Here's the deal. I have a deep desire to live a creative life 24/7. No getting out of the house to work in an office where I create spreadsheets and deal with budgets and hear the clock ticking ever so slowly & loudly behind me. I want to be a full time artist. But a full time artist that is successful financially too. (or at least to the extent that the office gig pays, how about that - trust me, that is NOT asking for much.).
My dream is to write & illustrate children's picture books. A friend of mine recently said to me, "Be honest. What have you been doing to actually accomplish this goal?" Ouch. This is my response to that: I go to SCBWI conferences, I write stories, I belong to a critique group, sometimes I submit manuscripts and/or dummy books to publishers, I read new picture books and really research what is working in that published book so that I can crack the code myself (AKA "read like a writer"). I draw a lot too and have been sending out promotional postcards to art directors. I have social media accounts and post about my work there. But for the past 3 years . . . 0 illustration jobs/0 writing jobs. Maybe there has been a move for me in the direction of my dreams somewhere in the Universe, but I'm unaware of it. I don't feel any further along than I was 10 years ago. I've been feeling very frustrated & stressed at my lack of achievements and question all that I feel drawn toward and my abilities to become part of that world.
Recently, I took time away from the whole process to fill the creative well and explore other avenues. Creating, just for the sake of creating without any real plan sounded like a good idea. Maybe I would just enjoy the process and relax. I crochet, so I learned how to make hats and along with my crochet group, we made 51 tiny red hats to donate to the American Heart Association for babies born in February. I also created some items out of paper mache - a Day of the Dead skeleton, Santa, and some fine arts performers. I absolutely loved making those characters and am excited to make more.
|Paper Mache Santa with crocheted cap|
|Day of the Dead Paper Mache Skeleton|
|Choir - paper mache|
|Dance - paper mache|
|Orchestra - paper mache|
|Band - paper mache|
|Art - paper mache|
|Theatre - paper mache|
So, how do I parlay all of this creative energy into achieving my goals? Especially when working 40 hrs a week at that office job? Here are things that I could try to make some cash from my artistic abilities:
Crochet: create hats, scarves, stuffed animals to sell online or at craft bazaars. Also, I'd love to donate hats to hospitals for cancer patients.
Paper mache: create figurines on stands to sell online or at craft bazaars, maybe submit articles to magazines to teach children how to create paper mache, research how to submit samples to companies that mass produce figurines (like Kelly Rae Roberts does or paper mache artist Lori Mitchell)
Illustration: Change up my entire style to find something more unique, marketable, but also able to create finished illustration quicker considering there's that office job taking up the day. Revamp the portfolio, submit new portfolio to an agent and postcards to art directors/editors. Put more designs up on my Zazzle site.
Writing: Take classes to become a better writer. Work on several stories a month. Submit manuscripts/dummy books every month. Try your hand at writing short stories for magazines.
Also, be patient. Don't get frustrated by not seeing a check come in for your creative endeavors. You can't afford to NOT be creative. It's a worse life than you could imagine. Don't give up and become an office drone. Work hard each day on something creative, put yourself out there, and believe with all your heart that "if you build it, they will come." Keep going. You got this!!
"God, give me the grace to accept your timing."