The Age of the Artist–Time for a Revolution

I’ve said many times before that it is an amazing time to be a writer. Yet, I think this age, this new Digital Renaissance might actually be more than we can imagine, and age of empowerment artists have never before experienced. We just need to be open to the future.

First, the Technology Problem

Many artists feel threatened by social media, computers, iPads and e-readers. I will admit that I used to be one of those people who refused to learn how to use e-mail. I used to write long, detailed letters to friends and family with stickers and pictures and pretty handwriting. I felt computers were too cold and impersonal, especially compared to expensive stationary from my Hallmark store.

Yet, now?

Now, I no longer send frilly messages to a handful of friends and family. I actually interact with them daily on Facebook…more of them. I see their kids grow up even though they live half a world away.  I share the daily triumphs, and can be there to support them in the trials too. It isn’s as fancy as my letters, but it is very, very personal in a way I hadn’t imagined possible 15 years ago.

Digital books are not the first technological advance that has left artists feeling threatened. I’m sure the dude who was in charge of recording all the stories and history on the cave walls felt threatened by the smarty pants who invented papyrus paper. Then there were all those monks who got downsized when the printing press came along.

Great, thanks to that Gutenberg jerk, everyone can be published.

When the Lumiere brothers invented the first cameras, people believed that artists would be obsolete, that photographs would take the place of paintings. When moving pictures were invented, many thought stage actors would also fade away into history. As we have seen, paintings and plays have endured and actually the technology invented brand new forms of art—photography and cinematography.

What no one accounted for is that art is the very essence of creation. We can’t stop it. The technology isn’t responsible for making the art, it is a vehicle for the art. Art will always remain and will always find a way to be expressed. Humans have a guiding imperative to create.

And that is awesome news for us.

Artists have had a Rough Road

When I gave up my job in sales to become a writer, my family didn’t speak to me for three years. I might as well have come home with a handful of magic beans and a tale about a castle in the sky and my pet unicorn.

What I find interesting is that, since the Industrial Revolution, we increasingly became a society that valued the artist less and less and less. In the 50s during the Space Race, schools started valuing the children who excelled at math and science and the arts were seen as something fluffy and unsubstantial.

Schools were set up to create new generations of factory workers, engineers and scientists who could support the military-industrial complex. Schools taught neat skills like sitting still for eight hours, coloring in the lines, and listening to authority. I think this is one of the reasons that teachers rail against all this “teaching to the test.” Teaching is an art, and few things can steal that art like a standardized test.

Art is the Essence of Humanity

Children are natural artists. They color dance and sing with abandon. Yet, some time about the age of 9, we are told it is time to get serious. One day we will need to go to college so we can get a “real job.”

I spent 15 years trying to fit myself in that straight-jacket mold and it just made me ill, depressed and angry. I was a child who’d immersed herself in ballet. When I wasn’t dancing, I was drawing art and writing stories on every spare scrap of paper or playing a clarinet. This creative creature then grew into an adult trying to work in corporate sales. Was it any wonder I was chronically ill with a sickness no doctor could name?

When I started pursuing my art, I became more myself than I’d been since the age of ten. I went from being a misfit, an ill-fitting cog in an alien machine to feeling my life fall almost magically into place.

The Funny Thing About Artists

Yet, what I find interesting is that artists are the intuitives that birth the science. Mary Shelley envisioned the human body as a bioelectric system before the scientists. Proust intuited that taste and smell were hardwired to memory before science proved that he was correct; that those are the two senses are uniquely sentimental because they are connected to the hypothalamus, thus the most strongly tethered to memory. George Eliot understood that the brain was a regenerate organ a hundred years before Dr. Elizabeth Gould discovered that brain cells actually did renew themselves and pioneered neurogenesis. Jules Verne envisioned a man on the moon and even intuited almost every detail of how we could do it…of how we actually did do it.

