In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.
These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.
Chapter 9, Don’t Work for Free
In this chapter, Jeff discusses the importance of charging appropriately for our work. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:
- Being an artist means that, at some point, we must let people pay us for what we produce. The creative process is about getting to do our work without constraint. Financial compensation is not the point, but it is part of the path to becoming a professional. Charging brings dignity to our work and allows us to keep practicing our art.
- When we work strictly without financial compensation, we run the risk of devaluing our work. As our work gets better, we must also fight the self-doubt and insecurity of what value we offer. Becoming a thriving artist is not just about making a living; it is also about setting our work up for success. Financial returns become the means to doing more work and producing more art.
- The matter of art and money is not so much a balancing act. In other words, our craft and the financial compensation can both prosper without overshadowing the other. Our best work often comes from the tension of trying to serve our art while meeting the market’s demand. Creativity and commerce have always coexisted, and these constraints can create unique opportunities in and of themselves.
- We want to think our work matters, but the world will not recognize this until we firmly believe it does. In this age, art can be business, and business can be art. It is time to stop devaluing our work and charge what we are worth with the right clients.
In summary, “The Starving Artist works for free. The Thriving Artist works for something.”