‘What’s the difference between a pizza and a philosopher (or artist)? A pizza can feed a family of five.’
My brother shared this joke with me in the early days of my dating Cameron. I’m married to an artist, a gifted photographer. Going onto three years of marriage, we have never starved. That said, so much resounded with both me and Cam as we read David duChemin’s, ‘How To Feed A Starving Artist’.
‘Even at the best of times, I don’t like reading but he’s really good,’ was Cameron’s reaction as I read the book out loud to him. I usually can’t sustain reading aloud a whole book to Cam but the author did such a great job of having a clear, conversational, and genuine voice that I had no trouble. It was not only easy to read because of the author’s gift with words but because so much of it rang true. Cam and I paused several times to discuss how certain sections applied to us.
Thanks to ‘How To Feed A Starving Artist’…
You are reading my blog!
I’ve had vague desires to start a blog in the past, but never a sustained one. I’d always talk myself out of it before I even got far in brainstorming. There are already too many words out there, I don’t want to add to the excess. ‘Less talk, less mistakes’.
In Chapter 6, David duChemin’s section, ‘Create Value’, got me thinking, He talks about this in the context of making money (the chapter title) through what you offer as a creative. We were initially reading the book for my husband, the real creative in our family, but at this point, he started to speak to the semi-creative in me. He writes, ‘…you must first know what you offer and why it has value to whom you offer it. What difference will it make in their lives?’ He also says, ‘I can honestly say that the best business decision I ever made was to start my blog’.
I’m as non-business minded as they come and feel uncomfortable at the thought of ‘selling’ myself or anything in this blog (though I sure I am and will in one way or another). I also love my full-time job teaching and am NOT thinking of quitting to make money from blogging, so I can’t fully articulate why I felt compelled by that section. But how he spoke about value made me realise that blogging does not have to contribute to the excess of words in our world, that through getting my thoughts out there, I can offer something of value to people.
It all comes down to value. What do you offer or contribute? What itch do you scratch for people that they can’t itch themselves in the same way? And how can you do it so well, or so uniquely, that they will part with their time and money in exchange for it? – David duChemin, How To Feed A Starving Artist
I’m a teacher and love being one. I strive to be better for my students and every day, they give me something to smile, laugh and think about. My background in theater influences my teaching style.
I’m a Christian, in awe of God’s grace and appalled at how I often forget. I’m learning to remember and rely on Jesus’ grace more and let His grace shape me, what I say, do, and think.
I’m married to a wonderful photographer, taking me to places I never dreamed of seeing, making me appreciate all that’s around me better.
These are the sources from which I can draw and create value. Thanks, David duChemin, for asking the questions that made me realise that.
That’s my biggest take away but here are other points I found helpful:
Make your business ‘squeaky clean’
For a man of his success, the author is straightforward about his conviction to be totally honest in all his earnings. It was one of the first things that I liked about him. He encourages us to live with no fear of the tax man come audit time.
Seek the counsel of wiser people
He puts it out there that creatives are not very comfortable talking about money and probably not the best in managing money (at least initially), so it’s wise to seek the advice of others you can trust and discuss. He reckons an accountant and a financial advisor you can trust are gems that make your life easier.
Have multiple income streams
Just last month, my husband got his qualification to teach photography and he also said yes to one magazine assignment. I was teasing him about potentially having four jobs: assignment photographer, real estate photographer, photography trainer, and manager of his own photography workshops business. Turns out that’s exactly what it’s all about for creatives! Multiple income streams provides a sense of stability and security. As the author is also a photographer, many of his advice felt like a re-affirmation of the direction in which my husband is heading.
Save time by making use of the services out there
MailChimp for email subscriptions, E-joint for e-commerce management, and Amazon affiliate program for passive income are just some of the services he mentioned. These recommendations are valuable to people like me wouldn’t know where to start otherwise. He also explains these with some detail, also for people like me, who may not even know why these tools are important.
Are you a creative? Or a ‘semi-creative’? I highly recommend this book full of practical wisdom and wit. Check it out on Craft & Vision.