressful to live broke every minute of every day of your life? Of course it is! But instead of focusing on my “broke-ness”, I should be focusing on the gratitude I feel to all of those people who perpetually lighten that load (y’all know who y’all are!), and I should be emptying out that gratitude, and that passion, and those infinite possibilities into my art and my writing–constantly!
Think of it this way: you cannot put a fairy in a bottle (or a muse in a cage). How do most people react in that one scene in Peter Pan when Hook puts Tinkerbelle in a lantern and locks her inside? Most people are irate when that happens, no matter how old they are when watching that scene. There’s a reason for that: because we know she should be free! When we bottle up our creative energy within the parameters of deadlines and dollar signs, we are putting our own personal fairy in a bottle (our muse in a cage). And that is precisely how I have lived my creative life for the past year. For what? What have been the results of my having done that? Am I making more money by doing that? Am I enjoying the creative process more, having done that? The answer to both questions is absolutely NO!
So I’ve made the conscious decision to unleash my personal fairy (my muse): no more deadlines; no more “what can I make that will sell”. I am going to create based on my passion, and I am going to lace everything I create from this point forward with gratitude and infinite possibilities. Otherwise, why write fantasy fiction? Why create fantasy art? Anything less than passion, gratitude, and infinite possibilities, and all fantasy literature and art is a lie! Don’t believe that? Why did Barrie create Peter Pan in the first place? Did he write that play so that he could make money off of it? Did he have a deadline that he needed to meet? No! Barrie created Peter out of a place of dealing with his own grief over the death of his brother, and as a gift for children (whom he eventually adopted) who were also dealing with grief. Peter Pan was created out of a place of passion, gratitude, and infinite possibilities, and that is why it still rings true to us, no matter how old we might be when we first arrive at its discovery. Fantasy gains a purpose in our lives only when it comes from that place, and nobody is going to read fantasy, or want to own fantasy unless it has that purpose!
Has my life actually changed since I began developing this outlook? Absolutely!
For the first time in a year, I get up in the morning and cannot wait to plop myself in front of the computer and go to work! I turn on my iTunes radio (Katy Perry’s Roar has become my favorite song!), and I bounce along to the beat as I write and contemplate my next artistic creations. I set myself a deadline last week to produce shareable, free Facebook banners and avatars, but I am throwing that deadline out the window in favor of writing the new book I’ve started (those sets will come when they come; right now, I’m riding the wave of my passion!). And I feel free! Not only do I feel better, I’m finally making connections that are worthwhile, and seeing some “action” on my Facebook Page–connections and action that I hope will eventually turn into real relationships, but, even if they don’t, they make me feel rewarded, and that’s worth more than all the money in the world! I am fulfilled in a way that I haven’t been in a year, and am quickly discovering that broke isn’t so bad, so long as you’re fulfilled!
My life is becoming a Kelly Clarkson song (Breakaway), and I am unbelievably okay with that!
If you’re out there, and you’re living life as a struggling artist, consider doing what I’ve done: release yourself from deadlines; stop doing all that product research and trying to put your finger on the pulse of what people want to buy, and just create! Every second you’re spending on product research and marketing research you could be using to make the world more beautiful, by adding your creative voice (through art, through music, through writing, through whatever it is you do) to the tapestry! Stop worrying about how you’re going to pay for this or that, and ask for help from those who truly believe in you–trust that they won’t let you down, because they won’t. And then watch the stress disappear! Let your fairy (muse) out of the bottle you’ve been imprisoning her (him) in, and I promise–she (he) will fly! And so will you!