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Poets Are Poetry’s Biggest Hurdle

What disappoints me most about poetry and art is the training —


the idea of financial literacy and independence through poetry-related activity is so absurd to some, especially poets, that the thought of there actually being options to survive and actually thrive around writing has become physically insulting.


The people who attack me most for creating a business around poetry are poets.


The people who attack me most for creating a business around art are artists.


I attribute this situation to the following reasons.


There is no mention of business

expenses and write offs. There is no mention of how to get an EIN. There is no mention of pricing, let alone a discussion of pricing per hour vs project-based vs value-based pricing. There is no mention of marketing. There is mention of craft as if craft will lead to recognition. It won’t.


Writers and artists are trained

to put the work on a pedestal and be content. Work that is honest to the artist/writer and also of value to a buyer is a paradox.


The idea of art/writing for an audience as something that is inauthentic

at best, sacrilegious at worst, prevails. The irony: viewing the self as an audience (e.g., “my work is for”), and making work that appeals to the self, is praised. In truth, making work with an audience in mind is only a constraint, much like a form. Artists/writers already have an audience an mind. It determines the word choice, the register, the brush stroke, the color. I can be authentic to myself and others.


Artists and writers who understand their audiences

and receive fame and wealth are often attacked for what people in the industry often view as a lack of quality, when in reality they have a deeper understanding of what their readers/viewers are looking for


Artists and writers ascribe their own perceptions of quality and value to the work of others

but it is a buyer who determines more of the quality and value


Promotion gets frowned upon

even though craft alone doesn’t lead to visibility


I don’t hold it against the people who show the most discomfort and negativity. Everything arounds us trains artists and writers to be unsuccessful and dependent. The fact you can get a creative degree without taking a single course on financial literacy, taxes, or basic marketing techniques demonstrates the industry is designed to fail the individual.


For writing, the assumption is a person will remain in academia or write on the side. Nothing wrong with that, but in 2023, there are alternatives

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