How to Keep Going

I found this talk by Austin Kleon very interesting. He makes good points throughout, but the ones that resonate most with me come under his point “make gifts”.

He talks about how our friends and family now react to the art of creation by suggesting it’s good enough to be monetized. “Oh, you could sell that on Etsy.” OR “You could run a food truck!” We’ve let ourselves fall into the culture of ‘side hustle’, with the implication that if something is good enough, it’s easy money, and why wouldn’t you do it?

Let me tell you, friends. It’s not easy money. If you want to make money off your passion, it’s hard work unless you are exceptionally lucky. This is just like everything else in this life, in this country. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but creative types tend not to be the stable, extroverted, salesperson personalities, and there’s a good chance that you’re really fucking with their heads by implying that they should be making money off of this thing that they’re probably just doing because it’s enjoyable.

Or if you’d prefer that I take it out of the hypothetical, it fucked with my head. I’m decently good at photography. I’m very good at ultimate (frisbee) photography. I don’t enjoy the process of negotiating deals, and I can’t even get people to pay me an insulting rate to come take great photos of their team/tournament/whatever. For me, it’s not worth it, and especially not when I see those photos stolen and used on social media at will afterwards.

So I’m back to doing what I want, when I want to, for me. It was nice to see “make gifts” as a legitimate option. I’ve made a few recently, and it feels really nice. I feel like I am, in fact, going to keep going… and that wasn’t a sure thing at all over the last six months to a year.