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Why you must start to believe that you have worth
Ensuring the survival of an odd breed. Don't let us go extinct...
What goes into every artwork or piece of writing I put out into the world?
It’s a cliché, but I pour a bit of myself into all of my work. I give each one many, many hours (probably too many). Years of experience, of trial and error, and a lifetime of learning go in too. Making things takes vulnerability and showing them takes strength. It takes deep inner work, reflection, and confronting one’s own shortcomings. Above all, it takes time.
So I knit together all of those strands, I give it my everything, and then I publish it for my audience to enjoy, for free.
I empty myself onto the page, in the hope that it may benefit someone, and I’ve forgotten in the process that my work has any financial value — because that is just the norm in this business, as well as the societal conditioning that we simply shouldn’t ask to be paid for our work.
I give away my work gratis for a number of reasons though, and they’re not all bad:
First of all, I want to. Nothing feels better than when something I’ve created resonates with you. If some words I wrote move you or if my visual art gives your mind a moment of calm, then that feels like it’s enough. Sometimes months later someone reminds me of a post I wrote on Instagram, and they tell me how it changed their life for the better. When I get that feedback, I swell up with love and your kind words stay with me.
It’s part of my overall mission here on earth — I’m here to connect on a very deep level with as many of you as possible, to make you feel seen and understood (therefore less alone) because I have behind me years of struggle and learning that could shed some light or add value to your life, and the best way I can do that is via my creative work. That mission has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with being human. I’ll continue with that mission, no matter what.
I have to. If I want to work, then people need to know who I am and what I can offer them. They can’t know this if I don’t market myself. But what actually is marketing? It’s providing value — sharing knowledge to demonstrate expertise. But this can get tricky as every artist, musician, coach, writer, etc, has to give so much of their value away for free and simply call it ‘marketing’. It takes hours, perhaps even days, of our working week and those hours don’t get billed.
(Never mind the fact that our work gets copied, stolen, provided for free by AI, and other things that are considered perfectly normal — but that’s a whole other discussion I won’t go into today.)
Sometimes, people have told me that they printed out images of my work from the web to hang on the wall. It won’t be a high-quality art print I could have made, but still, they have it, brightening their day, and I appreciate their gratitude, which I try to convince myself is enough.
It’s not. Printing my illustrations out is taking my work, my time, and me, for granted. Somewhere deep down, that really stings. It sends the message that the work I poured my heart into has no worth. Then I’ll question if I can keep doing it in the first place, because I can’t pay my bills with positive feedback. I’ll reason with myself that I should keep at it, because it’s had a positive impact on people, because someone appreciated it, because it serves a bigger purpose, because because because…
But I’m done with telling myself that. My work does have worth. Even financial worth. The system and conditioning is stacked against me, stacked against all of us creative entrepreneurs, but I reject that system.
It’s the same system that keeps women small.
It’s the same system that doesn’t allow people to have a voice.
It’s the same system that insists on constant hustle, productivity and achievement as the only markers of success.
I want no part in any of that.
So, FINALLY, I decided to open the door to receiving something in return for all of this content I share.
If you enjoy this newsletter and would like to support me to write it, you don’t have to shell out €€€ for a commission or work with me one-on-one. For as little as €5/month (or €50/year) you also receive these bonuses in return:
Occasional workshops on all things Resurfacing: guided meditations, unblocking exercises, journaling prompts, mindful drawing, etc. And sometimes just meetups to connect with each other and be heard.
Your name whispered into a candle every evening with my undying gratitude.
A new column that will only be available to paid subscribers, where you can submit your questions or specific things you’d like me to write about or give advice on.
I LOVE writing this newsletter. I love getting your feedback. I love connecting with you. I’m so honoured that you read my words or appreciate my work. So I promise that I will continue to do all that I can for free, for all of the reasons stated above. I think this writer, Julian Gough, put it very well.
If you’re not in a position to become a paid subscriber, please stick around — you will always be welcome here. Remember that commenting and sharing my work also counts as vital support!
Until next week,