The two things no one ever seems to have in the pursuit of their art is money and time, but guess what? You actually have both, and they may be right under your nose.
The Money Issue
"Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver." - Ayn Rand
How many times have you asked, “How in the world can I quit my job in order to do my creative thing full-time?”
Or how about this one, “If only I could find someone who believed in my music or the art I create who would pay for me to create?”
We’re almost there. Then you get desperate and say, “I don’t even care if I make money at it or am ever famous, God, I just wish I could create without worrying where the money’s going to come from to pay my bills.”
So, let’s get this straight, you want to focus on creating, you want money to pursue your art, and you are willing to give up getting rich off your creative pursuits just to do them all the time?
Well, here’s how to do this exact thing. Step by Step. Follow along won’t you...?
You already have the income source.
Let’s assume you have a job, and you don’t absolutely hate it. You may even like it. Perhaps it is even another passion.
Hey you wanted someone who believes in what you do, who else better than YOU? And, there will never be someone who you (hopefully) completely control and can subjugate like yourself.
Now, of course this assumes you make enough to pay your bills and can put some toward your music. At any point it becomes how good are you at your finances, and can you sacrifice in some areas (usually entertainment and personal purchases) and put that money towards creating?
But let’s assume you can. Boom! You can quit waiting for your creating to make it’s own income and just enjoy creating. If it makes something, great!
This goes for retirement too. If you plan correctly, and work all your life, you should have social security and savings to spend all your time after age 62-67 creating if you want to.
The Time Issue
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." - Carl Sandburg
Once you’ve decided that you will be your own income source (or perhaps you and your spouse are of one accord on this, and good luck with that!), the next step is time management.
To me this has become the most important thing about using my income to fund my personal creative projects.
It’s easy to spend the few hours you have not doing your job doing other things like eating, sleeping, hanging with family or friends, video games, TV watching, etc.
But the real secret to creative success and income, which is nothing new in my advice to creatives for over 15 years, is to carve out time for your music, art, or whatever creative thing you do.
Yes, you absolutely have to schedule your creative life. There is no other answer. You have to literally divide up and choose the hours you will spend focusing on the things that are important to you. Priorities should be in this order: God, Family, Work (and Work can mean work for income and creative work.)
How do you balance all these? This is the real challenge.
If you are married, there must be agreement that your creating is important. If there is not, then you have problems this post can’t solve.
You also have to put in the hours at your job, because that is your main income source to live AND do your creating.
Literally make a schedule.
I’m a big believer in notes, lists, journals, and writing down goals and timelines. If you don’t write it down, and work to follow the schedule, you may not get it done.
Making to-do lists is my secret weapon to doing all the creative things I do for clients and my own projects. And working that to-do list every day is crucial to making this all work. Check out the app Evernote, use a journal, or find some other app or program to help.
Find a partner.
This may be your spouse. It may be a parent or best friend. It may be a pastoral friend or mentor. It may be a person you hire like a coach or contractor who works to help creatives (maybe someone who, I don’t know...keeps a lot of lists and writes blogs?)
You may only need this person occasionally to keep you on track, or you may need to consult with them weekly.
The key is, now that you have a dedicated income source, the time and schedule set, it’s time to get serious on the creative life you’ve always dreamed of.
It’s time to stop wishing, and hedging, and complaining, and get to work doing the creative thing God gave you to do on this earth.
Have a great week!
Eric Copeland is a composer, arranger, producer, and maker of many creative things. But he does so because he has another jobs - including helping creatives make and market things.
If you are a music artist needing help developing your music and brand, including Nashville recording, and marketing to the world, check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com
If you are a songwriter or composer, we have a special program through our publishing company FromtheMomentMusic.com to help you find success and develop your path as a working songwriter or composer.
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