Money? Who needs money?

“I cannot afford to waste my time making money.”–Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz

Creativity TEST
Taz made this cool meme from a creativity test in the book.

I’m speaking tomorrow at Marc Allen’s Summer Writing Workshop.  To prepare, I re-read my 2017 book, Art & Soul, Reloaded. It was Taz’s favorite of my 20 books and, in fact, I dedicated it to: “Taz, the most creative person I know.”

One of the sections details the many myths about being a writer, the first of which seemed like a fitting excerpt for a rainy Monday morning. Enjoy!

I am forever grateful I never ran across the famous French novel Scènes de la vie de Bohème by Henri Murger.

I’d have probably loved the novel that was wildly popular in the mid-19th century. Revolving around a group of impoverished artists who lived in the bohemian quarter of Paris, this bestseller spawned Giacomo Puccini’s 1895 opera La Bohème and is widely credited as being the catalyst for the now-household term starving artist. Like Rocky and Bullwinkle, pancakes and syrup, the words starving and artist have been joined at the hip ever since. How many posters have you seen for starving artist shows or starving artist sales?

But it’s an exceedingly dangerous belief for any artist to subscribe. And it’s the first of our list to meet the chopping block. Using these words, even as a joke, perpetuates an energy field that does none of us any good. It cements an antiquated belief that (a) you can’t make art without money (so untrue, it’s preposterous), and (b) if you’re an artist, you’ll always be broke.

Luckily for me, I didn’t buy either maxim.

I was naïve enough to believe I could make a living as a writer. Without a trust fund. Without a bunch of savings in the bank. Without really anything but my own fool imagination.

You might have noticed my last name is not Rockefeller. Not only did I grow up with a glaring lack of silver spoons, but my father was a poorly paid Methodist minister in a tiny town in Kansas.

It was very clear to me that if I was going to reach my dream of being an author, of inspiring the masses with my words, I would have to rely on a different kind of capital. I would have to amass creative capital.

This unique retirement plan has been my saving grace, especially since I didn’t fare exceptionally well in the ranks of corporate America. Even after securing a college degree, my one concession to the normal paradigm, I bristled at thoughts of a “real job.” Even a semicorporate job (a theme park that, at the time, was owned by Lamar Hunt, the guy who owned the Kansas City Chiefs) frowned on my choice of footwear and my “let’s throw it out there and see what happens” attitude.

I’ve never felt the need for surveys, market research, and prescribed plans that, sure, might work for someone, but offer no guarantees for me. I prefer traipsing to the well of the unknown, the river of infinite potentiality, the field of the brand-new.

That’s not to say I always believed in myself. That would be like saying van Gogh didn’t suffer mental illness.

But between bouts of lying in bed and staring at my ceiling fan, I found the wherewithal to believe I could create work that someone might enjoy. Between thoughts of unworthiness and self-pity, I believed I could devise creative capital with nothing but a good idea.

I was able to self-publish not one, but two books. I put them out there even though I was a single mom with a three-year-old (for the first one) and a seven-year-old (during the production of the second one).

It’s one thing to call myself a freelance writer when it was just me, sharing homes with friends, trotting around the globe. But when I became a parent, it was expected I would settle down, be realistic, get a real job.

I am very grateful I didn’t listen to the conventional paradigm.

Because here’s the thing. You don’t need money to be an artist. You need but one thing. Persistence to keep getting up off the floor where you sometimes lie (or at least I did) with your face pressed against the cold concrete, moaning, “What was I thinking?” You just keep getting up and taking the next step.

When you have no budget, you’re forced to get creative. You have to find new and interesting ways to get things done. Like collaborating with others, like trading services.

Money offers a leg up, but it’s far from imperative. #222 Forever

Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World).

“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance when you’re perfectly free.” ― Rumi

“Sometimes all any of us needs in life is for someone to hold our hand and walk next to us.” ― James Frey

I promised my new friend Linda Ryan I’d participate in what’s called a blog hop.

And since today is the final day for this big online dance, I figured I’d better start do-si-do-ing.

The idea is you answer the following four questions and then run the bio and photo of the person who invited you.

So, thanks, Linda for including me on your dance card. And I’m really glad you didn’t have the anticipated heart attack.

Here are the answers to your four questions.

1. What am I working on/writing?

I just finished a story for CNN on the 10 best beaches you’ve never heard of. Before that, I finished the manuscript for E-Cubed, the follow-up to E-Squared. Probably the most unusual thing I’m doing is embarking on what I’m calling “my year of speaking dangerously.” I’ve been invited to speak, literally all over the world. Next week I go to Mexico City. The week after, New York and it just keeps on rolling with Australia and Holland and Finland and Canada—all the way through 2015. At the end of this “dangerous year,” I’m going to assess how I like this new component of sharing the love. I’m also planning to get back to my TV series, Off the Grid.

2. How does my work differ from other of its genre?

Tough question since, after all, we’re all one. But I’d say my main focus is on play and having fun. I believe the best way to “really get” the principles I write about in E-Squared is to let go of all the rules and play around with them like a merry prankster.

3. Why do I write what I write?

My main goal as a writer is to be a secretary for the Divine. I try to hook up to this bigger thing and simply take dictation.

4. How does my writing process work?

Hmmm. It changes all the time, but mostly I invoke the muses (the higher thing I was talking about) to have at it.

Thanks, Linda!!

Linda Ryan is an Intensive Care Nurse turned Life Coach. Her work centers around helping you understand the power your thoughts and emotions have on your results. She is the author of The Law of Attraction is B.S.* (*Basically Simple), and invites to connect with her at