The Starving Artist: Chapter 52: Learning To Say No

As an artist I have found myself being asked to provide my craft for free. To perform for exposure. Without thought to effort, time or cost. And in the past I have taken all those gigs; anything just to share my talent with an audience. Gaga says it best: ‘I live for the applause.’ Now, as an artist I know it’s difficult to quantify what my craft is worth. But I know for dang sure it’s not free. And I cannot live on the applause.

So, lately I’ve found myself expanding my vocabulary. And I’ve found comfort in one tiny word: NO. So small but so mighty. Oh yeah. It feels good. Like taking back the power position in my art. And making a choice to make art instead of flinging as much as possible at the wall; hoping for something to stick. If I choose what I do, when, for what and why, I can hold myself to a higher standard. I become a creator with passion instead of pressure. Cuz if all I’m doing creatively is taking on more so I can take on more, then all those important and paying gigs are devalued. And if I devalue my art, how could I expect anyone else to see it’s worth?

Since I’ve started using no, I’ve noticed the yeses increasing. Now, I know that the universe is about balance. So, turning something off, turns something else on. When you start rewarding yourself the universe congratulates you and gives you a, wait for it, reward. By saying no, you can decide who you want to be as an artist- and better focus on that. You can start creating better art for a better world. But seriously now, don’t get me wrong, I love freebies. I can’t say no to a promo gift bag;)

The Starving Artist: Chapter 52: Learning To Say No

Where Have All The Words Gone?

Creativity is something that needs to be nurtured. It needs coaxing. It has to be cajoled and convinced it to come out and play. This is the best and worst thing about being creative- it’s work.

My family is creative. At least we’re creative thinkers. We can turn a phrase and make up words, terminology and conceptualize like you wouldn’t believe. Though, if you read this blog you might already be hip to that info. What you don’t know is that words we’ve made up become real; at least to us. So ingrained that the whole family -even those who marry into it- know what they mean. When I spend time with my family, I am firing on all cylinders. With each joke I am aiming to one up the last. It’s a mental workout. Sadly though, this intellectual intensity isn’t readily available in my daily life.

Now, now, that’s not to say I am not mentally stimulated by my day to day routine, I am; it’s just not brain boot camp. Plus if I was always ‘on’ I might find myself spending even more time alone. I guess what I’m trying to say is being creative doesn’t just happen, it’s a decision that needs to be made. Maybe it’s writing in a journal when you wake. Or it could be baking a cookie mansion. How about designing and building a performance art piece every month? Then again it could be writing a blog, where you get to create anything you want. So, even though I haven’t been writing as much as I would like, I know that I am being creative elsewhere. And it seems to be paying off. But I do miss these words we share.

Where Have All The Words Gone?

How I Write Blogs

Blog Time: I just told Hubby I had to go tippy, tap. To which he replied, “Is that a new class at the gym?” And I thought: A tippy, tap class would be amazing! Sadly, it was not anything that exciting. I meant tippy, tap like computer keys. The little tippy, tap of fingers on letters, building words, works and wonders. Clicking ideas together literally and figuratively. After a brief explanation of tippy, tap, I took a Mark Twain bow and promptly left the room. I am glad however, that Hubby dearest didn’t think tippy, tap was a new and special limited edition couples game.

Everyday I know I am at some point going to hafta (90’s slang) write a blog. Today, I procrastinated my afternoon away. Then it was suddenly evening. *I will now pretend we were productive: Hubby and I had watched cartoon research. We synchro strummed our respective strings together. We snuggled the dog and made meals together. I started another Friendship bracelet. Our groceries were stocking the fridge. I had stretched and strengthened at the gym. I was perfectly wrapped up in a wonderfully sunny sanity day. Then I remembered I had almost forgotten you. No, that’s never true. I never forget you, you are my nag. My beautiful Unicorn nag:) You are my responsibility. It is up to me to brighten your day. I accept this. But somedays that’s easier than others. And most days are others.

When I travel for work I am able to poke out a few ideas to build a blog foundation. If I am on the move my brain is going with me. I make the most of my long bus rides with multiple transfers. While at work I find myself scribbling notes and dictating a voice memo. I work hard when I am working. I work on all of my ahemwork, so that when I get home I am finished for the day. Since being underemployed, I have found my day is without structure. Music in the afternoon, gym in the morning, and cartoons whenever. It sounds like all fun and games, but I am going hafta write a blog at some point. So, this is what I wrote.

How I Write Blogs