Money as tool.
Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much time writing about my life and creative practice and not enough time writing about money. I don’t offer specific budgeting tips or hacks for breaking the paycheque-to-paycheque cycle. This is mostly because I find this type of information too limited in its ability to help because we’re all working with such varied combinations of privileges, beliefs, values, situations, and experiences.
Writing about money as a relational thing allows me to understand the narratives surrounding money in a way that’s informed by—but not tangled up in—capitalism. Instead of trying to bend myself to fit within the inhumane system that we’re already a part of, I want to figure out new ways of being in relationship to money. In this way, I hold money as a tool, one that should serve me and my creative practice and not the other way around.
This is one of the reasons I like Ramit Sethi’s concept of Money Dials so much. This model presents money as something we can use to leverage what matters to us. We can turn up the dials on our priorities and turn down the dials on those parts of our lives—and creative practices—that aren’t essential. This allows us to redistribute our financial resources so that they’re aligned with what truly matters to us.
While away on my writing-retreat-staycation, I had the space to think about they ways I could be leveraging my financial situation more effectively. Which has less to do with money and more to do with the architecture that I’ve built around how I make money. Despite having been a contractor/freelancer for most of my professional life, I feel deeply uneasy about stepping outside of the 9-to-5 industrial model of scheduling.
My body, however, is struggling more and more to fit within this structure. It wants to wake up an hour later, have a slower morning, workout around midday, and get back to creating in the afternoon and evening. This, in turn, is changing how and when I eat. Somatically, these changes feel right, essential even. Cognitively, I’m constantly reminding myself that doing my best work is not dependant on sticking to an arbitrary schedule.
We live in a world that wants to sell us the idea that money is the solution to all our problems. It’s money that will allow us to feel fulfilled, loved, and at peace with our mortality. And while money might give us access to resources that can help us to figure out what matters, like any tool, we need to wield it skillfully for this is be possible. Before we can live well and do our best creative work, we need to figure out how we want money to support that process.
So, how do you use money as a tool to serve your creative practice?