“My job is to write.” That is what Michael (my book editor for RED AS BLUE) told me. When asked by his friends what he’s doing to promote or market his published novel, that was his answer.
Like Michael—I’m an artist too. But I also have a business side. Yet, the artist side of me understands what he means by, “My job is to write.”
Kelli (the stylist for NUNE) told me one day, “Ji, you’re an artist. You don’t make films the same way other people do. You’re not trying to get somewhere. You just make art.” She told me that people will take notice of that—that there’s something different going on. That was her way of saying, “Your job is to be an artist.”
There is no such thing as being an artist 100% of the time. The reason is survival. The people who are making big bucks being an artist 100% of the time are usually not being an artist. They think they are but they are not. They are in business making product for their backers and to pay their bills.
To be an artist 100% of the time means that you are making money making YOUR ART, not for anyone else. You have freedom. Probably only 1% of artists are able to accomplish that. My goal is to be part of that 1%.
By the way, there is a difference between getting paid to do “what you love” and getting paid to do “what you want.” I’d rather get paid to do what I want than to do what I love. Often people tell me that if they had to choose between Love and Freedom, love is the greater. I beg to differ. Freedom grants you everything. Love does not always grant you freedom.
Michael gives me amazing clarity when I lose sight of my vision. Sometimes the “grind” of life takes over and I ask myself why I’m spending two or three days on one paragraph. I drive myself to exhaustion and my other life responsibilities and workflow gets backed up by my mad-scientist obsession over a few lines on a page. It’s not that I’m slow: but because depth happens in real-time. It’s not like a TV show that you can fast-forward. It this takes dedication and time.
I addressed my frustrations to Michael and he told me something only the center of my soul knows:
“Here is an allegory: A man walks into a town in the middle ages and he’s sees another man lifting up a large stone and carrying it. The man who has just arrived asks the man with the stone, ‘What are you doing?’ The man with the stone says, ‘Idiot! I’m carrying a stone. What does it look like I am doing?’ The newcomer walks a little farther and comes upon another man lifting a stone and carrying it. He asks this man the same question: ‘What are you doing?’ This man says, ‘I am helping build a church.’ You are the second man, dear, only you are building the foundation of a spiritual universe unique to you. That’s hard and long work. Harder and longer than a hundred books or films or wage jobs.”
He truly gets me :”) This is all that really matters.