My father told me a couple of weeks ago that he has no plans to cut back on his spending because he thinks spending is good for the economy. I’ve wondered about his words off and on ever since because practically everyone else I know has cut back.
When people tighten their belts, artists, writers, musicians, dancers and so on feel the pinch first. In a way it’s understandable because we tend to think of engaging in creative pursuits or buying their “products” as a luxury. But this makes life challenging if you’re a member of the clan.
At the moment I’m attempting to stockpile art for my show in the fall, so I haven’t been trying to sell anything. But I must admit I’m worried about what the economy will be like in October, and whether or not people will buy anything then.
One thing I can definitely say is that I am getting fewer writing projects from mainstream publications now. The number of magazines is declining, and those still publishing are opting for shorter articles. When you get paid by the word as I usually do, this is discouraging. Some magazines haven’t changed their rate for a decade, and others have even lowered it. There are also publishers who use what’s happening in the economy as an excuse to take advantage of freelancers.
Recently I received an email about writing a 500-word technical article that would have paid me $10. No, this isn’t a misprint. The editor’s thinking was that I could re-sell my writing. While I have done this in the past, it can take months of networking to find a new market, and editors naturally don’t want to pay you what you received for the original article.
When you’re dependent on freelance work and selling art for your financial survival like I am, it’s easy to feel fearful. But you have to work at overcoming this because it’s crucial to cultivate resilience. I decided yesterday that what I needed was an image to look at while I worked …an image that would remind me to stay positive and to be proactive—instead of focusing on the negative, as I’m prone to do.
I immediately thought of the angel wing I’d bought from Colette Copeland back in February and I put it right in front of my computer. Every time I looked at Colette’s creation today, I smiled. Engaging in this activity makes me feel much better than reading yet another depressing report about the state of the economy (and then dwelling on it).
Who says art is a luxury? In my opinion, I believe it’s a necessity.