But there’s one thing about an emergency that can be pretty great.
If you, for reasons that really aren’t important right now, find yourself in the middle of a forest… no food, no water, no idea where civilization might be found … there’s no real question about what needs to be done.
Emergencies simplify all the ‘noise’ of life, and cut it down to pure focus.
I’ve got to get some water, then some food, then climb a tree (and see if I can see a McDonalds sign).
Honestly… sometimes when I’m feeling particularly purposeless or lost I do a little looking over the fence at the ‘green grass’ of an emergency (Which I realize is insane… but this is a safe place… right?).
“I wish I had that kind of purpose… that kind of certainty about what I need to be doing right now”.
Wouldn’t that be a little bit nice??
Well, you’re in luck, because if you’re an Artist with some (or a lot of) debt on the side….
Your Debt IS an emergency.
It’s not just a problem. It’s not something that you can wait to deal with.
It’s an emergency.
Credit Cards. Student Loans. Car Payments.
“But everyone has debt…”
Yup. That’s true. We read about it all the time, it’s normal… how can it be an emergency?
As much as I think it’s an emergency for everyone, I think it’s especially dire for anyone trying to make a living in the arts. And debt seems to be doubly normal for artists. Huge student loans that we HAD to take out. Big credit card balances for those opportunities we HAD to take.
And how are we possibly supposed to pay it off while making barely enough to scrape by?
Guys… I get it.
But what I know is that the only time I’ve ever been successful in paying off debt is when I stopped being casual about it and started treating it like a major problem.
And trust me. It’s a major problem.
What debt is really costing Artists:
There’s the obvious: interest.
The convenience of ignoring the problem is costing A LOT of money.
But you probably know about the interest… you just might not have realized how much debt is costing you artistically.
Those minimum payments may seem small, but they all add to the cost of your life. Which means you have to take that extra job to pay a few hundred dollars back for your student loan, and then maybe take that really crappy gig so that you can pay down your credit card…
Art takes time. Time to practise. Time to think. Time to just recharge your creative batteries.
Your debt isn’t just costing you money. It’s costing you the very time that you need to be successful.
That’s a big freaking deal.
Ya… it’s hard to make a living as an artist, but don’t you see that every bit of debt you have is just making it harder?
Emergency mode: ACTIVATE
“What you’re saying is insane!!! If it’s hard to scrape together a few dollars to make the minimum payments how am I supposed to actually pay off the debt?? It’s impossible.”
Impossible for Normal-life-you, but not for Emergency-you.
FACT: Emergency-you could fight a shark (I read it in the news today… some guy just beat up a shark when it tried to take a chunk out of his leg).
When you shift into emergency mode, things get super clear.
You need to take care of your debt.
So… everything else needs to go. Everything that isn’t food and shelter (or medicine… you know… the common sense ‘life’ stuff).
But what about my ____________ (Fill in the blank with that thing that you just thought of that you could “never” give up)
You’re in an EMERGENCY.
There’s no time for coffee, smart phones, eating out, or spiderman backpacks.
The game just got really simple. Your debt IS holding you back from opportunity. It IS holding you back from being a better artist. And it won’t stop… or change… unless you stop treating it like a normal part of your life.
Debt is a shark that is currently eating your leg.
You can let it happen, or you can go into emergency mode and start punching it in the face.
Want to start getting control of your money? How can I help?
Financial Planner/Opera Singer
Money never came naturally to me. In fact… I was a bit of a disaster. I remember (very clearly) what it feels like to be ‘financially out of control’.
And honestly, I still get stressed about money… that doesn’t stop… the difference is that now I have the tools to deal with that stress.
And those tools are what’s made it possible for me to build a life full of the things I want: art, creativity, travel, family and more.