Artist Life Hacks

“I have a finite time on earth. I’m not interested in coasting through it. I want to be invested.” Bryan Cranston, A Life in Parts

Last year I started connecting to my local arts community in a big way by signing on as a Senior Editor at Hamilton Review of Books. I’m loving everything about this gig from the review-writing to reaching out to  writers to planning our issues to copy-editing the reviews (yes, even that.) What makes me especially proud of the HRB is that we pay our writers. (And we do so by putting together unique fundraisers.)

On the other end, as a writer, I’m committed to getting paid now (though it took me a long time to get here.) There is a place for writing for free, and I’ve done it. It is a good way to get examples of your work and to beef up your bylines. There comes a point, though, when exposure isn’t enough. It’s the expectation that an artist should work for free that rubs me the wrong way.

As Andrew Simonet writes in Making Your Life as an Artist: “Making a sustainable life means depending on your community, calling on your network, something many artists don’t do enough.”

What I’m into these days: HBO’s subtly nightmare-inducing The Night Of; the raunch-but-real buddy comedy Broad City, so-real-it’s-almost-not-funny Veep, the self-soothing music of Nashville, Bryan Cranston’s artist’s life hacks; Joyce Carol Oates’ histrionic Blonde; vegan cookies. Bedtime reading:  Roald Dahl’s The BFG.