When I’m not writing, researching, or reading, I find myself watching movies. Now, I like a variety of movies and often I find myself watching ones that are inspiring—such as heroic feats during historic times. But there’s one type of inspirational movie, in particular, that I’ve grown to dislike over the years.
These types of movies follow a famous person’s life from where they started to how they got to be so successful. Many of these movies show them being at rock bottom and then finding a big break, but I feel that in some ways the movie almost glamorizes the struggle the individual had to go through to get to where they are. And, it also can give a false impression that in order to be successful, one must struggle.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “starving artist”, and so many artists identify with this. In fact, I used to see myself as this nearly four years ago.
I was starting a new life with my husband, we were moving into a new place, and I was free to write and do anything I wanted to do with my art. I had it in my mind that I was going to live off my writing and hope that someday I’d make a big break and be found by someone who wanted to invest in my story ideas.
Sounds a bit fantastical, doesn’t it? Well, at the time I thought it was foolproof. Sure, I didn’t have a lot of money, but in the back of my mind, I was content with having so little because I was so certain I’d get a lucky break.
Well, let me tell you, that didn’t happen. In fact, I ran so low on money that I had maybe a couple hundred to my name and it was at this point, I realized the “starving artist” life wasn’t for me. I needed money if I was going to keep going to comic cons. I needed money if I was going to advertise my books well, and I needed money if I was going to upgrade my cover designs.
So, I started working a 9-5, something that I swore I wouldn’t do. And, I’m still working that same 9-5 three years later. Is it my favorite job? Absolutely not. I still want to pursue my artistic endeavors, but I need a constant paycheck to do that.
I’ve been asked before, “Well, if you don’t like this job look for something better.”
Sure, I could look for something completely different, the problem is I don’t want to. I don’t want to be a career 9-5, I want something that will help propel me into what I’d like to do. I’ve met other “starving artists” who are in the same boat that I was all those years ago. I see them make the same mistakes that I did. On the flip side, I see other artists still working that 9-5 while pursuing their dreams.
See, I realized that unless I lived in NYC or California and just happened to meet a rich investor, the likelihood of getting that lucky break is so slim, I would have a better chance of winning the lottery. Now, please don’t get me wrong, there are artists out there who are living well off their art. That’s fantastic, I applaud those people. But what I’m saying is, not everyone is able to do that immediately. It takes hard work, trial and error, and sometimes you have to take a few steps back. Maybe you have to go back to the beginning a few times.
But looking back, I’m so glad I decided to do the 9-5 because it is so rewarding to see how far I’ve gone these past four years. I have gone from broke to successfully writing books, to now producing and creating films! I’m proverbially creating my own inspirational movie so that one day, maybe twenty years from now, I can look back on the person writing this post and be so proud of her determination.