Tuesday, 18 August 2015

How Good Are You at Hustling?

I'm late with yesterday's post because I took the weekend off.  I actually took it off, without work or social media, not even writing. I went to visit some friends I've been meaning to spend quality time with, and I had a great time!

Stinky Car is Angry Melty Car.
Then, on my way home, the car in front of me on the highway swerved a bit, then a lot, and bounced up. I took my foot off the gas, but a car hugged my car butt so I wasn't about to hit the brakes. The cause of the leading car's distress soon became my own - a tractor-trailer had lost the rubber from its wheel, and it now bounced toward me. To my left was a car, and to my right a ditch. I wasn't following closely so I managed to move as far right as possible before striking the tire. It hit under the driver's side, thunked my whole car up and then bounced off the highway. (The rude butt hugger got away clean. Road Karma, don't fail me now!)

Nothing flew off my car, so I kept going. I wasn't far from home, and everything seemed fine until I slowed down on city streets. A strange noise caught my attention. Kind of like angry and then regretful corn shucking (WE'RE EATING CORN I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK I'M SHUCKING THE CORN omg I love you don't leave me I'll compost the corn just for you). I pulled over, checked under my car, saw nothing. Started again, stopped again, saw nothing again.

The third time, I remembered to look up and noticed that my bumper had detached and now rubbed rudely against my wheel. The wheel well stank of smoke and sported a melted messy look. Oops.

My first thought went to my bank account. (Well, maybe my second thought. My first thought was "is that smoke trapped in my headlight?" It was. Neat, eh?) BUT, money is important, life has taught me and various bills keep reminding me. I have a bit of an emergency fund left, but not a huge one. It would cover my deductible, though, assuming my insurance would play ball.

If not, well, I'd have to hustle. I have money coming in from several gigs, but I might need more, quickly. I need my car to get me to storytelling gigs. I'd need to hustle and do what I can to pay for this unforeseen cost. Despite my pretty manicures, I don't mind (almost) any type of work, so I know I can make money quickly. (While bitching about ruined nails.)

But I'm a storyteller and have a communications background. I can get higher hourly rates if I get the right gigs. I'd just need to find them, taking lower paying gigs until I can identify some better paying ones, and so on. It's all scalable.

Being a starving artist won't help you create. Not even a little bit, because food equals life (weird, eh?). Worrying won't help you create. Don't get me wrong - I worry. I'd be an idiot not to, especially when mortgage is coming up and I'm a bit short. But I know, because I've been hanging with me for a long time (I won't leave me alone!), that I'm good under pressure. That I'll whine, and then buckle down and get it done. That I'll hustle as necessary, and I don't mind. It's part of life.

After my first year of university, I moved to Ottawa to help my burned out brother. He wasn't able to work, but he had enough money for a down payment on an apartment. I was so out of money that then-not-Roomy's mom (whom I'd never met) rented a van to drive me to Ottawa, which was three hours past her own town (they're good people). I arrived in Ottawa knowing that I needed a job fast, and that was that. I printed 50 copies of my resume. I walked up the main stretch near my house, hand delivered them all to every business. I got three interviews and landed a job. Because I hustled.

Cats are also the cause of many emergencies, like
sick kitty, destructive kitty and stupid kitty.
The thing with writing is that there isn't a guaranteed income. There's no regular paycheque. And you still have emergencies and life still expects payment. And, if you spend all of your time looking for money, you won't write. You'll get brain fog and anxiety will crush your dreams. That's not healthy, or productive.

Turns out I was lucky. My car can be fixed for a measly $200. I can do that no problem. Had it been worse, however, I had a plan in place. I was ready to hustle, because I know I can, and I know that I have the network and skills to land gigs quickly.

What's your back up if you write full time? If the royalties aren't what you'd hoped? Make sure to have something to fall back on so you're not scrambling. I personally don't mind getting down to the wire, but only because I know how to deal with it by now. But I also kept my full time job as I grew my writing and analyzed if this was even something I wanted to keep pursuing as a career (it's a hell of a lot of work. Gotta love it to do it). I jumped when I had the savings, networks, life experience and back up plans to hold me up.

Learning about my own limits (who I am vs. who I'd like to be) helped get me this far. Acquiring useful skills keeps me going. And experience reminds me that I've done it before, and I can do it again.

Becoming a full-time creative type isn't just about planning for the road ahead. It's also about understanding the road already traveled, and that the common element is still you. So know yourself and your limits, and Jedi stuff like that.

*Freaky Force fist pump*

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