I had a great post all lined up for this morning, but my wife vetoed it. You’ll find out why in the next few weeks.
So, instead, today I offer encouragement to all those artistic sorts out there who feel that nothing will ever pay off for them.
You create things because God gave you a gift of some sort. You feel the need to write, sing, draw, or design. Something deep inside needs to be let out, and thankfully it’s not a demon. It’s something good that will bring joy to others.
But the money isn’t there, and you’re not going to be able to quit the day job. Probably true. Gigging in bars for $100 on a Friday night doesn’t pay the bill when you need a new laptop. Nor does the occasional painting sold give you substance when the auto dealer runs a credit report.
But with each thing you create, every paragraph you write, and each song you sing, you get better at what you do. Sooner or later someone notices and offers you work. It may not be much, but it’s the foundation for what comes along later.
I have worked on voice over, writing, acting, and Santa for years. About 20 all told. And just now is it starting to really add up. The money from writing isn’t fabulous – yet – but it is enough to keep me working at the craft. I’ve made a few bucks doing projects for people, and it tops the five-figure mark in lifetime stats. I won’t sneeze at the number, it paid for a couple of mission trips and a nice vacation along the way.
Voice over is now a daily revenue stream. I make okay money from audio books I’ve recorded. But it took years to get to that point, and while the work gets easier with experience, it is still tough work. I’ll be getting up at 0230 tomorrow morning to record in the still of the night. But that audio book, within 90 days, will be bringing in $10 a week. Every week. Just like the other six. So I’m going to see a couple of grand in the next year from the accumulated labor. One day it’ll pay off handsomely because I’ll record a book that gets hot and then it won’t be $10 a week, but $10 a day – for the next several years. I like that kind of math.
Santa is just pure fun, and is now very lucrative. I have a lot of overhead this year: a new wardrobe. But that’s what you do when you’re at the top of the game, and I don’t mind the expense. I’m comfortable in what I do, and the financial reward is hard earned after a lot of years of just a few jobs each year. Now I have more offers than days to do them. I still do a lot of charity work, but it is only fair to tithe some of the talent when God’s blessed you.
Am I bragging? No, I’m just trying to point out to those at the start of their artistic journey that it might be years of hard work until you have a decent financial reward. But when it comes, you remember all the mornings at 0400 when you started recording the second chapter of the day, all the mornings when you got up at 0500 to be on site at 0730 with your beard white as snow to entertain the children. And you will definitely think back on the nights when you wrote until your eyes drooped because there was a deadline looming. But you will make it. Even if it isn’t a financial reward, you will grow as you create, and hopefully improve the lives of others as they enjoy your work.
Don’t give up the struggle: it’s how God made you.