Recently, I happened to stumble across a post by @change_thinker on social media that not only caught my eye, but also imbibed in me some learning. It went like this:
Never do anything for free what you know to do well about which there is a market need. Even for a start up or not for profit, even if they do not pay you make sure they respect your work and factor in your opinion. Otherwise, do your own stuff until there is a critical mass until folks need your skill set. Charge the market rate, that is the only respect that matters. #career
Although my initial thought (rather, a wistful wish) was if only it were steady, I also believe that too much of something can go awry. So, it is nice having to do something that you like for a living, the flip side being not only your likes become your dailies, but also there stays very little chance of demarcating your profession with passion. Whether these passion(s) are bucketed into sides, hobbies, or just-a-something-to-keep-you-off-the-mundane is a choice best left to suit oneself. Not that I have refrained from taking a stab at it; there was a time when I wished taking writing on the sides. Let’s just say it did not work out to my favour. There are friends, then there are acquaintances – the more hazardous of the lot. It is with them one needs to set expectations right given it is easy for them to take you for a ride, especially when they know that you will deliver what they are looking for keeping your relationship with them as the base. All the efforts, not to count the hours that is being put in from your end is outside of your regular. And for that, there needs to be some reciprocation or in the least, an acknowledgement from the opposite end. They are meant to be ‘temporary employers’; if it works out, well enough. Else, there is always adios amigos, it was nice knowing you. The worst (best?) part – you realise the worth of having an acquaintance as such who, for all you know, may have audaciously modified your deliverable without bothering to let you know. Would you really want to burn your ass for such dodgy assignments? Or, even take a ‘favour’ the next time, given they seem to be clearly unprincipled professionals? As @change_thinker rightly put it – that’s the challenge. Every artiste is a business.
There are different ways of tackling such situation(s). You may either take the bull by its horn and rough it up, or let it go and tread on more careful paths the next time. As ironical as it may sound, artistes need to be tough no matter how tender they may be with their creativity. After all, creativity is only a product offered as a source of entertainment to whoever wishes to indulge. Now, isn’t that the beauty of life – its nuances, paradoxes, contradictions, and textures?
When it is about delivering art, the process maybe chaotic; the end-product is nonetheless, an awe-inspiring experience (provided it is delivered the way it should be). For instance, if one were to deliver a concert, the practice sessions are bound to have certain confusions, for everyone closely involved will only be adding on and suggesting with the intention of getting it right at the end. Similarly an author and/or a writer, while working on a something, will only revisit the piece in an attempt to better it before it is pushed out to the readers. If you are the kinds to give it to a third-party for reviewing, there are chances of inviting a chaos only for the reason, the inputs given by the forcefully-pulled bystander(s) is only their view. Conversations breathe life into life, and are quintessential to delivering art. However, the bottomline – you asked for it. Take it or leave it – the choice is completely yours. Alternatively, there is always an abstract form of it. Deliver it – and let the mango people interpret it the way they wish to.
So, what’s your artistry and how would you hand it over?
PS: With due credits, all views and opinions in this piece are joint contributions of @Madhvisk and @change_thinker.