On Writing For a Life

Pieter Claeszoon - Still Life with a Skull and...

Pieter Claeszoon – Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writers are very special entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, writers learn late that there is a business side of their art because of a belief that art has nothing to do with business. In order to exist art has everything to do with business.

This is how I learned: I never pursued art. Art chased me and Art has always loved me.

Believe me, I ran from writing for a living for years. Earlier in life, I was angry and envious of people who had abilities to excel in math and science. These people were all but worshiped in school as I was growing up. As a result of testing in the sixth grade, I was tracked into the non-academic track, relegated to remedial classes in math and told I would never be much more than a housewife.

In my strengths analysis (associated with the SAT’s) it was found that I had drama timing sense. I had spatial intelligence so that I could identify the three-dimensional outcomes of flattened shapes. I had color sense and a profound love for words. I had musical intelligence and,most pervasive of all, a deep need for periodic silence and solitude. Back then, introversion was something to be treated as a social malady and my talent mix does not usually lead to engineering.

In this culture, a creative childĀ  is admired as a curiosity like two-headed cat, but the common thinking is that we would shrug off this “unreality” and somehow “grow out of it”. An adult with intentions of becoming a professional artist is judged to be weird at best and immature at worst. Career experts often recommend them to “have a plan B” or “get a real job”. Some parents even threaten not to support children who declare art majors and urge them to switch to accounting because of the fear that the arts have negative career potential after graduation.

To my brothers and sisters in whatever art loves them:

What the gypsy lady says is simple: discover the original factory installation talent and gift package as early as possible, then unashamedly work it to the hilt. The one thing I have found out in my short lifetime is that nothing develops well if not given all it needs for growth. Flowers never bloom when starved of light, good soil and proper nourishment. The plants may grow, but their development may be stunted and ugly. So it is with potential musicians. singers, dancers, painters, sculptors and writers. Regardless of whether or not you will ever make it to Broadway, get rich, and seem totally useless to an ugly, money obsessed culture like ours today, take your native strengths seriously, develop them passionately and avoid frustration and regret later.

I stopped running away from words at last. I turned around and embraced them and here I am speaking to you today.