Budgeting for sunshine.
I have noticed a lack in many of the personal finance books and resources that I take in when it comes to validating what our creative selves need to thrive. The guidance within so often feels utilitarian and absolute.
Don’t buy lattes. Put away a certain percentage of your paycheque. Save for a rainy day.
Of course, this might be sage advice for someone with a latte problem, a steady paycheque, and enough left over at the end of the month to be budgeted for future emergencies.
However, I don’t think that it’s that simple when it comes to budgeting as a writer, artist, or other creative.
In fact, I know it’s not. I have talked to enough creatives at every stage of professional practice and the agreement is unanimous.
We need to budget for sunshine. Or whatever else will help your creative self feel willing to consistently come out and play. We need to budget for those things that may seem unjustifiable to anyone who doesn’t understand your needs as an artist.
In the spirit of giving ourselves every opportunity to do our best work, however, we still need to budget for sunshine.
There’s a great story in Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking where she talks about David Henry Thoreau’s experience writing Walden. In the book, Thoreau paints the perfect picture of the suffering artist.
In reality, he was frequently brought fresh donuts by his mother and often went to visit Ralf Waldo Emerson for lavish dinners.
In his own way, Thoreau budgeted for sunshine.
In my case, I mean literal sunshine. I am currently living far enough north that the world has frozen over and the grey days have started to bleed into one another. My mental health is directly affected by the amount of sunshine I get.
When I don’t get enough sunshine, my creative work suffers.
So I’ve started budgeting for sunshine. Even if it means slowing down my debt repayment. Even if everyone around me thinks that it’s frivolous. It’s what my creative self needs to thrive so it matters.
Budgeting for sunshine matters.
So, what does your creative self need to thrive?