Money & Art: How to Shift from a Starving Artist to an Affluent One.

One of the things I hear most often from writers is the idea that writing doesn’t make money. The most recent Wordfest I attended, I had the pleasure of listening to Douglas Glover who wrote an engaging collection of short stories called Savage Love. In his interview, Glover had mentioned that he shared his time between Canada and the United States and had a wonderful University career, BUT writing doesn’t make money. In Patrick Lane’s letter/poem, “For Al Purdy” he says: “…Or the time we stole books at the McStew launch in ’73./You told me to stop taking the poetry. Take the picture books, you said./No one will give you money for a poem (excerpt from Last Water Song, p 16-17). I’ve had a few mentors who told me to forget about writing for a living and find something I like to do while I write. If I had an issue with this, if I wanted to make a living solely off of my writing, my love for writing was questioned.

I understand that art should only be done for the love of it without the expectation that it will pay the bills. However, what if your love runs so deep that it’s all you want to do with your day? I have come to the place where writing surrounds me daily and strangely, I am making money from it. It is paying the bills! This has always been a perplexing topic and I often wonder how the writer who lives secluded in the woods or overlooks the Bay of Fundy gets away with just being a writer. I think it’s time we changed our mindset around art and a prosperity consciousness, don’t you?

Here’s How:

  1.  Never Give up the Dream

Even if you have to work at Starbucks or an independent bookstore  part time to afford you the time to write while paying the bills so be it. Please don’t give up the dream. If you have to take a pay cut to be able to write more, this is a currency so valuable because it will enrich your soul and bring you closer to living your best life.

  1.  Observe Others Who are Doing What They Love.

Did you ever notice that when you surround yourself with a certain type of person, you begin to attract those qualities? I have a quote by Wilfred Peterson on my fridge that I read everyday: “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground, let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better then when you found it.” When you surround yourself with people who are doing what you would like to be doing (in this case when you surround yourself with other creatives who are making a living at it) they uplift and inspire you to greater heights.

  1.  Put Yourself Out There

The only way this stay-at-home-in-a-cozy-cabin-and-write-on-a-winter’s-day-like-Hemingway can become a reality is if you put yourself out there. Many of us drawn to writing are introverts who are challenged to come out of the “writer’s closet”. However, the money doesn’t just “Dumbledore” itself into our lives, we do have to take some action. If you’re unsure how to start, a great resource is The Canadian Writer’s Market. It lists all types of magazines to write to as well as how to get and agent and even how to break into the USA market. Ask someone you trust and who happens to be a fellow writer to go over the piece with you until it is where you want it and then send her away into the world!

  1.  Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude

Gratitude has been the pillar in my life. Look around your bookshelf and notice how great your collection has become, cuddle with your favourite books, curl up under your favourite blanket with a steaming cup of tea, go to a library and surround yourself with greatness between pages. Take a walk in the sunshine and grab a latte. Do whatever you have to to bring a sense of genuine gratitude in your life. Personally, we don’t have a lot of money but we make do. However, I am able to teach yoga, writer’s workshops and write to you each week. When I keep this in perspective, I feel RICH! I AM living my best life and you can too!


So block out the naysayers and surround yourself with those who are going where no one dared to go. It will pay off in the long run!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions and if you liked this article please share with your friends!

Happy Dreaming (and don’t forget to write!)