How can I possibly make a living at my passion? This question has nagged away at me for most of my adult life. Along the way I’ve learned that discovering how to make a living at your passion is the Holy Grail for every writer, every artist, really mostly everyone on the planet.
To me the idea of making a living with my writing was a goal that’s both a little too complex and vaguely defined. Maybe this is why so few of us ever reach itl. After being in this business of writing for two decades I’ve learned it’s much more effective to first take the time to contemplate and define what success actually means to you.
Step 1 – DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY
Let’s begin to break this impossibility down into more manageable pieces. The first thing I would like to ask you to do is to imagine that you’ve won the lottery, this is a daydream so dream big…you’ve won $100,000,000. Now envision that it’s exactly one year later, you’ve bought and experienced everything you’ve ever wanted, and you’ve gifted everything that you want to give away. Now, describe your perfect day. That’s it. Take a moment and write this perfect day down on paper.
A perfect day is easy for anyone to imagine and is not even that difficult to live out. Invest in yourself and use a paid time off from your day job to actually live out your perfect day. After you’ve done it commit to memory how amazing it feels. This one day is a small swatch of your future that you can now scale up to multiple days, weeks, months, etc. Also, if you discover your art is a major component of your perfect day continue to Step 2. If not, your art is a probably a hobby and, by all means, continue to enjoy it but it’s probably not something you would want to do as a career.
Step 2 – BELIEVE YOU ARE WORTHY
You must convince yourself that not only is your dream is achievable but that you are worthy of it. This takes guts. The universe will test your devotion to your art, I promise you this. Hurdles will be placed before you, people will disappoint you but remember these are only lessons to learn from. Don’t even think about starting down this path unless you’re prepared for some extremely hard work.
Step 3 – THE REALIZATION
Some people never learn the lesson that money doesn’t bring happiness (neither does poverty) until they’ve spent the best years of their life chasing it. Don’t waste that precious time. Decide how much money would you really need to earn annually at your craft to survive and add a little cushion to that figure. Mostly people are surprised by how different this number is than what they assumed. Write this figure down and then read on to Step 3.
Step 4 – ATTRACT TRUE FANS
Kevin Kelly has come up with a philosophy called, “1,000 True Fans”. This philosophy, in his own words is, “A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.”
Although it sounds simple enough on the surface it’s not but it is achievable with hard and honest work. 1,000 true fans don’t equate to 1,000 likes on your Facebook page, far from it. In my personal experience true fans make up a very small percentage of social media followers. For me it’s around 5% but I’m not sure if this is typical. True fans are more than customers, they are people who, through the magic of chemistry, you’ve made a lasting and meaningful connection with. It’s wonderful when it happens. These are patrons, people who enjoy your work enough to pay money for it, not once or twice but regularly.
This 1,000 True Fans philosophy is priceless because it provides a scalable target for us to aim for. I think it’s also the missing piece in a lot of creative people’s plan. Once you earn these 1,000 true fans the number will begin grow organically through the best advertising medium there is…word of mouth.
Step 5 – BE ONE WITH YOUR ART
You must live and breathe your art (whatever your art happens to be). It’s who you are, your passion and calling. It is embedded in your DNA so be one with it. Get used to the idea that you must throw your entire being into your art every single day. If you’re doing it right you feel as though you shut out the entire world and even lose yourself during those intense sessions of creating.
From the very minute you start on this path you will be on your way towards achieving what you had convinced yourself was an impossible feat. Coincidentally, and quite hysterically, as I was walking to my car typing this step out on my iPhone I suddenly noticed my hands were going numb from the cold. It was 18 degrees and I was so into writing this that I forgot to put on my gloves.
If you put these 5 steps into practice with true conviction I promise you will end up closer to the life you wish to achieve. We, as creative people, are so lucky have been born in this time. It’s easier now than ever for us to live our dreams. The world is shifting and a growing number of people are consciously seeking something more than a job that pays the bills, they want a truly meaningful and fulfilling life experience. I wish you luck and blessings in reaching your goal and I thank you for having the courage to pursue it. This is how we’ll heal ourselves and the world.
Eric invites you to follow his unfolding story by “liking” his Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/EricVanceWaltonAuthor for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects.