Late one evening on the way from Pic-o-De-Crop Finals (the national calypsonian contest in Barbados during the summer Crop Over Festival) my niece was teasing me about how I should stop driving and take the bus. I’m notorious for my horrible night vision. In reply I jested, ‘No, you have it wrong. I need to make enough money to hire a chauffeur.”
Instead of laughter, there ensued a serious discussion about how hard it is to make a living as an artist. No argument there, but what made me pause was: “What you really need is a full time job.”
I felt my ears burning. “Wait! So what do you think I’m doing?” I screamed in my head.
What I said in an even voice was, “Not necessary. That’s okay.”
I continued with, “There are artists, writers specifically, who are doing their thing quite successfully.”
My niece countered, “But aren’t a lot of them doing other things to make money?”
“Yes, but that’s by choice; they don’t have to.”
Then after a bit more time defending my case, I realized I shouldn’t really blame her. You see, like many looking on, her vision is too narrow. Besides, I was not the best example of “success” – if you measured it in dollars and cents, that is.
But then again, what is life without balance? Do I always write with $$ as the goal? Most emphatically not. Do I want the frenetic soul wrenching burden of being yoked to someone else’s schedule and whims as an employee? Or even doing something day after day for which I have no passion? (Please understand that not only do I have great respect for people that do this, there were times I had to do it myself. It takes tremendous fortitude.) Been there, done that and posed by the life-sized cutout character.
However, I must confess many times instead of producing regularly and being much more organized, I coast. (or get lost in a game or catch up on Facebook or watch a movie or take a nap or read). Inconsistency will not yield the money that I could be making. So, I made a renewed commitment to earn more income from my writing. After my pledge, I made a list of areas – some which I’ve started on already – that are sure to expand my writing: