Creativity and Cash: Can You Have Both?

I wish I had one-cent for every time I hear:

  • “I don’t make money from my journaling (quilting, hooking, needlepoint, etc.) so I can’t really call myself a ‘professional.’”
  • “I have so many ideas but I can’t seem to make any money from them.”
  • “In this economy, I can’t really devote anymore time to my art without making money.”
  • “I would love to quilt (paint, sew, draw, sing, etc.) full-time but I can’t afford it.”

Money is important.  But not jumping into your art or whatever your ultimate goal might be because of lack of cash is self-defeating and a self-fulfilling prophecy.

While it might seem that famous and self-supporting artists and crafters created their art for simply the love of their craft, were kind of good at it, and were then “discovered” before being handed bags full of cash, know that it never happens that way.  If you think so, then you’re living a Hollywood fantasy, and if an artist tells you that story, then they are lying!  For every financially successful artist, there was the marriage of creativity, 24/7 days of brutally hard work, sacrifice, great risk, emotional upheaval, a vision, and determined focus.

If money is the ultimate goal of your artwork and creative contributions then don’t rely just on your art!  If money is your goal, then make money your goal!  Get involved and become educated in the business of art!  If money is what you see at the end of your creative rainbow, then make acquiring money, and not just the purity your art or the joy that the process gifts to you, a part of the business tips and techniques that you must learn to master and then move forward with that knowledge, being prepared to rake it in.  (i.e. The Pet Rock, or that “painter of light” – Blech!  Not quite what I’d consider “art” but you can’t disagree that both of the aforementioned artists found themselves rolling in dough and it didn’t happen by just creating in some solitary studio.)

I am here to tell you, from one who has had money, no money, had more money, had less money… having a shitload of cash and having none at all will not affect your art and your creative process in any way, shape or form.   It may affect the materials you use and/or waste.  It might affect your mood, and thus your creative end result.  Having or not having money may humble you or bolster your ego, but it will not change your spirit and what inspires you.

That’s why if money is the goal of your creativity, you must learn about money, and marketing, and investing, and business and worry less, for the time being, about your art.

However, if you find great joy in the process of creating, if your art touches and nurtures that place inside of you that nothing you physically have, or don’t have, can reach or affect you, if you have freed yourself from having to put a monetary value on your creativity, then will you be richer than even the largest bank account.  And, believe it or not, the money will come.

When you throw yourself into whatever makes you happy and causes you boundless delight, you will find yourself to be a magnet that attracts more of what you want and need in every aspect of your life – money included.  Follow your heart and do what it tells you – and you will find yourself a success both financially and as an artist.


© Pickle Road Studio, LLC

   I hope you enjoy my creative thoughts for hobbyists and crafters.  I post new blog thought entries every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Wednesday’s are reserved for Creative Mojo with Mark Lipinski’s guests and new creative personalities that you’ll want to know and learn about.  Of course, I sprinkle things happening on Pickle Road throughout the week.  

I invite you to subscribe to this blog by clicking  the button on the left side of this post.  Also, why not share my posts with your creative friends and co-workers by clicking on any of  the share links?  If something really resonates with you, print it out and tack it to your bulletin board or tape it to the wall of your creative space, sewing or craft room as a gentle reminder that you can re-read!

As always, I love to hear about your creative life, wins and challenges!  Leave a comment here or email me at  Create and laugh through this week.  And , as always, always do what you love! xoxom

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9 Comments on “Creativity and Cash: Can You Have Both?”

  1. July 29, 2011 at 5:40 AM #

    What? Do you read my mind every day? Freaky! as this has been on my mind for the past week. Thanks for sharing, and keeping me on track.
    Have a great weekend-


  2. July 29, 2011 at 6:04 AM #

    I think that if you have a true creative streak, you make do with whatever supplies you can afford. Way back in time I painted but was dirt poor, so to be able to paint, I bought these Chinese sets with tiny-tiny oil paint tubes and kids watercolor palettes.
    Today I’m fortunate enough to be able to go online and splurge on some pieces for fabrics from the USA when fancy and/or need strike me. Oh yeah, we can get them fabrics here, but they are at least 3 times more xpensive.

    I just love to read your thoughts re creativity, mind opening every one of them.



  3. July 29, 2011 at 7:15 AM #

    wow. A customer just sent me here. Amen and amen! As a yarn dyer, I have felt the pain of the economy and I’m way too stubborn to give up now. I started this shortly after Hurricane Katrina changed my life, I left New Orleans and came to Houston to dye yarn, and it’s been my only income since moving here. I appreciate your words of encouragement. Thanks! Ray “Knitterman” Whiting (


    • July 29, 2011 at 7:34 AM #

      Well, hell, Ray, don’t give up NOW! Look at all you’ve been through! Just continue to find yourself and plant your creative roots deeper as you process your art. Take that quiet time to plan and focus on what tools you need to acquire or dust off that will take your business and your art to the next level. You know who you are, you know what you want, and you’ve made huge risks to get there. You already know how to get where you are now — Now go get what you want — it’s just waiting for you! Your yarn is beautiful, by the way! mark


  4. Maggie Magee
    July 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM #

    A wonderful post, Mark–and thank you!
    Maggie Magee


  5. July 29, 2011 at 3:57 PM #

    I have just been following your creative posts for few weeks and I find them so inspiring, that I reread them again and again. Thanks so much.


  6. Melissa Bailes
    July 29, 2011 at 6:59 PM #

    Thanks a million for you continuing inspiring words. You give me the nudge I need to stop giving myself away and start being profitable in my business. I make priest stoles and vestments and I am forever charging less than my time is worth. I must remember business principals when setting my prices and time management when I’m in the process.


  7. July 31, 2011 at 5:12 AM #

    Thanks for the post-
    In 92 I did make bags of cash from Cracker Barrell and thats no lie :)-with alot of hardwork etc etc…. but as quick as success can come- it can- The desire to create remains during these successful time….but once you start making $$$$ and become “successful” and production becomes your necessary focus- THEN your time becomes precious to steal away creativty time-or you face a time of burnout. It is often said”be careful what you wish for”.


  8. August 11, 2011 at 10:22 AM #

    This is a great way to look at art and money. It has me thinking! Thanks!


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