You can’t buy creativity, any more than you can buy love.
But if you ignore money matters, as we saw earlier this week, it can seriously hurt your creativity.
The good news is that although money will never make you more creative, it can support your creativity indirectly. Here are four ways a little moolah can benefit your Muse.
1. Mental Bandwidth
As a creative professional, your imagination is your most precious resource. You need to be good at managing your mental and emotional state, so that you can get into the creative zone when it’s time to work.
Anything that interferes with your concentration or takes up unnecessarily mental bandwidth will throttle your creativity – money worries being a classic case in point.
From a creative perspective, the best thing about having money in the bank and your finances under control is not having to worry about money. It’s not a problem, and you are free to turn your mind to more inspiring subjects.
So when you walk into your office or studio, or step out on stage, you are 100% present and focused on your work. You are in the zone.
If time is money, then money must also equal time. The more you have in the bank, the easier it is to take time off, or just take the time you need to do your very best work.
We all know that the best ideas often come when relaxing with friends, out for a stroll, in spare time or on holiday. So working all the time can seriously hurt your creativity. The good news is, taking a holiday could be one of the best investments you make all year, in your creativity and your business as long as you can afford it.
And works of genius don’t happen overnight. If you’re not earning enough, every job becomes a rush job. But if your finances are on a stable footing, then you can afford to spend appropriate time on each project.
I’m not talking about procrastination. I’m talking about the patience, diligence and persistence it takes to do something outstanding instead of merely adequate.
3. Equipment and Materials
As a poet, I’m lucky enough to be able to create without any equipment at all in Yeats’s phrase, a poem is made “out of a mouthful of air”. But poetry books cost more than fresh air, and it’s impossible to write good poetry without reading a lot of contemporary work.
And it would be impossible for me to run my business without my MacBook Pro. I’ve tried the cheaper options (a.k.a. PCs) and they don’t cut the mustard. In fact, they were a false economy if you factor in all the hours I used to lose due to crashes and faults, as well as having to replace PCs more often than Macs.
Depending on your creative medium, you may well need expensive equipment to produce your work. If you make physical artwork or products, you need raw materials. Even if you’re in the information product business, you’ll need to buy a lot of other information products as your raw materials! Not to mention web hosting, software and other online services.
Bad workmen may blame their tools, but good workmen (and women) take advantage of the best tools available, so that they have no excuse for not achieving excellence.
4. Inspiring Experiences
You don’t create something original by just recycling other people’s ideas and influences. Without a rich life experience, it’s hard to come up with anything particularly meaningful.
Money certainly won’t guarantee you an amazing experiences, but it definitely increases your options. Unforgettable holidays, magical dates, fantastic gigs, unmissable exhibitions and riotous parties – it may sound vulgar to say so, but all of these things cost money.
Yes, you can still spend the money and have a crap time. But if you’ve got the friends, the time, the energy and the inclination, then a little money can be a great catalyst towards a truly life enhancing experience. And it’s out of such experiences that inspiration is born.
If you’d like some practical advice on making money work for your creativity…
And if you want even more help getting on top of the finances of your creative business check out Money for Creative People, our new course for creative artists, freelancers and entrepreneurs, teaching you the mindset and money skills that will help you succeed commercially as well as creatively.
What Do You Think?
Has money had a positive effect on your creativity? How?
Can you think of any other ways money can support creativity?
About the author: Mark McGuinness is a poet, creative coach and the owner of Lateral Action.