Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Thought About Defining Your Own Success

Do your art. But don't wreck your art if it doesn't lend itself to paying the bills. That would be a tragedy.Seth Godin

The above comment was written by Seth Godin in his blog post "Maybe you can't make money doing what you love." Click the link to read the full post, which raises some very thought provoking questions, most especially, do we need to monotize our art to feel succesful?

In an earlier post, I wrote about how I define my idea of success for myself and I enouraged you to do the same. Success is a bright and shiny thing we all long for when we see it gleaming with promise on the edge of the horizon. If we're smart enough, or lucky enough, or work our asses off long enough, we too can claim our golden prize. But what exactly are we hoping to get? What if that golden prize is full of snakes, or demands a sacrifice we aren't prepared to make?

I love publishing and writing. It is my passion and helps keep me sane in my otherwise chaotic life. However, I know that the odds of me making a living doing the work I love are pretty slim, so I'm going to school to learn a skill that WILL pay my bills. It doesn't mean I'm giving up on publishing; far from it. By having a so called "day job," one that will help support Medusa's Muse, I can immerse myself in the types of projects and writing I love, thus giving my Muse a little more freedom to explore. I won't have to watch the bottom line so much, worrying that I didn't sell enough books to pay the electric bill. As long as Medusa's Muse can sustain itself, meaning each book eventually earns enough to pay its fixed costs, then I can keep doing what I love.

School is hard work and is already eating into my publishing time. Like right now I'm supposed to be working on my take home mid-term exam for SPEC ED 741, but instead I'm blogging and working on the Punk anthology. I know when I'm finished with school and working in the Orientation and Mobility field, my time for publishing may be more limited. I may have to scale back on my plans to publish two books a year, but I'll still be able to be a publisher. Time management will again be the battle, as it always is, but cash flow will improve. There's always a trade off.

Don't let the need for monitary validation destroy your passion for your art. Keep creating and experimenting, regardless of how many books you sell or earn in a year. Part of being in this industry is the joy of creating, of telling stories and sharing them with others. If you're only here for the glory and fortune, you may be very disappointed when you open that golden prize at last and discover there's nothing inside.

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