It's a strange position to find myself in, and one that shouldn't be but absolutely is surprising. Here I sit, two books in production and a third in draft, with a children's book nearing final illustration, and robust bookings for stand up in the fall. Sounds like a lot, and feels like so much work and energy are finally paying off.
Where I sit while I'm contemplating this, though, is behind a desk in a cubicle at an office performing other duties as assigned. Because, frankly, even with what seems like a fairly large amount of creative output, it's still not enough to pay the bills - not on its own.
After years now of working towards performance and publication success, and finally reaping some reward, I'm realizing that I don't do these things for money or recognition. For a long time, that was what drove me, what I imagined the end goal to be - earn. Only now that I am making money, however much or little it may be, is it clear that I write and I perform because I must. It makes me happy, it gives me satisfaction in ways nothing else can. And so I continue to do both on that basis.
I've worked many jobs, and hated most. Why? The work didn't bother me, although it may have bored me. The conceit, though, that "I must earn a paycheck to ensure my survival," is what ruins jobs for me. It breeds resentment, anxiety, fear, anger; I'm constantly in an existential crisis, it's just my way. When I've treated writing and performing in that context, they suffered as has my attitude.
The irony is, of course, that not until I started to earn did I figure out that's not the goal. Earning is empty. Creation is sublime.