About This Show
Stephen Gordon is a writer and podcaster. His weekly show, Real World Happy, is about feeling healthy, happy, and loved. Stephen’s first novel, Constance and the Sum of All Things is due for release Autumn 2016.
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Episode 006 - Not a Starving Artist
Earlier in the week the incredibly switched on Hilary Copeland, General Manager of the John Hewitt Society sent me a link to the Harry Giles blog post breaking down the evolution of his finances as an artist.
Over a four-year period, it shows a shift from the majority of his earnings coming from non-artistic work to artistic work and growing overall but as he points out,
the majority of artists work for absurdly long hours for ridiculously little pay and to much unseen public benefit.
And he's right.
In a world saturated by 24x7 media, there is no such thing as a sustained overnight success. Sure you can get your 15 minutes of youtube fame but waving your million views at the till in the supermarket isn't getting you fed anytime soon. Even if you've got some of that Google sponsorship money, there's no guarantee the public will line up for 'Charlie Bit my Finger 2' or 'Sneezing baby panda - This time it's twins.'
Art, regardless of what it is, is the endurance of many things for little to no recognition and rarely for remuneration. That doesn't mean that everyone's going to stop doing it anytime soon which is good because life would be shit without art but it does mean getting creative in other ways to bring in money from non-art sources.
I took a short story writing class with Carlo Gebler 5 years ago and when I told him I wanted to write full time he was very firm on one thing
"get 50% of your income from something other than books."
I ignored that advice, quit my day job and launched myself into the full-time career as a writer no-one knows.
It's a bit bleak out here.
It's bloody dire. It's mostly made up of aspiring writers complaining they can't get time to finish their books, new writers complaining their agents / publishers aren't doing enough to sell their books, and established writers avoiding the repeated question about how they got their break because no one really wants to hear that you've got to write a lot, read a lot, build relationships and never stop and by the way if you thought this was going to be glamorous and easier that a regular day job wait until you're on your eighth book, barely getting by and the local newspaper calls you an overnight success because your first seven books sunk without a trace.
But they all still do it, they all still hammer away at their word counts every chance they get while doing whatever it takes to get by because putting book after book after book out there is the only thing that matters. It's