An acquaintance of mine is a rather phenomenal painter. She’s recently trying out her eye in photography. Where I first discovered she was so talented was at the show and tell during yoga teacher training. She said it took a lot of courage for her to bring in her paintings (and she shared about 30 of them). The canvasses were of various sizes, and the subject changed with each one. Some were animals, self-portraits, a Buddha that was ogled by more than a few, and a couple of them that started out as one thing and changed as she worked on them. At that time, she refused to sell any of them, though we all offered to give her paintings good homes. A little while later, she rented warehouse space in downtown Phoenix and participated in the First Fridays for a couple of months. Then she posted on Facebook that she needed to sell her work to fund another project. This artist traveled from hoarding her glorious paintings, keeping them in her closet, to offering them for sale to strangers.
There is someone else I know that began to write yearly letters to friends and family. The more she wrote, the more the words came to her. Short stories, poems, and then novels began to form on the pages in front of her. A few classes were taken, as feedback was sought as to whether or not she was a writer, or just a someone pretending to be an artist with words. The first novel was snatched up by friends and family. However, as time passed, it was discovered that many of them didn’t purchase the print book to read it, but rather to support the writer’s efforts. The second novel was met with similar oohs and ahhs. By the time the third was available, some of the family and friends were no longer interested in purchasing the story, either to support the writer or to read the words within the beautiful cover, is unknown. The fourth novel is only a couple of weeks away from manifestation. Though the thrill for the author is just the same as it was for the first book, there have been only 2 pre-sales. Despite the expansion of readership, the author wonders if people no longer take joy in reading the words of others, if the economy has truly come to the point that even books are considered a luxury item, or, and this is true in a few cases, the author has published books ahead of her audience’s opportunities to read the previous stories.
In the meantime, blogs of ideas are shared, suggestions for writing articles for the Internet are offered, though the writer is warned against spam and article mills of non-original material. There are many avenues to share one’s work, and some of those involve getting money for words that spin into thought-provoking adventure. Numerous factors affect the output of print. Time. Energy. Motivation. Payment. So much is available for free, and even though it has been reported that a very few can live off of love itself, this writer will need to solve the conundrum of what to do with her work. Yes, that was me described above.
When I started out, I didn’t have dreams of becoming the next Mary Higgins Clark or Tom Clancy or Stephen King. I wanted to write stories that people would enjoy, and somewhere there was a whisper that it would be doubly fantastic if they paid me for it, too. Now, I look at where I’ve come from, all the knowledge I’ve gained regarding the publishing industry (in all of its ever-changing glory), and I wonder, why can’t I be the next best seller? Are my dreams big enough? Do I have enough of a strangle hold on my doubts and fears to step into the public eye and expose my stories? And if I don’t imagine such luscious fantasies for myself (and then act on them), what will I do with my work?
Hoarding it, as my acquaintance opted to do for several years, is an option. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about rejection or criticism. Giving it away for free is certainly a plausible avenue. There are more pages on the web than any single person could read in ten lifetimes. Why not add to it? Some smaller venues are available for what I write. Ezines and some web sites that look for original fiction and pay a minimal fee. I can go the route of submitting my novels to a big publishing house and make some kind of living off of the royalties. Or I could go all out, as the painter did, and offer my wares to anyone and everyone willing to make an offer. How big is my creativity dream? How do I go about convincing my ego to “dream bigger”, and then “even bigger”? How much will it cost me emotionally, mentally, financially to get there? When will I know that I have arrived?
In nearly all of my posts, I attempt to encourage the readers to try something new. A different medium, a change in setting, an alternate way to tease the muse into playing. This post is only a little different. Instead of offering inspiration of the creative kind, I invite you to daydream. Where do you want your art to take you? Will you create only for yourself? Share it with a select few, or open your arms wide and entice the world to take a peak at what only you could have created? Where is your dream now? Is it to have your own studio or dance company or to be the star in the town musical? If you close your eyes, and listen intently to the whispers of the muse, the echos within your heart, how big can you dream your art to be? And then go beyond that. I thought it would be awesome to sell enough books to break even. Why not make $100,000? Why not $1 million? And just like every other post I’ve written, now that you’ve taken a seat in the movie theater of your life, what action do you see yourself taking to get you there? How soon before fear and doubt kick you in the shin and you’ve lost your hold on them, thus giving them free access to vandalize your movie screen? Then get quiet again, and ask yourself: Do I want my dream more than the comfort the fear and doubt keep me in? Only you know the answer. Motivation and energy and time and money will always appear when the dreams trump the shadows that hold us back.
My attempt to do a little of all of the above can be seen on my web site www.myjoyenterprises.com Some words are free, and some I’m asking compensation for before sharing. I have tips, and all my blog entries are archived there. I’ve seen the bubble of my dream, and this is my shout out to the universe that I plan to push those boundaries. If you choose to share your creativity dream, I’d love to read about it, so I ask you to leave a comment.