I’m in a funny mood today, the kind of mood where I wish something magical and exciting would happen, right on my doorstep, so that I can be blasted out of my everyday, humdrum existence.
I’ve been posting on this blog of mine a little more often lately, partly because I’ve been inspired more often, but also because I have decided to treat blogging like a second job. While it doesn’t exactly bring in an income, I have received a small sum of money over time through my Patreon page, certainly not enough to live on, but enough to buy some food for a couple of days, and I am so grateful to those who took the time and effort to donate and help me out. That doesn’t mean that I’ll love you more just because you donate to me—I adore all of my readers equally—but I must admit, having that extra cash meant I felt as though my writing and the extraneous services I provide had some sort of monetary value in this world, no matter how little.
Obviously, blogging isn’t a full-time job for me—in fact, it’s not even a part-time job. I researched my blog online, on one of those calculate-your-blog’s-net-worth-site’s, and I found my blog was valued at around $200, which, in the grand scheme of things, is quite a pittance, especially for the hours of work and effort I’ve poured into maintaining it, the time I’ve spent conjuring up blog ideas and then sitting at my desk, typing out the words one by one, sometimes easily, sometimes excruciatingly. But, thankfully, I got into blogging for the love of it, and somehow, I kept it up, 6 or so years have passed, I have met hundreds of wonderful people through this blog, and enjoyed every single minute of it, and that’s something no money in the world can ever buy.
In the past, I wouldn’t have dreamed of mentioning money when it comes to writing or art—at the tender age of 16 or 17, I would have scoffed at you, and stated that art, or writing, or creative pursuits, have a value no money in the world could ever purchase. I was wrong. Now, at 21, I’ve grown up a bit, and realised the power of and meaning behind money. Money, in a way, creates a concrete system whereby we determine what has value in society. Only if we value something very deeply or need something completely are we able to part with money in exchange for it. For instance, if I had to choose between buying books or buying food, in the past, I would have boasted about how I would buy books instead of food, because that’s how “committed” I am to the world of art. Nonsense. If I’m starving, and I have experienced being hungry a couple of times over the past 4 years of my life, simply because after rent and electricity sometimes there isn’t enough money left over for enough food, I am bound to choose food over books, no matter how important art is for me, because if I’m starving, I don’t have the concentration to read the books anyway, and if I’m dead, what use are books to me?
Money is highly important. It’s why the entertainment and book industry always suffers, always goes through highs and lows, and people in high positions and business suits rub their hands and fret over the “future of the industry”, because they know art isn’t a necessity! For most of the world, art isn’t even in their radar—they’re too busy figuring out ways to survive to self-actualise. So, really, art is a luxury, a gift and a damn luxury, available only to those rich enough to have their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing covered before ascending up the pyramid of needs. In that sense, I’m very, very lucky.
So, money is important. Extremely important. I looked down on money a lot in my younger years, and I think this is not uncommon among INFPs. I thought money was the bane of all evil, because it forced me to get a “normal job” and slave away at an occupation that allowed me no room for joy or creativity. I even considered living in a van or out of the back of a car, in order to escape the capitalist demands of society. All that has changed. Without money, the world would not exist. Without it, I wouldn’t have the internet, this laptop, my bed, the food in my fridge—nothing. It’s a bartering tool, a form of exchange: it’s the reason we can work at one job, and exchange those sweat, blood and tears spent during those 8 hours of the day for other items, like food or a ticket to the movies or a place to sleep.
And when it comes to art, unfortunately, if you want to make a living in this world, your art has to be monetised, too. The reason artists struggle is because people like the idea of getting art for free. That’s why we have billions of pirated movies, books and films, an entire chunk of the internet devoted to the theft of the creative works of creative people. Somehow, the idea that art and money shouldn’t be linked has pervaded every part of society, to the point where people believe musicians, artists, writers and actors should practically work for free. The better the art is, the more in-demand it is, and the more copyright laws surround it—in other words, the less its availability on the internet for free—means the greater the chance it will turn a profit, and people will actually hand over actual money in return for it. Otherwise, you might as well be working 8 hours at a job, and getting nothing to show for it except the “joy” and “creativity” of it. But will that feed you? No.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I’ll start monetising my blog any-time soon. For one, it’s because the profit margin would be low, since it costs around $100 a year to monetise this blog in the first place, and from advertising revenue, at my current rate of daily views, I would only earn around $200 per annum. Still an extra $100, but why take the risk, when I’m only basing my earnings on an estimate? Two, the idea of paying my readers to read my content is abhorrent to me—I write because I love it, and I would never dream of asking my blog readers to have to fork over cash in order to have access to my words. Perhaps there’s still a little bit of the idealist left in me after all, despite all my growing up.
Of course, I have considered other ways of earning money through this blog. My Patreon page has been a reasonable success—I have been able to help several people with their INFP life problems (here is my Patreon page, if you’re interested: https://www.patreon.com/dreamerrambling) through phone calls, Skype messaging and emails, which has been very fulfilling for me, to the point where I’m almost considering turning it into a career, creating my own website and becoming a source of support and a counsellor for other INFPs and other people all over the world. Then again, I always feel guilty for taking people’s money, even though they give it to me out of the kindness of their heart, because I know not everyone who seeks out these services are wealthy, and they oftentimes are struggling themselves, which makes me want to give all my services for free (you cannot imagine how many emails I received when I first started this blog, asking for INFP advice) but then means I can’t eat or keep a roof over my head, which means I can’t help them, which means—
Yeah. You get the drift.
Money. It’s annoying, but we need it.