I do not feel my creativity is corrupted nor stilted when I approach my writing as a business. On the other hand, I have to expend mental energy fighting the concept of financial validation. I think there is an inherent conflict there, but I understand how to channel the two mindsets.
As I was getting my Fine Arts degree, I repeatedly encountered higher education’s attitude that a TRUE artist had to totally ignore the commercial aspects of their art. To achieve expertise and fulfill their potential to create something new and innovative, the artist had to be free of “worldly considerations.” I argued with the concept then as I do now. I feel an artist has an OBLIGATION to understand the commercial aspects of artistic endeavors.
The reality is one has to live in order to create so one must “make a living” to allow for the freedom of creating. Every soul-deep artist will tell you their goal is to only pursue their art, to have that work provide an income to meet the needs of daily living so they can continue the pursuit. Artists know that “life” fuels their imaginations, but living life is NOT free. Someone has to provide for the basic needs while the artist is creating! Once upon a time, there were wealthy benefactors and today there are contests with sizeable monetary awards for the same purpose.
Pick an artistic discipline, any one at all and you will find that money had to be invested in attaining proficiency in that art form, even creative writing. Not to study, train, practice is idiocy of the highest order. No one is perfect when they are just learning. Actually perfection is an illusive goal that requires study, training and practice.
A writer could tell an oral story or recite a memorized poem without expenditure, but to expand one’s horizons of imaginings one has to read and books (or computers) cost money, even public monies if you are thinking about the library. To meticulously analyze one’s own writing, paper and a writing instrument are necessary. Just thinking the words, images, sentences will not make them the same every time. Committing them to paper will “freeze frame” them for thoughtful examination. In my case, I HAVE to invest money in my “equipment” because I work in many disciplines and would NEVER remember everything. The destruction of one disk loaded with poetry I had not printed out clearly impressed that point on me.
I believe the artist must battle the pragmatic emphasis on compensation as validation for expending the time and effort required to create. That’s where the REAL line has to be drawn. As artists are being trained I feel those people in higher education need to focus on THAT concept, yet provide students with the knowledge of how to market their talent, how to make a living at their art. I do not feel my work is cheapened by that approach to living life as a creative writer. I can survive in the real world, knowing MY true living is done in my writing.