Friday, March 23, 2012

The Artist's Dilemma

Yeah, but shouldn’t I be out there generating business?

That’s the artist’s dilemma. That it order to monetize our creativity, sustain our career and support our lifestyle, we have to put down the pen, put on the commerce hat and start pounding the pavement, spending most of our days trying to get noticed, get liked, get retweeted, get interviewed, get booked, get hired, get reviewed, get paid and get rich.

Which wouldn’t be such a problem, except for the fact that most artists don't care about the business of art. We just want to express ourselves and share our work with the world.

Charles Schultz, the greatest cartoonist who ever lived, has been my hero since I was a kid. In a number of different interviews over the years, his self-proclaimed secret to business success – not cartooning success, but business success – was simply drawing one good comic strip, everyday.

Everything else flowed from there. The movies, the merchandising and the money were all direct dividends from that baseline commitment to showing up at the desk and doing real work, every single day. Getting his units up, executing more actual product and shipping more lasting value, in the unique way that only Schultz could deliver.

We can't ignore our enterprise, hiding behind a desk, hoping our art will magically monetize. We still have to get paid. Artists who don’t sell, suffer.

But if we’re concerned that we should be out there generating business, always remember that doing the work is generating business.

When in doubt, create.

That way, every cent starts as a sentence.

What have you created today?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting

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