Good financial advice for artists

John Scalzi, writer and blogger extraordinaire, posted some excellent financial advice geared towards new writers. So often people who give business advice artists come across as condescending or (worse) uninformed. (Did I ever tell you about the time I was in a business workshop for artists, and the entire panel just laughed at my question about earning a living as an artist? As Bugs Bunny would say, what a bunch of maroons.) But Scalzi’s different. He’s got a great no-nonsense style, with information based on real experience. And he doesn’t hold back his opinions, which is pretty unique for a subject that so many people pussyfoot around. For a taste, here’s, Scalzi on keeping your day job:

“Look, people: someone is paying you money and giving you benefits, both of which can support your writing career, and all you have to do is show up, do work that an unsupervised monkey could do, and pretend to care. What a scam! You’re sticking it to The Man, dude, because you’re taking that paycheck and turning it into art. And you know how The Man hates that.” [link]

Good stuff, good logic, all well written. Just substitute your own art whenever he says “writers”, and the same logic applies to you. And the comments are a good source of advice and opinions as well. Whether you agree with him or not, it’s good reading.


Thanks for the link Dan. Tis good reading and easily applies to artists of any medium. I don’t believe most artists think through what it is they really can expect to achieve, what life style they are willing to accept, or how to live within their means. I spent almost ten years working a day job (a career position in the sciences) and selling my work before making the break. Even then, it was not my art alone that determined the move. It is hard to achieve success of any kind without a full-time commitment. It’s just as hard to put yourself into the position of going full-time without having had some success.

Thanks for the great link, Dan.

I’ve been following your blog for a while now – I love your photographs, and enjoy what you have to say in your posts. But the Bugs Bunny quote just confirmed that I am a true fan. đŸ™‚

If you buy into the idea that artists can’t financially support themselves with their art, it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. It sort of sounds like that’s what the people in the workshop were living. It doesn’t mean it’s easy – as we both know.

I’m going to head on over and visit his blog – I like his style.