Day 4: Make your art work for you.

Vladimir Nabokov: That trite little whimsy about characters getting out of hand; it is as old as the quills. My characters are galley slaves.

Okay, so drawing analogies between the watercolor landscapes you’ve been retouching all year and galley slaves, who will spill sweat to row you across the sea might be a bit extreme. But the lesson here should be obvious. To be a creative you have to believe your output, the actual product you make, is of real monetary value. Don’t just say you’re worth it, be worth it. Know your value.

Daily task: Research the going rates. Find out the output required to achieve your goals.

Are you a travel photographer? What does your favorite magazine pay to publish a photo spread? Is it more or less than your last trip to the Greek Islands?

Do you want to write for the New Yorker? How many articles or stories would you have to publish a year to make viable living?

Stop sending work into the void and find out who pays what, before you waste your time. Next, do the math: at 200 bucks an article, you would need to publish 250 times a year. At a thousand bucks a piece, the number goes down to a manageable once a week with a two-week vacation. Now, ask yourself again, who’s paying a thousand bucks  a piece?

Refuse to undervalue your work.


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