I Choose To Be An Artist.
Today I identify myself as an artist. I am more than an artist, to be sure, but I am also an artist. Why does this matter? Because to be an artist is to decide that I will engage in the creative act and attempt to make something beautiful regardless of whether or not someone will pay me for it.
I will look for beauty.
I will persevere for excellence.
I will savour the process.
I will make things that look like crap and I will let myself start again.
I let go of the need to make an income from my creations and this is freedom for me.
(There is nothing wrong with making an income from your art, but that’s a conversation for another day.)
Today is about BEING the artist. Today is about choosing to create, because creating is a choice I get to make.
I share this as someone who spent several years “attempting" to be an entrepreneur. One one hand, I look at those years and I’m really grateful for all the personal, professional and practical lessons I learned. On the other hand, I was conflicted. Being an entrepreneur gave me total freedom to create whatever I wanted with my time, but it also forced me to have to sell it to make an income from it. The practical need for money fought with my natural impulse to want to give my content and art away for free. I wanted to be a blogger, but I happened to learn how to create an online business at the same time that I graduated university so I never got to enjoy “just” being a blogger. I had be Businesswoman, Strategist and Marketer and all these roles fought with the Artist in me.
There are days I look back on everything I learned about internet marketing during those years and I wish I never got involved in it. I wish that I could get to create with pure intentions and never wonder what price tag I should attach to the work. However, that marketing knowledge is useful and very relevant in this day and age. (It’s also how I got my current job!)
Alas, I can’t go back to unknowing it. But I can choose not to act on it for AWL content. I’m sure there will come a day when my marketing expertise and artistic side will marry, but for now, I lay all those weapons down. (Ok, ok, they are not weapons, though sometimes they feel like it.)
This is why I choose to be an artist: I want to know what it’s like to just create for the pure love, fun and joy of it. And this is what I’ve gotten to be experience for the past seven months of creating.
I don’t have to think about product launches or marketing tactics. I can just let the writing, videos, filming and photography flow. I’m quite happy to not have to worry about selling anything. I do feel that the work comes out purer. There are no sponsors or brand deals or ulterior motivations. Of course, sometimes those things cross my mind, but this is why I am writing this post. I choose to create as an act of artistic expression.
How to be a working (Not a starting) artist
I’m able to be a “working artist" because I work a full-time job, one that does not consume my every waking hour. It also means I have consistent income and I don’t need to make extra money. I use my free time to crate.
To my own surprise, I’m actually enjoying this more than being an entrepreneur. I enjoy not having to worry about money. I enjoy having money to invest in my craft. Although I have less time to engage in my craft, I still do have time. For me, right now, the trade off is enjoyable. I’m learning things at work that are relevant for my art and vice verse.
I understand that for some people, there is little to no time or mental energy left after work to engage in your art.
However, identifying and living as an artist is a choice we always get to make. It’s a way of framing our lives and our purpose. You, too, are here to create something new, beautiful and meaningful. There are always weekends, holidays, and summer vacations. We always find time for the things that are important us.
The Trauma of Being an Entrepreneur
I’m still making peace with the entrepreneur in me:
I understanding intellectually that we need money to exist in this world. I wish we didn’t. Or I wish humanity was evolved enough that we didn’t rely on money so harshly. I wish we took care of each other better, shared more and lived communally, unmediated by money.
Yet our society worships the successful entrepreneur. We devour stories of successful entrepreneurs and offer them our time, energy and affection as if they are above us. Especially in the internet space, success literally means you have more followers — your own posse of bodyguards and fans.
When I was an entrepreneur, I yearned for that kind of success and it eventually ate me up. I was constantly fighting between my honest-to-God good intentions and my subconscious need to be validated (and yes, I also needed to make money and “earn my living”).
After what happened in Montenegro in 2017, I gave up being an entrepreneur. I didn’t want anything to do with that mindset or that way of life. At that time, I felt like being an entrepreneur was a disgusting, repulsive crime I’d committed for which I needed to do a long confession.
Over the last two years, however, I’ve found grace and settled into my God-given characteristics and identity. It’s a rare thing to have the guts to be an entrepreneur and I’ve sensed God nudging me to stop judging the profession.
It would not be far out to say that Jesus had an entrepreneurial spirit. He wasn’t an entrepreneur, per say, but he definitely had a vision to make a change, worked outside of conventions to bring it to fruition, built and trained a team and created a new world order. Churches, charities and retreat centres are all started by people with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Being an entrepreneur is not just about selling your ideas to make money. Being an entrepreneur is caring about people and the world enough to dream of a brighter future and taking responsibility to make that dream a reality!
"Entrepreneurs are dreamers and doers, and that is exactly what you are, Anita.”
I’ve felt God say this to me, to which I reply, “Oh ok. But I’m working a job.(?)”
“Just enjoy it and make the most of it. You’ll see it come together later.”
So today I find myself an artist, with an entrepreneurial spirit who works currently at a creative job.
I am creating, incubating, expressing and cultivating.
I’ve never worn this one before and I’m liking how it fits. :)
Thank you so much for reading! Your presence here means a lot to me. Please feel free to leave me a comment below! Thank you for sharing in this journey with me.
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