When artists create wild fantasy we lay the groundwork for the future. Artists envisioned a world with equal rights, a world with women in leadership, a world where humans traveled through space.

Artists take the impossible and make it real.

A society that embraces art is at a distinctive advantage. We have been a society working on a half a brain. We have valued the rational logical left brain at the expense of the imaginative, intuitive right brain. With technology we finally have an opportunity to become a world using its brain…all of it.

Technology and the Digital Renaissance

Technology will bring a Digital Renaissance simply because it is adding value to the artist. We are the only job that can’t be downsized, outsourced or automated. Machines can’t create art. Legions of cheap labor in China will not replace us.

As more people own computers and e-readers, the demand for art will only increase. Also, each of us has an artist inside, and technology allows all of us to express that nature. What is wonderful about the new paradigm is it is finally possible to make a living—a good living—as an artist. Sure, it is a lot of work and hard work, but is being a doctor easier? Any profession that is lucrative is a lot of work…only now we can do what we LOVE, so it is never work. Give me a fifty hour work week of writing and I will be HAPPY!

I actually am typing this sentence at 3:59 in the morning. I woke up at 2:00 and could’t sleep so I am working…and I love every second of it because I am doing what I was born to do.

Vive la Revolution!

I call WANA the Love Revolution. WANA (We Are Not Alone) is based on service above self and community, but it is poised on the fulcrum of LOVE. Love for our art, love for each other, and love for the world we are serving and changing. WANA is bigger than writing, so please recruit all the creatives you know. Our time is NOW!

Every revolution needs a leader…someone rugged, handsome, and stylish. There are exciting things ahead for the WANAs, so today let me introduce you to the spearhead of our movement. Meet, Francis…

I met Francis early this past March and his story was heartbreaking, so I had to find the dust-covered art supplies, put marker to paper and bring him to life so his story could inspire all of you. But, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Francis will be starring in a feature film that shows how WANA changed his life, and I believe you will be moved, that you will see how all of us are Francis. His debut film will be released soon, so stay tuned for the date. His feature is going to be part of the surprise I have in store for all of you. It is too big to give you at once, so I am giving it to you a taste at a time.


If Egypt can have a revolution using Facebook, then why can’t artists? This is OUR time. The more art we create, the better we become. We can use social media to find our future patrons, those who are dying to hear a good story, listen to a new song, dance a new dance. We can cultivate the love for our art and our art only gets better with time. We won’t have to worry that our job will get replaced with a 20 year old intern willing to work for half the pay. We won’t be told we are too old, the we need to retire because some college kid can do what we do.

We are artists and we are indispensable, indomitable and immortal.

It is the 21st century, a Digital New World and it is an awesome time to be an artist. Grab your pens and paintbrushes, your books and easels, and join the WANAs for a Love Revolution! Currently we are hanging out at #MyWANA on Twitter, but I have another surprise in store. A land where the WANAs roam free to create and be themselves.

It’s gonna be like CHRISTMAS! …which means you have to wait to open your presents :D.

So what is your story? Are you an ill-fitting cog in an alien machine? Do you long to create, but you are chained to the day job? Have you broken free from the “real job” and are now living your passion? Tell us your story!

By the way, for a really fantastic book about how artists have defined science, I recommend Jonah Lehrer’s Proust was a Neuroscientist.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of May, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of May I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

***IMPORTANT MESSAGE–For those who have not gotten back pages. My web site fiasco has been responsible for eating a lot of e-mails. Additionally I get about 400 e-mails a day and the spam folder has a healthy appetite too. It is hard to tell since some people never claim their prize, but I could have very well just not seen your entry. Feel free to e-mail it again and just put CONTEST WINNER in the header so I can spot you easily. (especially if your message is kidnapped by the spam filter).

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.


