Anonymous asked: I am currently homeless and staying with a friend until I can get back on my feet. My life is still one mad whirl as an artist, performer, theater designer and I work part-time at the theater where I do all this work. As my theater work is community based, there is no pay. I have dreams of success in some field that I am involved in and would love to be able to make a living at it. Or am I to be a part-time janitor the rest of my life?
Your concern is somewhat related to Mike’s just below, so I shouldn’t be surprised to see the Five of Coins resurfacing here. Reading from left to right, here is the story I see playing out:
1. You devote yourself to art, resolving to work hard and make the best of whatever comes your way financially speaking
2. You endure all sorts of hardship based on this decision, and lack many of the comforts enjoyed by those around you
3. You emerge on the other side of this as someone whose talent has been forged in the fire of endurance. You have the courage of your convictions, you’ve learned how to do a lot with just a little, your optimism has become leavened with realism, and inevitably your artistic accomplishments begin to be acknowledged by a larger circle of people.
I’m someone who’s gutted it out along a similar path, and it can be a long one. In my opinion, the key to (eventual) success and stability are fourfold: quality, quantity, personality, and longevity. No one or two (or even three) of these are necessarily enough in their own right. If it requires you to be a part-time janitor for another five years, is that worth it? I think so, but I don’t think it will come to that.
One thing: don’t get so swept up in your dreams and ambitions that you forget to take care of yourself and those around you. I work a lot more hours than I’d rather, just so I can satisfy my creative and my material needs. You have your entire lifetime to inspire people with your artwork — you can afford to take time here and there to learn how to provide for yourself.
On a practical note: learn how to apply for grants. Write to people who actually get paid to do what you do, and ask how you can follow in their footsteps. Offer to assist or intern. Look three steps ahead of where you are now and begin connecting the dots. Best of luck to you, Querent!