I saw the above post on twitter a few months ago and bookmarked it immediately. I knew I’d end up writing about it.
My initial thought when reading it was, “it’s a shame that being able to pursue your passion is tied to how much money you earn.”
It is a shame, but that’s the reality we are living in. American society puts the paycheck before the passion. And that’s probably why so many people today are so unhappy.
I’ve ranted before about how we aren’t meant to sit behind desks in cubicles for 8 hours a day doing something we hate to build someone else’s dream. But even before we enter the workforce, that’s what our education system is preparing us to do. And if you do decide to follow your dreams, it’s pretty difficult without any cash. That’s why we have terms like “starving artist” and why crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are so popular. I raised half of the money spent to record my album through an Indiegogo campaign and the other half through freelance work. The grand total for recording and production was over $3000. I have yet to sell a single copy…
I know, I know. Heart over money. That’s our philosophy here at AXL, which means it shouldn’t matter whether I sell any copies at all, right? My fellow artist friends all say that if you’re doing it for the money, you’re doing it wrong. And I agree with them. You should do what you love because you love to do it, not because you need some cash. That’s exactly why I put $3000 into a 5-song EP that I expected not to profit from. Because we spend our cash where our heart is. But if you don’t have any cash to spend, does your heart cease to beat? Do you cease to thrive? Unfortunately, I think a lot of us here in the USA do, simply because money is a prerequisite for so much of what we spend our time doing.
That leaves me with one question: Is it really possible to follow your dreams on a budget? To make a living doing what you love without an investor to get you started? Without a Kickstarter campaign to get you funded? Without a record company that’s willing to put millions into your marketing because they believe you’re the next big thing? Can you get to where you want to be as an independent artist with just pennies in your pocket and only a few hours to spare each day?
This has been my struggle for a while but it especially rings true now that I’m a mom. Can I provide for my baby, love my husband, spend time with my God, work full time, eat, sleep and still pursue my passions as a musician and a writer? If you’re an artist who struggles with these same questions, I’d love to hear your thoughts.