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  1. I agree completely that the artist is naturally intuitive, and that we, in fact CREATE the world as it develops. That said, there are many writers who get stuck, stymied, call it what you will. I have just launched a new blog, in which I offer FREE intuitive readings to writers. I hope to help them find their voice, something I know you’ve written about extensively on this blog. It’s illusive and mysterious, as is our intuition. I would so appreciate a writer (or two, or three) who might visit my blog and give me a chance.

    Signed, one of the three kings….

  2. SQuee!! I’m so excited, Kristen! *bouncing* When’s Christmas? Wait, isn’t the Mayan apocalypse before then? Rats… Hope we don’t have to wait THAT long!

    I’d love to hear more about Francis. He’s really cute! But…can you give him a third eyelash over his right eye? I know, I know, what can I say? I like symmetry, LOL. 😉

    Thanks for working so hard for your peeps!

    1. Actually in my rendition I had that. I had to hire and an animator to put Francis into Adobe Illustrator so he could be vectored. I will have her fix that. great catch!

    2. I guess it is the artists and writers job to prevent it 🙂 What about a ballad about the End of the world that did not come 😉

  3. Your family seriously didn’t talk to you for three years? How did you cope with that, and did it affect your writing during that time?

    I’m kind of honing in on a part of the story that wasn’t the real point, but I just found that incredibly interesting and sad.

    1. Well, they talked to me. Offered suggestions to help with my resume and called when they spotted “real job” openings. Family get-togethers just had this undertone of tension. It’s fine now. They were just afraid for me, I suppose. They are now my biggest cheerleaders so it all worked out :D.

    • tljeffcoat on May 9, 2012 at 9:11 am
    • Reply

    You forgot to mention Gene Roddenberry. I think the Star Trek series challenged scientists to try and replicate those ideas. This is absolutely is the greatest age for artists and I’m so glad I found it. Just like you, I’m stuck in an office and felt incomplete and out of place since I decided one day to conform and stabilize my life. I started writing again last year, and I’m so happy now, I’d rather die than give up on it again.

    1. I could never forget Gene Roddenberry. I was just leaving some open for you guys to mention. Y’all are smart that way :D.

        • tljeffcoat on May 9, 2012 at 10:12 am
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        I didn’t really believe you had forgot him, but I had to throw out his name anyway. He’s one of my favorite scifi dreamers.

    • Ruby Barnes on May 9, 2012 at 9:22 am
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    Family not talking to you for three years gives serious space for writing. I might try that!
    Some people find fulfillment in progeny, others in art, or both. I don’t know anyone who has found fulfillment in the rat race. That day job demon consumes!

  4. Sounds like you went through a lot. And came out ahead. It’s also a great time for the literal artist/illustrator. As an author & artist, I love the trending of the illustrated novel. For my YA thriller, Fireseed One, I did nine interior illustrations. People say that it adds to the descriptive quality. I’m looking forward to also illustrating its sequel.
    Catherine Stine’s Idea City

  5. writing wasn’t even considered back in the 50’s for the likes of me:( i shoehoned myself into work, but remained a rebel determining my own way, crafts kept the creativity alive, and travel my interests and then Uni in my 40s brought many strands of interest together – I only discovered the writer in me in my 60s and haven’t looked back since, I am happy and fulfilled and having such fun. I follow the new science and tecnology improvements and know for every one there was a spark of creativity at the beginning of every new advance – a ‘what if’ mind. Life is grand

  6. I walked away from a job I’d worked my entire career for when it became so toxic it not only poisoned me, but my family as well. I recently wrote about it for Robert Lee Brewer – it’s a long link, but shorter than explaining it here. 🙂 Writing helped me heal, and has given me purpose. So, sign me up, I love presents.

  7. Very inspiring – I fought an internal battle for years over my writing, but I have since surrendered to it and I’m happier than I’ve ever been!!

    • annerallen on May 9, 2012 at 10:35 am
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    “Great, thanks to that Gutenberg jerk, everyone can be published.” Brilliant, Ms. Lamb. Another superb, must-read post!

