I Am Not A Starving Artist

starving artist

Three weeks ago, my husband and I were out looking at cars.

We walked into a dealers shop and a manager came out to meet us. After showing us around, he turned to me and asked,

“So what do you do?”

One and half years ago, my answer would have been sure and effortless: I run a clothing outlet, plan events and coach on the side.

Thanks to moving 8,000 miles across the globe, I was stumped.

My husband (bless his heart) read my expression and answered the manager, “She’s a writer”.

I found my voice and finished “…and life and relationship coach.”

The manager laughed, “Oh, so you are one of those starving artists!”

I laughed aloud and corrected him, “Am certainly not starving!”

But on the inside, I hurt.

His remark, meant as a joke, found a soft spot.

The truth is I am not making money from the blog yet. Okay I made like 5 bucks from Ad sense. But beyond that and when it comes to writing, I am not counting dollars.

Sometimes, I do feel like a starving artist.

And I don’t think am alone. I think many Christian writers feel the same way sometimes.

We often find it easier to encourage and correct ourselves in private, when these starving artist thoughts rise up in us.

But we struggle when someone else, or some off-hand circumstance bangs against us and questions the hope we believe in.

So two weeks ago, I sulked and brooded for a couple of hours.

Then the Spirit of God quietly reminded me that the reason I corrected the dealer was because I don’t measure the value of what I do in monetary terms.

For me, it’s about impact and changing lives.

I don’t know about you and what you believe. I don’t know what God has spoken to you about your journey as a Christian writer.

What I know is that there’s purpose to this craft.

And that purpose will be tested in every possible way, and mostly when we least expect it.

The question is, what will come out of your mouth when pesky ‘car dealers’ (questioning circumstances) come calling? How will you respond to life’s difficult moments?

John Maxwell says something powerful about impact. He says that success is about adding value.

“Every person can be successful if they do one thing. Wake up everyday and ask “who can I add value to today? “

As Christian writers, God has called us to add value.

When we add value, success often follows.

In the meantime, we must learn to thrive and grow in the in-between!

QUESTION: As a writer, have you ever dealt with “starving artist” kind of situations? How did you deal with it?

* Image credit: MarioMancuso (Creative Commons)

  • http://www.CharlesSpecht.com/ Charles Specht

    Everything is about serving others. As a “writing artist,” we are here to impact others and make them think. As Christian writers, our art is intended to point to Jesus.

    That’s the blessing of Christian writing. Thanks Ngina!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      Totally agree Charles! Thanks for the opportunity to share in this platform

  • Dave Arnold

    Great post, Ngina. I’ve struggled with the same thing. But you nailed it with the Maxwell quote: if it brings value it’s worth it. I have to remind myself of that… I pray, “Lord, even if my writing impacts one person it’s worth it.”
    You writing is making an impact.
    That’s for sure.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      I pray that prayer too Dave, – that my eyes would be focused on ‘one’, that I see and value ‘one’ as He does. I think that as we keep our eyes on Him and on what He values, success (His idea of it) is not a maybe but a guarantee.

  • http://dreamjobprogram.com/ Drew Tewell

    I would already be dead if my writing was what provided for me. Luckily, for my sake, God continues to provide for me. What my writing does provide for me now is a feeling like nothing else, an outlet to express myself, and a calling to help people by using the gifts God has given me. Thanks for sharing and for your authenticity, Ngina!

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

      ha! you’d be dead but for God! :) that’s funny and so true in my case  as well! I love how God works His gifts in us and teaches us to rely on Him, not the gifts. Amen to His provision and call 

  • http://taunetnelel.blogspot.com/ JepB

    Until we know that what we do as Christian is important that it is a God-given gift, we run the risk of comparing – of belittling the impact that we could make. Thanks for laying it bare here Ngina,

    I have gotten the voice to say that, “I write.” It wasn’t easy at first. More and more, I realize that God has called me to be a word of encouragement, joy and hope.

    I love the last statement, “we must learn to thrive and grow in the in-between.” I have just written a post on the “in-between” and how we confuse delay to mean denial. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

       Jep God has indeed given you a voice to encourage and inspire..i can testify that i get edified and blessed by your writing. You have a voice my sister, am blessed that you can now say ‘i write’ (it took a while for me to call myself a writer too)

      will be reading your post soonest it hits my inbox :) thanks for being a blessing.

      • http://taunetnelel.blogspot.com/ JepB

        Thanks Ngina for your testimony. All glory to God. May we listen to God’s leading more than men’s approval. May we constantly ask, “How can I be of help?”

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    I believe we have to remind ourselves that we’re adding value.  We’re not looking for approval, we’re looking to help.  We will experience people who don’t understand or relate, but we have to make sure to remind ourselves of our mission.  Thanks for being vulnerable.

    • http://intentionaltoday.com/ Ngina Otiende

       I love this statement DS “we’re not looking for approval, we’re looking to help” Profound! I think once we understand that, it becomes easier to handle pesky circumstances :)

  • Mitzi

    You are blessed because you do what makes you happy. How many people wake up exicted to start their day? When people give me a strange look (I retired young to fullfill my dream as a writer) when I tell them I write novels, I add that I’ve never been happier.   http://runwiththeorange.wordpress.com

  • Betty Draper

    Ngina…my sweet sister…everytime I get to your posts I am not disappointed.   I have never dealt with a starving artist situation but the starving missionary situation has come up a lot.  I mean one has to be adventerous to be a writer, artist or a missionary.  I use to sing a lot in churches, made a couple CD’s and have heard this said, “you should sing professionally”.  Thank God I never tried that route and kept singing for the Lord’s approval.  It’s one of those tools God gave to inhance our ministry for a season.  God is using you…keep training us…keep sending out inspriation…we need young wise women such as you.