Surviving, The Artist’s Way

In my real life, I made my living (mostly) in the academic world as a writer and a magician of sorts for contract after contract.  I am a creative, conscientious and organized person, which is why I was good at the work that I did.  Still, I found that once each of my jobs was done, that I often felt less than comfortable with the outcome; further, I always felt that I had sold my creative side for nothing and that I was only ever really being paid and recognized for the organized side.  Sadly, my creative self’s stuff was always being claimed by the people who I worked for; their idea, their process, their stuff.  Most creative people who work for others find this and I can tell you that this was not easy on me.

The consequence of all of this is that my creativity has a very difficult time letting itself out.  I am not just a blocked creative, I am a stomped on, squashed up, used badly, and dried up creative.

I belong to a writing group in Hamilton, Ontario and I spoke to the group about how painful it is for me to write and three of them suggested that I try The Artist’s Way program.  Sort of a 12 step – and 12 week program for blocked creatives.

I knew, before I built Tiny House Ontario that this was both an expression of creativity as well as a place for me to open up to creativity, both in myself and in others.  I worked The Artist’s Way program all summer and found that I accomplished a big boost in my creativity.  Still, I earned nothing at all, which is not so excellent!  So, how do I live creatively and make money too?  I learned this summer that eventually, Tiny House Ontario would allow me to live very inexpensively.  The question is, I could live an off grid life there without depending on the economy, or any real 9-5 or even part time gig?

I suspect that once everything is bought and paid for, (I still have credit line debt on my land) I could live well at Tiny House Ontario for $5,000 a year, but realistically I think that $8,000 a year would allow me to have a little wiggle room, for art supplies, travel, vet bills, clothing and extravagancies.

My aim is to figure out exactly how to make this $8,000 without actually having a job.  Paintings are difficult to sell.  There is no guarantee that someone will actually publish my novels, or my Tiny House Ontario book; even if they do publish me, will my books sell?

I intend to start a small bee colony, but who knows if this will make any money or if it will simply be another fun little creative hobby for me?

I am a wicked good seamstress, but I actually hate to sew and with no electricity as well as very little space, a treadle, seems both huge and dreadful!

I plan to put in a few hundred asparagus roots, which is a good crop, but I am also not sure if this is feasible in the forest, or if I can actually produce enough crop to make this investment pay for itself, let alone pay for future living costs.

I have great administrative, computer and organizational skills, as I already mentioned, but this stuff typically means job, transportation, clothes, heels, make-up, being away from home.  I don’t mind getting all gussied up but the idea of a job; simply put, I would really rather not.

So, here it sits!  I am person with many talents and many skills.  Still, I have not figured out if I can make $8,000 by either earnings or trade, and live without a job.

I strongly hope that time will tell me more!

Categories: Art, Dog, Environmentalism, Materialism, Money, Off Grid, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Surviving, The Artist’s Way

  1. I would raise the 200 birds a year quota meat chickens as a start. (see Joel Salatin, pasture grazed chickens) then also have some laying hens for year round egg production (see chicken tractors). Build an inexpensive hoop house and grow some green stuff to sell every year. (I would grow something simple and one crop, like tomatoes only and figure out if its more profitable to sell them fresh in bulk or to proscess them myself and then sell the tomato juice. I myself would have a woodworking shop to supplement, but in your case, I think you could supplement the rest of the income by applying your your artistic talents in some way. (dont forget, if you are raising meat birds, producing eggs, and growing food, your annual costs could also decrease even more) What you are thinking about is worthwhile. Livin the dream!

    • Well, I have been a vegetarian for some time and more recently I am actually vegan so livestock is out of the question. A hoop house would be great! I agree! xo L

  2. Laura. Go out and look for good finds at local thrift stores and yard sales. Things of value. Then post them on eBay and sell for a higher price. This could at least help you get a little closer to $8,000.

    • Thank you for the suggestion… There are three problems that would be prohibitive. I don’t have electricity at Tiny House Ontario in order to run a computer. Bringing stuff home on a motor bike would not be easy and then where to store the stuff/envelopes/boxes/wrapping and so forth in a space that is NOT stuff friendly.

  3. Nerida

    Mind numbingly boring job – I work as a cleaner, 2 hours per day, 5 days a week. And yes I have a truck load of qualification to do other things. I have a couple of other odd cleaning/gardening jobs that suit me. I am, among other things, a qualified horticulturist/landscape designer. I earn about $8,000 p.a. A little more would be great as I still have a mortage on a small house (not quite tiny) BUT the end of morgage payments is in sight and I will be $125/week better off and living quite well.

    I have all the time in the world to pursue my interests. Problem is, saying you are a cleaner doesnt sit high in general society as a valid pursuit, however if anyone gives me the down the nose look, I add on that I am a student (perpetual), quilt artists, designer or whatever it is I am focused on at the time.

    The mind-numbinlgy boring job acts as my think time or dream time. I can do the job with my eyes shut so for 2 hours each day I plan, create, solve issues, review my studies or puzzle out problems. Works for me.


  4. Usually a mind-numbing part time job somewhere, that doesn’t quite suck out your brain cells and take over your artist time. It allows you to observe people as well… I’ve done the Artist’s Way a few times, and each time it has opened me up in a new direction. Be well and enjoy the yule season! L

    • Thanks Lois, my (writer/artist) friend… Something mind numbing eh… I will think about it… HAHAHA!

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