  8. I’ve read your two books, I see you on FB, and I read your blogs. And now I can’t wait to hear more about Francis. Our online Yahoo group WANAMinions is still going after we took one of your classes. Thank you, Kristen, for being YOU.

  9. Oh, how well I know the confinements of that corporate straight-jacket mold! Despite being very good at my job back then, I have never been happy. Now give me that 50-hour week as a writer and I love it. I’m finally in my own skin 🙂

  10. Hi Kristen, thank for the inspiring post, but I’m concerned that you still need a good night’s sleep. What I love about your story, is that because you were willing to take the road of the unknown, and to refuse to live the life that society and your family wanted you to live, your sacrifice has now created not only an opportunity for you to express your unique voice but a vehicle that brings love and compassion to so many who deal with the same struggle but still feel alienated and lost. Now, we have a wonderful, supportive WANA playground where we can simply be our crazy, creative, goofy, dorky selves. Thank you so very much.

  11. Thank you once again, Kristen! “We are artists and we are indispensable, indomitable and immortal” is a beautiful, worthy artists’ war cry (“creation call”? how about “rallying cry”). As always, your posts give me hope and remind me my duty as an artist is valued and helpful. Too often I feel the doubt and depression creeping in. I need only turn to your blog, see the support of so many, and my sense of purpose and sanity for making this life choice (to put art above the accumulation of money) returns. I’ll be referencing your post and linking to it – because what you have written needs to broadcast, needs to be remembered, and in this society, it can’t be said enough. I’m glad you do what you do, that you’ve broken free of the straight-jacket mold! And that joy goes out to everyone. Congratulations and thanks to you all.

  12. Exciting! Can we have a Francis badge to put in our sidebar?

    1. I will see about having one made. That is a fabulous idea.

  13. So very peculiar you should mention how fiction defines science! Shelley’s Frankenstein was the first true SF novel and poses questions that remain valid to this day. Rationality is all well and good, but it’s like logic — it depends upon axioms and postulates for its existence, and the question, is where did those axioms come from? Er…well, see, I had this dream last night, said Mr. Euclid to Mrs. Euclid. As a mathematician (well, by degree,at least) myself, as well as a writer, I think I can see both sides of this argument. The advantage that intuition has is that it shows us who we are as humans. By the time things come to the “rational” side, the statement has been made. And yeah, I liked the comment from the monks about “that Gutenberg jerk” — priceless!

  14. I get it about the family. To them, I’m not working at a “real job.” I earn virtually no money (yet) so I’m a drain on the finances. Writing is fine as a “hobby.” Screw that! I finally got rid of all of my stress-related juju once I shouted from the rooftops I AM A WRITER! It’s hard. I started a story about it entitled, “The Guilt Blanket.” To finally do what you know you were born to do, whether it meets with anyone else’s approval or not, is a gift. And I l-o-v-e- Christmas!

  15. To find what you were put on this earth to do is a GIFT. I quit my “real job” and have stubbornly – some say foolishly – dug in my heels, determined to devote myself to writing. There is talking from the family but often it is not pleasant, not supportive. I am a drain on the finances, writing is more of a “hobby.” There is no money earned (yet) so it is not perceived as real. Sometimes I get so scared I want to scream. Then I write. I l-o-v-e Christmas!

  16. First, why has your smiling face turned into a quilt?
    Second, when I clicked the “Are you there…?” link, a security notice popped up.
    I WANA get the book!

    1. I have been ready to KILL Gravatar. It isn’t showing my image and I can’t figure out how to fix it. Talking to my web person today. Here is the
      I will go fix the link in the text.

