January 5, 2014

My Advice to all Artists & Writers in 2014.

Do the work.

I slacked off so badly in 2013—and maybe others did too—because I can’t be the only one who has ever felt this way.

We all get a little off track sometimes, don’t we?  

I just happened to take a slight detour that got me…well, nowhere notable, really. Except here and now, which is actually a pretty groovy place, but I digress…Shakespeare got to get paid, son.

I’ve decided, 2014 is the year I work based off my soul’s desire; not based on lack, necessity, recognition, strategic moves, increased visibility or any of that nonsense.

Authenticity and writing from the heart are byproducts—mere consequences—of doing the real work.

While I did work with my desires in 2013, problematically, I silenced my desire if I saw no immediate financial gain. When it comes to matters of the soul, silence is violence. I was monetarily motivated, not passion powered. To be quite honest, the moment I became monetarily motivated, I started hustling backwards; doing the right things for the wrong reasons.

When I made my art about material gains and not about my soul, I limited my own progression and growth.

When we make the leap from being an artist for free (nothing is really ever free, but that’s another post) to being a paid artist, sometimes we get too caught up in bottom lines and dollar signs. I got so caught up in the joy—the “I’m getting paid to do what I love as a steady income, yay!”—that I started looking only at that and I let myself forget how I came up on these paid opportunities. I came up on them because of that heart and soul I put out into the world, for the love of the game; writing for myself because I love to do it; not because I started doing it to collect a check.

In 2013, I wrote material that I knew would pay—not material I wanted to write.

This year, I forgot for that I love to write, and that I’m good at it. I started looking at it as mere work—not soul work, but a job, a means to an end, a paycheck. I stopped looking at myself as a writer—as an artist—and had the attitude of a worker who was clocking in and clocking out. My checks might have been signed by someone else, but I forgot that I was still working for me. And so I didn’t work for me. I worked for the people paying the bills, and I did nothing more or less apart from that. (No longer a regret, but a valuable lesson.)

My ego got the best of me—“I don’t work for free. I’m paid.” No, I shouldn’t work for free. Bills have to get paid, and writers and artists, we have bills too…just like everyone else. But part of being a writer is to write when you feel moved, not just because you’re getting a check. By choosing to write only when I saw dollar signs, I denied my soul the outlet it needed and I silenced the voice I’d been so vocal about having.

“The best reward for a job well done is the opportunity to do more work.” ~ Jas Fly

So in 2014, it’s about going back to basics. Creating for myself and having faith and trust I will get where I need to be because I’m being authentic; Remembering where I came from and taking a few steps back to that place—that heart space I call home—and creating from there. It’s going to be about writing for the joy of creating and the beauty I find in breaking things down into words; not about money or power moves.

When I create with heart, love and authenticity, it’s a magnet—the other things I want to see happen—money—will happen on it’s own because I’m doing the work.

My 2013 model: doing the work because I’m getting paid—was backwards and broken.

We cannot get results from the work we did not do.

So, here is my advice to all artists and writers in 2014:

Do the work, for you. Make the art anyway, for you. The fruits of your labor—increased visibility, opportunity, financial rewards—are bonuses, because the joy itself is in doing the work. These fruits will manifest themselves, because they are a natural consequence of your actions.

Worry not about the crop; concentrate on the soil being rich, on getting enough water and sunlight to your seed. The seed will do what it does on its own—that’s the beauty of nature, and of art. The art will take on its own life once it’s created; it will work for itself. You just have to do the work.

Follow your heart, not the money. you can lose your heart chasing money but you won’t lose money following your heart.

You might not see how it will manifest itself, or exactly how the details will pan out, but I promise they will. They did for me, and I neglected to remember that this past year.

This is my gentle reminder to myself and to anyone else who needs to hear it: if you love to do something, do it! Do it for yourself—because you love it—and the rest will work itself out. Cheers to working it out in 2014!


Author’s note: I want to shoutout Danielle LaPorte’s “Desire Map” which is something she originally created for herself and then shared with the world. While I’d like to think I was brilliant enough to come to the conclusions above on my own, the truth is that her “Desire Mapping” process played a big part in me putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and figuring out why things didn’t happen for me the way I wanted them to last year. We all need a little help sometimes, even people who have psychology degrees and write self help columns. The tools are available to you to use if you’re really ready to do the work—I grabbed it, used it, and this is where I am right now. Thank you Danielle, you rock!

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Wiki Commons

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