Jeff Goins (@JeffGoins) rejoins us to dispel a disheartening stereotype and discuss his new book Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age.
“A starving artist is somebody who is unnecessarily suffering for the sake of their gift.” -Jeff Goins
The Cheat Sheet:
- Why be a starving artist like van Gogh when you can be a thriving artist like Michelangelo?
- How do you go from tinkering as a hobbyist to making money from your craft?
- How to distinguish yourself in a crowd of amateurs.
- Ways to utilize your day job to support your crafty side hustle.
- How to stick to your guns and stay motivated when people don’t want to pay you what you’re worth.
- And so much more…
For generations, concerned parents have been discouraging their kids from pursuing creative work because of one simple, flawed premise: there’s no money in it. How many potential Hemingways have been pressed into more “sensible” professions because the arts are popularly seen as devoid of financial stability?
Last time he was here, author Jeff Goins helped us pinpoint our ideal livelihood. This time around, he shows us why we don’t have to sacrifice financial stability in pursuit of a creative career as outlined in his new book Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
More About This Show
The starving artist has been a popular trope in our society since probably well before van Gogh experimented with his own unique brand of body modification. But it wasn’t always this way, and Jeff Goins — author of Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age — is doing his best to dispel it whence it came.
But first, we should redefine what we think of when the word “artist” comes to mind.
“I think you could be a starving artist in any vocation,” says Jeff. “I think being an artist means that you have a creative gift to share with the world…a starving artist, then, is somebody who is unnecessarily suffering for the sake of their gift. You could be a small business owner — in fact, I think a lot of small business owners are starving artists — they think that this is their lot in life to make a million dollars and spend 960,000 of those dollars, and this is the plight of being a small business owner.”
It’s a mindset. Someone who takes on the starving artist role generally does so because they have it in their head that it’s the way things are supposed to be. There’s a misplaced romanticism attached to the notion of suffering for art, and a long roster of revered creative luminaries who died penniless: Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent van Gogh, and Oscar Wilde to name a few. But Jeff has a better role model to follow: Michelangelo.
In contrast to the starving artist, Michelangelo was what Jeff refers to as a thriving artist. When he was just beginning his apprenticeship, he challenged the status quo of working for free (or even paying to work) by getting his mentor to pay him. He knew his time and developing talents were worth something, and he refused to devalue it by giving it away for free. Far from dying penniless, Michelangelo went to his grave as the richest artist of the Renaissance.
Similarly, anyone with a thriving artist mindset understands that their art is work. And in order to do more of this work, they have to ensure that creating it also enables them to eat — otherwise it’s just a hobby. And there’s nothing wrong with having a hobby — unless maybe it’s a hobby that’s consuming the majority of your time and you still have to work three other jobs to make ends meet.
The 12 Rules of the New Renaissance
By comparing and contrasting the mindsets of artists past and present, Jeff devised these 12 Rules of the New Renaissance. After looking them over, can you identify which mindset applies to you?
Okay, you get the point. But how can you make the change? Maybe you feel like it’s too late in life and this is all something you should have considered in your younger years. Jeff gives us this to consider:
“The good news is, if the story that you’re living isn’t the one that you want your grandkids to be telling their grandkids, you get to change it. At any point in our lives, we get to change the story that we’re living. We get to reimagine who we are and who we want to be. So I don’t believe that artists are born, I think that they’re made. It is a choice. A decision to become this new thing.”
Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about how John Grisham became a novelist by starting out at a page a day while working as a lawyer, how we can use this Baby Step Strategy to decide if we want to turn our hobby into a profession, what Hemingway knew about mastering a craft that the amateurs conveniently ignore, how an artist turns what they love into a business without taking the fun out of their art, how a content creator makes money when everything seems like it’s being given away for free on the Internet, how to deal with people who don’t want to give you a fair exchange of value for your work, how to stand out from the crowd, and lots more.
THANKS, JEFF GOINS!
If you enjoyed this session with Jeff Goins, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
Resources from This Episode:
- Transcript for Jeff Goins | Real Artists Don’t Starve (Episode 662)
- Jeff Goins | How to Find Your Calling (Episode 463)
- What We’re Reading #3 | Essentialism, The Neapolitan Novels, and Real Artists Don’t Starve
- Jeff Goins’ website
- Jeff Goins at Facebook
- Jeff Goins at Twitter
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- Harlan Ellison: Pay the Writer
- Mike Monteiro: F*ck You, Pay Me