  17. Yes, I do feel that I am an odd cog in this life. Probably due to my Asperger’s Syndrome. I found it hard to communicate to people when I was working, and loved it when I wrote during my lunch break. I could only really communicate with people whom I was v friendly and close with, and that was a few. I had to speak to students everyday and was often told that my voice was too harsh or to keep eye contact with them when talking to them – both symptoms of Asperger’s, which I didn’t know then and do now. I was made redundant nearly two years ago, and now spend most of my days writing different projects, and I love it. I am trying to build a career writing fiction for adults and children, as well as writing short non-fiction pieces to magazines. I am slowly getting there but feel free now to do what I have longed to do for years. I find it easier to communicate via social media and doing my blogs than in person, but I still go out to writer meetings and dos, and try my best to not stick out and join in. I don’t mind. That is my story.

    • Debra Eve on May 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm
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    One of my favorite books is called A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule The Future by Dan Pink. It’s a bit academic. I like your take better!

    • malindalou on May 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm
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    Hi Francis! He is adorable. 🙂

    I especially love your bit at the beginning where you talked about machines not being able to replace the human mind. No matter how great a computer/tablet/smart phone is, it cannot replace human creativity. A story/blog post/piece of content marketing is only as good as the mind that made it and the hands/mouth that ushered it into being. 🙂

    1. AMEN!

  18. So, how come Francis is male? Just wondering. I do love your posts, Kristen, and read every one since I found you. This one was particularly excellent.

    1. Actually I chose the name because it is gender-neutral. Just had to choose a pronoun. Probably will be girl and boy versions of Francis in the future :D. And THANK YOU for the loyalty and the lovely compliment.

    • lynnkelleyauthor on May 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm
    • Reply

    I love this post. It’s so inspiring. Now you’ve got us all excited to find out what the surprise is!
    I believe there’s an artist in each of us, too. Some people just haven’t set their artist free yet. I don’t know how I worked as a court reporter for 25 years (part-time while raising our 4 kids), but there’s no creative allowed with legal transcripts. It’s a blessing that I was forced to quit that job. I don’t know how to do the connections thing with the Gravitar to take you to my post, but I did mention you and your books in my blogoversary post because your guidance has played a big part in my journey. Here’s the link:

    Oh, one more thing. Now that I’m babysitting grandbaby FT, you’d think it would stiffle the creativity. Drains me, yes, but seems to stoke the creativity being around a baby and dancing with him, helping him discover the feel of the grass, the sound of chimes blowing in the breeze, being a complete goofball to entertain him and make up nutty songs to quiet him. Once I build up my stamina, I’m going to have the best of both worlds!

      • Karen McFarland on May 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm
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      Rock on Lynn kelley! Congrats on your one year blogoversary girl! 🙂

    1. Ditto, Lynn! Happy Blogiversary!! 🙂

  19. Not to be the bearer of more bad tidings, but your bookseller doesn’t ship to Florida??? 🙁

    1. Here’s a link to the e-book on Amazon:

      Fabulous book – you’ll love it!

      1. Thanks, Jenny!

  20. Inspiring yes! Wow, what you describe is me! All of my life I’ve felt like an ill-fitting cog in an alien machine and just recently, well, the past couple of years, I’ve been breaking free from this…mindset, the voices in my head, and I’ve been embracing the artist in me and learning to express me, my art. I keep thinking one day, I’ll wake up and realize I’ll have to go back to that alien machine. I hope not. But I’m doing more than just hoping. I’m working at it, learning, practicing, exploring….I’ll find my voice. Thanks for this blog and the post!

    P.S. I was wondering if your computer fiasco thingy had been resolved and if you had received my submission for contest winner. I will resend it. Thanks!

    • jan on May 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm
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    It’s funny, I’m turning 60 this year, not that turning 60 is funny, but, I feel like I’m waking up and becoming younger. I made a five year plan to write my way to retirement. I am having so much fun making stuff up, I can’t wait till I can do it full time. I feel like a Doriana Gray.

