A Sense of Abundance

I am a bit behind in my series on The Artist’s Way. I have a tendency to be easily derailed, one of the faults I am attempting to remedy through this process.

In the sixth week on the “Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” The Artist’s Way delves into our attitudes toward money. What does money have to do with creativity? Often what prevents us from pursuing a passion for art, in whatever form it takes, is a fear that we can’t make any money at it. We have to pay our bills, after all. We need something to “fall back on,” so we put all of our time and energy into a “practical” career, often smothering the creative passion within.

The chapter on Recovering A Sense of Abundance is designed to unearth those attitudes that hold us back, attitudes that are often rooted in our belief system. Is your god stingy or generous? A god of punishment or pleasure? Whether you believe in one omniscient, omnipotent being or a collective of higher forces–angels, ancestors, and animal guides–or in Star Wars terms “The Force”–do you believe he/she/they will support your dreams?

baby-stepsIf so, should you take a leap of faith, quit your job and move into your parents’ attic to write that best selling novel? Probably not. But you can start with small steps. Set your alarm an hour early and write before work. Keep a sketch pad in your car and stop on your way home to capture a scene that strikes your fancy.


Leo Tolstoy said, “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Here are some ways our Artist’s Way Cluster members are making “tiny changes” to reignite their creative passions:

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It is so exciting to watch people bloom!

Kathy, an artist working as a graphic designer, is experimenting with new painting techniques and selling her work.

Nick, a technical writer, is writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month.

Sharon has returned to her love of photography and carries her camera everywhere she goes.

Dani has entered her artwork in an exhibit.

Yvonne is visiting art studios and craft shows, allowing herself to explore multiple creative outlets to discover what she loves best.

(For more inspiration, read this excellent article on taking baby steps to our goals: http://mariashriver.com/blog/2013/04/hundreds-of-baby-steps-kristy-campbell/)

So how do those baby steps lead to abundance? First, I believe nurturing creativity and indulging a passion for art, literature, music, dance, brings a richness into our lives that has nothing to do with money.

I also believe talent, skill, and perseverance deserve monetary compensation. A friend recently asked on Facebook, “If I wrote an autobiography, would anyone read it?” Another responded, “Is it free?”

Why are artists expected to give away what costs them time, money, and often a lot of angst? John Milton said, “A good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit.”

Where is the line between giving away a talent and skill for the purpose of gaining experience or mentoring someone, and valuing that skill enough to put a price on it?

I leave this question open ended, because I don’t have an answer for myself yet. How about you?

4 thoughts on “A Sense of Abundance

  1. Great post. I get paid to write, but it’s not the kind of writing that I like to do. I am surprised by how many of my friends and family expect copies of my memoir for free. Money and creativity seem to be entangled, at least in my life. I am committing to myself to write whatever the hell I want in the new year. Not because it’s what I think people want to read or because I think it will sell and line my pockets with dollar bills.

    Elizabeth Gilbert talks about money and creativity in her new book Big Magic. She says that by keeping your day job, artists shouldn’t feel so pressured to create.

    • Thanks, Rae. I think you will find that “whatever the hell you want to write” will find many interested readers. It’s true that keeping the day job can afford creative freedom, as long as it doesn’t drain all your energy.

  2. I begin with zero dollars, practically, because I am on disability and my monthly bills far outweigh my income. It used to depress me. Now I realize money doesn’t drive me at all. If I happen to make money by publishing a book of creative nonfiction, first, I’d fall over and second, it would be icing on the cake. It boils down to: You cant’ miss what you never had. With me it’s: Write, write, write and see where it goes. Simple as that.

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