Since I decided not to pursue a career in my course of study, I have heard some discouraging statements from people I know.
Comments have ranged from “you have a degree in Chemical Engineering, why not look for a job and do the graphics and writing thing on the side?” to “whatever you do, don’t think of writing full time, you won’t make any money from it.”
Of course most of them admitted I was good with words and at design. They just didn’t believe I could make a living off my creativity. And why would I? The people saying these things were the same people that’d still come to me and ask me to do designs or edit/write for them for free. So they were right. I wasn’t going to make any money because I’d be too busy giving it away for free.
A friend recently made his Facebook notes subscription based. You pay a five thousand naira fee covering six months to have access to two notes each month. Yes. You have to pay money to read somebody’s notes on Facebook. You can guess at the reactions he got. This is someone who has been sharing his notes without charge for years with plenty of positive feedback. Suddenly money matter enters, and he’s called all sorts of names.
Creativity is not free. Creativity is not a just talent. Most creatives spend time and money making themselves better. So, that website that took ‘only’ six hours to build? It’s a result of years of practice. That tailor shouldn’t be hounded for charging 10k to make a dress because “Is it not just to cut the cloth and run machine?” If it is so easy why don’t you do it yourself? People are surprised that I pay my sister to make my hair, as if being kin is an automatic ticket to a lifetime of freebies.
Have you wondered why people that started out as gospel singers are going mainstream and secular (or straddling the fence)? The reason is simple; church people don’t like to pay.
‘Do it for God’ is not the same thing as doing it for free. ‘Bless you brother’ will not pay for his next studio session or a new suit. And then you turn around with, “But Bro Mike had so much potential. Then the devil took him.” The ‘devil’ did not take him. He was tired of eating Indomie and soaking garri.
There’s a saying I love. Business prospers when friends and family (and church members) pay for services rendered. If someone decides to give some of his time to help you, no problem. Just don’t make it a duty.
Please support the young creatives you know. Start with the boy in your church, your friend, your small cousin. Stop using not wanting to spoil them with money as an excuse. They will not spoil. They’ll learn that they have value and be motivated to do more.
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