  21. I’m in a somewhat different situation than most writers. I had a fulfilling career as a psychotherapist and college professor (still teach part-time), and now, as a retiree and an empty nester, I am free to devote a lot of my time to writing. I never felt trapped in those jobs. I loved them. But I also loved to write, and the reality was that I had to earn a living and raise a child, and, and, and…So the writing got pushed to the back burner.

    Another factor in all of that was how difficult and time-consuming it was to find an agent and try to get a break in the traditional publishing world. I can’t begin to tell you how many writing projects I started over the years, and never finished (and I’m normally a fanatic about finishing things) because I knew I didn’t have it in me to fight that broken system.

    Then retirement happened, and shortly after that the e-publishing revolution happened. So I dusted off one of those projects and started working on it. Six weeks later it was the first draft of the first book in my mystery series. I now have 5 written and in various phases of editing and polishing (Books 1 and 2 published. Book 3 coming out in June…yeehaa!)

    I am loving every minute I spend at my computer writing and editing, but it’s a lonely job compared to my previous career. That’s where WANA has come in. I love hanging out with you, Kristen, and this wonderfully supportive bunch of people you have gathered around you.

    And now we get Christmas too! Wow! Love ya!

  22. You’ve been posting so often lately that I found myself complaining, “What now?” But how can I complain when you’ve really got something to say. This posting about the value of artists was especially thoughtful.

  23. P.S. Reading your WANA book is what finally gave me the nerve to get on Facebook. Few things in life intimidate me but I find a lot of the technology very frustrating and hard to get the hang of. Next I need to get your Are You There Blog? book and/or take your blog course.

    1. I hope you take my blog class. It is a blast and it will take you to a new level. It is scary. Fortunately I long ago lost any sense of being embarrassed so I am not afraid to make dumb mistakes. I forged the way ahead so y’all can look smart, LOL.

  24. I felt exactly the same about the new technology but am so glad that writing my dissertation for Social Work got me into computing and my wish for pen friends on the internet. I used to create stories all of my life. One of my families funny stories is about me as a five year old getting everyone into a play and my great uncle was Arthur the Angel :-). Being a Social Worker is a great thing for being a writer and poet as it shows you so many depths of humanity. Well it made me ill as well as working in a supermarket but I am on the way out. Not fully there yet though. Thanks for this blog entry and I can’t wait to find out more about WANA but it is a quarter past ten pm here and my mind can’t do it any more :-).

    • Karen McFarland on May 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm
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    I love WANA, but one of the things I hate most, is surprises! LOL! So whenever you feel like spilling out that little surprise information that you’re holding onto like Fort Knox, we’ll find out. I’m off to keep my mind busy on writerly things. 🙂

  25. Kristen, I loved this post. A couple of times it actually brought tears to my eyes. I’m such a push over, but it really did touch me. You made me believe in myself and my writing. I’ve just started my blog and I owe you for that too. Your books have helped me so much in getting things going. I still have a long way to go, but I’ll get there. I know my family, for the most part, thinks I’m strange because I love book and I like to read, but my three daughters and my eight grandchildren, understand how I feel and stand behind me. They are my biggest fans–so far anyway.

    1. Awesome Donna! I will be holding blogging classes again soon, so I hope you can join one of those. I work to take your blog to a level you never imagined and I make it fun. I am so proud of you. Just keep going. Doing what we love is hard, but MAN it is so FUN, too!

  26. I was ‘set free from my prison’ in February of 2011. No more accounting (except for my own business)! Now I write for a living AND am helping others realize their writing dream too!

  27. This is a fabulous post, Kristen. My belief, like yours, is that there will always be a place for the artist. With technological advances come more innovative ways to create and express. And as time passes, I feel we can reflect on ancient art forms with greater wonder and appreciation.

    My story – I’ve been writing since before I could write cursive, tapping out stories on my parents’ typewriter. I’m lucky to have had a career focused on writing (journalism, PR, online editing) and I’ve freelanced on the side for years. Like you, I lose hours writing. I feel safe, excited, free. So long as I can find a pen or a keyboard, I won’t stop creating.

