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hesitation---waltz said: How do you propose these hypothetical young artists make "LOTS of money" by doing art? If wishing for it hard enough made it happen, they would already be rich. Hard work gets very few people to the point where they're rolling in it.

neil-gaiman:

Wishing hard enough doesn’t make anything happen. Not ever. I don’t believe I’ve proposed it anywhere.

I think you may have missed my point (although I probably should have been more clear) which was, when as a young artist (and that’s any kind of artist) you find yourself under attack by people who are convinced you are headed for inevitable poverty, you have two main courses you can take, and, by inference, one that you shouldn’t take.

It’s your attitude, and your approach:

Either you go on a path that potentially makes money (which isn’t the same as selling out, or making commercial choices — I’m not sure that anything I’ve ever done solely for the money has been worth it, and mostly when I did those things I didn’t get the money), and, for preference, makes you, in the end, plenty of money…

Or you choose a path and a lifestyle where money matters less, and making money or not making money through your art becomes almost an irrelevance. 

What you don’t do (I hope) is go “Whoa, someone who knows a lot thinks I’m going to starve if I make art, so I will now stop making art and go and get a real job instead”. (Although if, as young artist, you’re that easily put off, perhaps you should indeed get a real job. The way ahead is going to be filled with frustration and setbacks and disappointments, even at its best.)

Most of the writers and artists I know started out somewhere between poor and dirt poor. Some of them stayed there, some went back there, some made money, a few made a lot of money, doing what they loved. On the whole, and with few exceptions, the ones who worked hard, and worked wisely, and who kept working hard at their art, made money.

I certainly wasn’t proposing any kind of magical solution: when I started out as a writer, with no income except what I wrote, I spent three years dirt poor, another three years pretty much on the poverty line (at that point with two small children). Working long, and working hard on stories that I was proud of took years to pay off financially,  but it did pay off. (I have no doubt that luck helped too, but I can never forget something lyricist Alan Lerner’s father said to someone who congratulated him on his son’s astonishing luck, “The strange thing is, the harder he works, the luckier he gets.”)

I guess I’m back. I lost all my followers but one. Cool.

I guess I’m back. I lost all my followers but one. Cool.

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