One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the past year is that there’s a lot of good that can come from focusing on what’s working. As a creative, if you’re struggling to access financial stability and wellbeing, it can be easy for money—or the lack of it—to become the largest focal point in your life. While there’s no denying that your need for money is real and urgent, letting it consume all of your attention and energy is counterproductive.
Money is never just about money and when we get hyper-focused on that moment of exchange—I do this and you give me money for it—we stop seeing the larger framework that money operates within. In that larger framework, the exchange of money for our art is dependant on many other moments and decisions that we make. Moments and decisions that might, at first glance, seem unrelated to our financial wellbeing.
When I decided to do everything within my power to create financial stability so I could do the creative work that mattered to me, I focused first on what I could control. While my work as a freelance writer was variable, my schedule was not. I created a routine for myself and stuck to it day in and day out. I prioritized exercise, found affordable ways to eat food that was healthy, and got enough sleep. I found a creative community where I felt welcome and prioritized nurturing the relationships that were forming in that space. In short, I sourced every facet of my life that I could for support.
As someone who has a long history of putting work before everything else, this was a difficult transition to make. It was uncomfortable making time to workout or spend time with friends when I felt like those activities only got to happen after I’d found work/made money. But I was committed to doing things differently and so I sourced what I could for support. What I quickly discovered is that taking care of myself in the ways that I was able to brought greater clarity and energy to how I was approaching the ways that I made money.
The decisions I was making about how I made money felt more spacious. Gone was the narrow focus that used to get me caught in a cycle of overwork because I didn’t know when the next project would arrive. Gone was the resentment that I had started to feel towards the work I was doing to pay the bills. I started thinking more long-term and made creating passive income a priority. Financial wellbeing felt more possible because I had allowed myself to access wellbeing in other parts of my life.
While I am a long way from paying off my debt and from having my creative work recognized in the ways that I hope it will be, I am still able to access wellbeing in the messiness of where I am now. While it might involve work that I didn’t expect to do and money might come to me in small ways in the beginning, financial wellbeing still something I can reach out and touch if I choose to. Because overall wellbeing—from how I schedule my time to how I keep my body healthy—is available to me on even on the most challenging days.
So, what can you source for support right now to help you feel well?