  28. *jaw hanging open*

    This is incredible. And just what I needed. Thank you, Kristen.

    (I’d write more, but this post rendered me speechless.)

  29. *jaw hanging open*

    This is incredible. And just what I needed. Thank you, Kristen.

    (I’d write more, but this post rendered me speechless.)

    PS: I hope my comment doesn’t post twice. I had a little trouble with the WordPress login…)

    1. No worries. I deleted the extra. THANKS!

  30. Reblogged this on marcmurraygraphic and commented:
    Some interesting thoughts raised here 🙂

  31. Art is the expression of the soul. Yes, learning the tech stuff is daunting but I am determined to forge ahead. Thanks for your words. I invite you to my blog

    • Yvette Carol on May 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm
    • Reply

    Kristen, that sounds so exciting! Anything that’s going to be like Christmas I’m up for!! Especially when it’s concerning MYWANA. Squeeeee 🙂
    Of course I have an ill-fitting cog story, which artist doesn’t?
    Once upon a time I was a freelance journalist. Sometimes when a newspaper sent me on restaurant review duty, it was the best meal I’d eaten in weeks. But I was a bad heroine who didn’t pay the rent. On top of that I found myself more drawn to writing feature articles. Why? Because they were more like fictional stories which was what I was really drawn to write. But they took longer to put together, and sometimes they weren’t picked up by the magazines, and let’s cut to the chase shall we? I was evicted, and forced to move home with my parents. I felt like a real jerk. I gave up journalism then. I thought Okay, world, what better chance will I have than this to write the children’s stories I really wish to write? It’s not like mum and dad will refuse to feed me or put me out on the street! So I took a job as a cleaner. And the rest of the time I squirrelled myself away in my ivory tower with a pen and a pad of paper. The stories poured out. I was a loser in everyone else’s eyes, an adult living at home, apparently doing NOTHING more with my life than a menial job. But the joy that fired me up every day was unparalleled. I was writing stories. I knew I’d found my calling.
    Sometimes it takes looking like an idiot.
    But it’s worth it.
    Yvette Carol

  32. I have been waiting for you to show everyone Francis!!! He looks fabulous

  33. I do love Christmas-Can t wait. My family talked to me, they didn’t understand what I was doing and why. I finally realized late in life that in order to be happy I had to do what I wanted. Not what everyone else thought I should do. Amazing how much better I felt, and wrote after that.

  34. “All the Jews in the house love Hamukkah…” but I know what you are saying. WANA is going to be big. And I can’t wait for you to say more. Until then, I’m just going to ask: Houston, do we have an actual launch date? Squeeee! So excited for presents. 😉

  35. As always a great Post. Change is always scary, but you can find good in most things. It’s all part of evolution, and those who embrace this will find good things come to them

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

  36. To be honest, I have no clue what it is that I’m suppose to do. Also I’m procrastinating on finding out, so that helps. I’ve been reading a book and apparently my dream job doesn’t have anything to do with what I do, but more with who and where.
    Lately I’ve been experimenting with writing and keeping a writing schedule and all, but it doesn’t feel like it’s my calling. My life is not magically falling into place quite yet haha.
    That said, you blog posts always lift my spirit and give me inspiration and motivation. Now to just find out for what 😉

    • Alisa Flom on May 10, 2012 at 1:30 am
    • Reply

    First, thank you for writing! I always enjoy reading your blog. I found this post particularly interesting especially when you discussed how your family reacted when you quit your day job and how your health miraculously got better. My experience was very similar to yours, but in the opposite direction. My parents nurtured every artistic inclination that I had and groomed me to be an artist from the age of 6. I went to one of the top art schools in the country, studied abroad, interned with an amazing artist in Australia, spent a decade sending slides and discs to galleries, driving a truck all over creation to get to craft shows, setting up, tearing down, working 16 hour days… AND I HATED IT. I was miserable and sick with things that only miserable people get. The only thing that I learned was that I loved art; I just hated doing it for a living. It’s not that I couldn’t hack it. I could. I did. But to me it was lost in the marketing and networking which took up most of my time and I never got to create for myself. When I had finally had enough, I quit. And my “support network” was no longer supportive. But I was blissfully happy. I went back to school and now wear scrubs for a living. And though I have to tamely cover the purple streaks in my hair under the work appropriate “natural” red, I can create and enjoy it in my spare time. Granted, that spare time is rare, but unlike before, it actually exists.

