The ramblings and musings of author and musician Geoffrey Young Haney.
Much more coherent and loveable fare from his wife, Michelle.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Money in The Landscape of Big Dreams

If you're a frequent reader of this blog, you know that Michelle and I are in no shortage of financial woes. We talk about them on here with you not to complain or to dwell on the negative, but more so to share, so that if you are in the same sorts of situations, you can take solace in the fact that you're not alone. If it doesn't always come across that way, know that our hearts, if not always our words, are in the right place.

That being said, agent extraordinaire Rachelle Gardner posted a blog today (Keep Money in its Place) that really hit home for me, and probably for many others (writers or otherwise) as times (especially in MI) get tougher and tougher. It really spoke about having financial patience and a plan to solve your problems, one that doesn't involve words like, "Get a contract for this book so we can get out of this financial jam we're in." Dang have I uttered those words so, so, so, so, so many times! And I never really thought about how they could affect the spirit of my writing and the joy I take in it.

Rachelle goes on to say...

Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly legitimate to have long-term goals that include making some percentage of your income from writing books. ... I've found that when the writing is all mixed up in your mind with a financial need, especially a need that's fraught with anxiety, the writing suffers. Not only that, but the joy is diminished, because the goal has changed (maybe without your even knowing it) from "write a great book" to "pay off my MasterCard." And when that fantastic day comes and you finally get your first book contract, instead of being able to experience the joy of attaining a long-held goal, you'll be asking yourself if the advance is enough to pay off the MasterCard. A goal is a good thing. Desperation... not so good.

Wow, what a wake-up call. I know many of us out there are struggling to make our dreams a reality. Just today I was talking with my sister about her desire to go back to school and study sports business and management. She hopes to someday have a career in the behind-the-scenes of high school, college, or professional football, maybe even as a COACH! Do you have any idea how hard of a dream that is to accomplish? I do. I want to be a full-time, professional writer of fiction. My other good buddy Shaun (Remember Everything) is working diligently on an album of his music. It is an intensely honest and personal record, and he's really putting his whole heart into it. This is his dream, his goal, and it is also one not easily attained. Compound that with the fact that he - like so many others - has been unemployed for a while, and the stress to "pay the bills" and "play the music" can too often go hand in hand. I know he feels the pressure of this, and yet so far, his drive has only created the BEST art I've heard him create over the last 6 years of our friendship and mutual musical endeavors.

It IS easy to get caught up in the finances of reaching our goals. So let's remember the words of Rachelle today: "The quickest way to lose the joy is to expect that your first book contract is going to solve some kind of financial problem in your life." Now get out there and make some dreams come true, forgetting whether or not you'll ever yield a cent from your hard work. The creation is true gold, so treasure it.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.

The Ode by Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy


Deb said...

Geoff and Michelle~ I love your perspetive. I will say a child will con't to strech your means and your heart!

The day we left to adopt Paul Jacob a long dream of becoming parents coming to real life. We had $2.12 left in our savings and checking account with my income being gone for the next 2 months and plenty of bills to pay :) I share this as to tell you that even at the darkest times and the fear that goes with that, GREAT Things con't to happen and the blessings con't to be showered upon us! This is looking back to that moment 15 years ago....

God Bless all that you share and do!
Love~ Aunt Deb

Mic said...

This is very humbling. I love it.

Buffi Neal said...

Thank you for your post. It really made me feel like the world is just a bit smaller and many of us are walking a similar road. My family was hit hard this year by the econimic crisis when I lost my job, but it has been the best year of my life. We live happier with less.
Good Luck to you.