As i pack up the studio and get ready to move across country I thought I would check in and mention a few things about building a life as a creative person.
One of the things I talk about a lot is the ability to have time to work on things you care about. What is often not talked about is how what you do outside of illustration affects what you can do with illustration. We live in a culture of always going into more debt. And that debt means that you need more money which means you have to always work more. Cars, clothes, technology all contribute to this debt. And the debt will handcuff your creative life quicker than you can imagine. it forces you to take jobs you don't want, in cities that you don't want and the debt keeps piling up. Pretty soon it's too hard to get out from under it all and you don't have time, money, or energy for a true creative life.
As of June 4 (that's the day my house sale closes) I am out of debt. And I don't just mean credit cards. I mean that I don't owe a penny to anyone for anything. No house payment or rent, no car payment, no nothing. Ever. Again. This has been a 7 year plan in the making and I'm not going to say it was easy. I made very tough decisions and had to hope I was headed in the right direction. I spent 12 years remodeling 3 homes all while working and building my career and having a new born, getting my masters degree and also teaching full time at the college level. It was a massive undertaking.
In building this new life I'm also leaving an expensive city for a less expensive city. I'm moving my whole family, leaving friends and all of it still isn't easy. Lots of unknowns are still popping up. But the freedom that is coming with this whole thing is an awesome feeling.
People will say stupid things to keep you in debt. Things like "good credit" and buying things to improve your credit score, etc. Wanting to impress your broke friends, etc. We live in a society that wants you to keep buying. Keep spending. All of that is total crap.
But I want to tell you that this is possible for you too. Many people have done it before me. There were two major resources for me in trying to figure out how to go about having no bills. I thought I would mention them here in the hopes that it might help some of you too.
Dave Ramsey: https://www.daveramsey.com/
Dave Ramsey is classic and gives advice like your dad would. He's no nonsense and breaks things down simply. He has a step by step plan for having no debt. It totally works and it can change your life. Note: It isn't easy. You will have to give up luxuries. You might have to move (especially if you are wasting rent on expensive city living), You will have to change. But this is a great place to start if you are sitting there thinking "I could never do that because my situation is ......". Check out his 7 steps then listen to a few of his shows. He also has an audio book I think. It's pretty basic, but can be transformative if you have a problem with debt and spending. It's also great if you don't know what to do first.
Aside from having the coolest name ever, Mr. money mustache is also one of the OG guys I saw who was preaching the no debt lifestyle. I think this group is a little more advanced and hardcore than the dave ramsey group, but they sure have it figured out. Check out the forum and all his advice on leading a lifestyle where you hardly have to earn any money to live. Very motivational!
Remember, this isn't an overnight fix. It took me a crazy long time and sacrifice. This is a lifestyle change. A philosophy change at your core level. I hope at least a few of you out there check it out. People will call you crazy. They will say that you can't live debt free. They will try to convince you of it. But I did it, and you can too. : )