Since the beginning of 2019, I’ve been in a period of change. Good changes, I would say. The hours of my second job slowed right down, since it’s the beginning of the fiscal year, so I’ve had lots of time for creative things. One of the reasons I started this blog was to let people into my often solitary creative life, so I wanted to share a little bit of a 2019-so-far life update.
The year began with an unexpected freelance writing job. I got an email somewhat out of the blue from one of the editors over at ELLE Canada asking me if I wanted to pitch a few personal essay ideas for their website. I pitched an idea that they ended up accepting, so I buried myself in writing that piece for most of January and then doing revision for a few weeks in February. I’m going to write a whole post about this freelance experience, so I don’t want to get to deep into it, but I do want to speak generally about how it contributed to where my head’s at right now. It was a unique writing experience in so many ways, but it was the first time I got paid for my writing. I had previously won a little bit of money in writing contests, but this made writing feel like it could actually be a viable income source for the first time in my life.
In addition to writing the freelance piece, I also did two photography jobs for some of my friends in February. In fact, the picture at the beginning of this post is one that I snapped before one of those jobs. Although I don’t officially have a photography side business, and I don’t consider it my main “creative gig,” I had two occasions where I was able to make a little bit of money off another creative pursuit. One shoot was a maternity shoot and the other was some headshots for a friend of mine who just signed on at a talent agency.
I specifically mention these opportunities I’ve had to make money, not to boast about my own good fortune or anything like that, but because it’s got me thinking about the business of creativity. I think this train of thought started with the podcasts I’ve been listening to for the past few months while doing the dishes and all the other mundane household chores. A lot of these podcasts are from entrepreneurs and online content creators who talk a lot about building a career where they make money from their creative pursuits, mostly film-making, but other things too. If you’re interested, I’ve been listening to The Ground Up Show, Portrait of a Freelancer and The Colin and Samir Podcast. What’s so intriguing is that they talk very openly about making money and strategies to sell their creativity in a very business-oriented way. A lot of times in writing, if you’re hustling too hard to make money it can seem like you’re being a sellout or not being true to your art. We gloss over the business of writing, because it doesn’t really go with the romance of a starving artist. But, as Jeff Goins often says on his podcast, real artists don’t starve.
All this to say that I’m beginning to see myself as more of an entrepreneur in the business of creativity. My writing certainly fits within this scope, but I’m starting to explore other ways that I can make money besides just finishing and selling my book. For a long time I felt like my future income streams would come from a) my traditional jobs or b) royalties/an advance from eventually selling my novel. Now, I’m starting to think a little bit outside of that box and seeing how other types of creative work could be fulfilling professionally. I’m considering doing more freelance writing work, but I also want to explore building out a little photography business, making a zine with some original artwork in it and even taking this blog a little bit more seriously. I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, but I always felt like all my creative interests existed on separate planes, but now I’m starting to see my creativity more holistically.
Looking forward to the coming months, I’m not going to write less, but I think I am going to make better use of my time so that I can explore other creative projects that might generate some income. And, since we’re going to be moving to a new place (another big change that I wanted to squeeze into this post somewhere, haha) where I get a dedicated office(!!!), I’ll get to have a fresh space to explore this new chapter.
There are so many different seasons in life, so I’m grateful to be in one where I can look forward to pursuing new things and creating more in the rest of 2019.