It is a well known fact that the arts world is badly funded. Despite this, if you switch on the TV, you’ll see creative people everywhere. They’re earning, they’re surviving and most importantly they seem to be creating more than you.
However for most creatives, starting out, we become a cliche. Struggling artists are always being asked to create for free or exposure. It looks as if the conservative government with their cuts to arts spending will be the death of the artist.
Worry not my creative friends, follow these three tips and you will learn the art of surviving! (See what I did there? No? Maybe this is why I don’t get paid properly)
I speak to so many creatives who give up once they get a rejection. Keep going. It’s usually a wrong place wrong time with most applications. J K Rowling, author of The Harry Potter series (seriously if you don’t know who she is where have you been living?) talks about sending her manuscript to agents and getting turned down or no responses. Her agent (once she got one) even sent it to publishers, 12 of whom rejected it! Imagine being those publishers who turned down The Money Making Franchise, sorry The Harry Potter Franchise.
What I’m trying to say is, there will be places out there that love your work. It may be in niche little cafes in hipster towns, but there is a market. Keep on sending your work out there. Be it through Instagram, Twitter or through 90’s email style newsletters. Check out sites like Arts Jobs or Aerogramme or just google [type of artform] submission to find competitions or open submissions. Who knows, you could be the next Rupi Kaur.
.@Coffee_Is_love The first agent I ever queried sent back a slip saying ‘My list is full. The folder you sent wouldn’t fit in the envelope.’
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) March 23, 2015
I hate small talk, which makes networking for me a nightmare. But meeting people is how we get work. We often create our work in isolation and then post it somewhere or send it to art galleries but rarely do we talk to people about our work. Join workshops, or clubs or societies. Find those Facebook groups and Meet-ups (trust me, there will be always be a relevant meet-up). Talk to them about your work, talk to them about their work. Collaborate. You may be speaking to (future) producers or directors who run galleries and theatres. Make sure they remember you. If you’re unsure about how to begin a conversation, grab a drink and walk over to someone interesting. Ask them how they’re finding the event, or maybe make a joke about networking. Chances are they find it difficult too. Ask them what they do, and after they’ve told you repeat it to them. It shows that you were listening and it helps for you to remember things about them.
Carry on Creating
Do not stop creating. Doodle and write on the bus, on the back of receipts or keep a small book next to your bed so you can write down your genius before you sleep. You won’t remember the idea in the morning. We rarely do. And it’ll just bug you for the next week when you can’t remember it. Creating is a muscle. Start with 20 minutes everyday and build up. You don’t need to sit for hours on end and try to create. Just give yourself time to adjust to using different parts of your brain. Just make sure you’re living and creating what you want.
Having said that sometimes we need a break in our lives to refresh or rest or just binge watch all the Netflix Original shows one after the other. If you’re finding it difficult to create, think of it as your body’s way of telling you that you need a break. Take it seriously. But then after the break, get back on the creative horse again. Not everything you create will be a masterpiece but creating needs practice. And the more you practice the better you get at it.
Go Forth and Create
There we have it. Three ways you can ensure that your life as a creative will carry on. We need creativity, its everywhere. From the wallpaper design in your bedroom to the car zooming past at 2am to the tweets that went viral last week. They all came from creative people. And you can do it too. Save creativity from the clutches of the Conservatives. We can survive without the funding. We have a future. And it will be creative.