Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Value of Time - Etsy Lessons - Creating a Life Around Creating

It is one of the biggest discussions in the creative marketplace.

"How do you value of the time you spend making an item you sell?"

The mistake, to me, is in the asking of the very question itself.

The question, from the working or want-to-be working artist's perspective should be:

"What is the value of the time you are given to spend creating?"

Subtle difference? Only in the wording.

The first question asks us to look at how much we want to make for our creative efforts. Regardless of the skill level, the perceived value, the quality of materials, the market that exists for the finished product etc etc. It's a sales/financial oriented question top to bottom and often, in my experience, it puts people in a huge hole from the beginning in their attempt to make a viable living from their craft.

The second question asks us to define how valuable it is for our SOUL to spend time creating.  There are only 24 hours a day. How many of them can be spent doing what we truly love is directly influenced by only one thing really. How we have built our life around us to sustain those creative hours. In other words, how simply we live. The less money we have to make "out there" to support ourselves, the more time one can spend within. In that creative space.

The question, at it's deepest root is, do you value "having" or "being"?

I believe the reason more people focus on the first question is because it is how we are programmed to think by the society we have grown up in. An acquisition based philosophy that leads to so much suffering and sadness.

How much money we make is at the core of so much stress in our lives. But that is a perspective that needs to change for the better good in this world. How much we need to make is directly influenced by one thing only. What kind of a life we have created and are creating for ourselves.

I am amazed when people talk about the problems within the world economy today that no one mentions the one thing that seems, to me, to be at the heart of almost all of it.


Gone are the days of valuing a simpler life and in it's place we have sunk deep, thirsty roots in the soils of acquisition, status and wealth.

Call it whatever you want but when we NEED the newer car, the faster computer, the nicer house, to live in the middle of a city, the designer clothes, the two week vacations, the dining out, the best concert tickets etc etc etc we are choosing that. They are not necessities. They are superficial needs and that need is a product of human greed and desire. We choose them. And, that is perfectly fine. . . but, if what we want most, if our soul NEEDS is to create? What do those niceties have to do with anything in that chosen life?

We choose. It is all our doing and our undoing.
So, my next question to anyone who wants to make a living creating is:
"How much are you willing to do without?

It might mean tough choices. Giving things up. Doing without. Settling for less.
But sometime less IS more.

Somehow we have gone from a society that once believed in building towards a dream to one that believes we simply DESERVE and have a right to be living the dream.

Charles Bukowski, in one of his better known works, put it best:

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners

it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place
alone  . . .


Our time here on this planet is deceptively short. Too short to think we have enough of it to do all that we might like to do. So it is important to first define what we truly need, one or two things at most, then show that we value them and build our ENTIRE life from those points and ONLY those points.  If it does not serve them, it does not belong. Period.

Remember that if it is in our soul, it is a lifetime's work. It will take a long time to fulfill it. A lifetime of building towards that dream we hold. No guarantees. Just the pursuit of a soul fulfilled.

It's enough,
Trust me

Just let go. . .

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