  37. I definitely hated computers way back when and then once I began to learn their language, I embraced them wholeheartedly. I, too, used to write long letters but now I send either a quick email or use a fb connection. It has become easier to keep up with family nowadays. Except, sometimes, I think technology may be moving too fast and if I blink, I’ve missed a lot.

  38. Thank you for this post – I received notification of it this morning via email and it’s the first thing I’ve read today, and it comes across as a really strong message for me. To put it in context, I’ve been blogging sporadically for a few years, kept personal journals, I love writing and know that it is my chosen art-form. We have just moved to London as a family – we took a sabbatical trip to India for 6 months which was an amazing journey – and am now looking for a teaching job, which is how I’ve been successfully earning my living for years. As we now live in the capital, and as my husband is embarking on a fantastic training course, I feel the pressure to resume teaching and earn the family wage. It would be total joy if I earned that wage with my writing: fulfilling though teaching can be, it comes at a high personal cost in terms of time, commitment and energy.

    Your post has given me hope that it is worth pursuing the writing, that my social networking habit is useful and that by tying the two together I can forge a career – that there is a community of artists out there all conspiring to help one another. Oh joy – the misfit feeling is starting to fall away, as is the angst about how quickly I can get a job in teaching. It’s clear that I shall keep applying for the jobs, but whilst I am waiting, I can usefully be writing up my travel journal, blogging and tweeting and flexing my writing muscles.

    Your link already appears on my blogroll and I shall be mentioning this post in my next. I love it when hints about Christmas gifts appear this early in the year!

  39. I couldn’t agree more with new technologies being very beneficial for artists / writers, and only conducive to powerful changes in the way we share and perceive creativity.
    My day job (the “real” job) is software quality consultant, and I actually enjoy it very much, so I have no trouble accepting the digital Renaissance! 🙂 There are just too many benefits if instant communication and cheap ways to send your work across the globe, to cling to the notion that real art only happens longhand on sheets of processed tree-flesh.

  40. Am putting the Albert quote on Pinterest, with creds to you for finding it. Don’t know how you manage to keep coming up with these fantastic columns. But they are greatly appreciated.

    1. Passion, LOL. You guys inspire me :D.

    • funcitygal on May 10, 2012 at 11:21 am
    • Reply

    I love Francis! He is one cool and inspiring dude.

  41. Wow that is amazing I have been thinking exactly the same thing for months-artistic revolution and I have only read your blog twice…it must really be happening how exciting! Very well written by the way:) Artists of the world unite!!! I WANA

  42. Kristen, I love your blog. Any time I need a pick-me-up, I can get one here. Thank you.

    I’ve posted my response to this and others from Kristen over on my G+ page:

    Specifically, this post’s response is here:

  43. Kristen, this was just what I needed to hear! Thank you so much for reminding me what it is all about…and for getting me started on my blog today 🙂

  44. I am a scientist. Every day I work on developing methods to test new formulations of drugs. I’m also an artist. I love to write, paint the landscape with flowers and vegetables, listen to music, and am astounded by those with the ability to act and dance.

    The truth is we all have a bit of both in us. One should never be valued over the other, because they both give value. I’m pleased that half my children are scientists/engineers, and just as please the other half are artists.

    1. So true! I LOVE science. I can’t read enough about math and neuroscience and physics. I spend most of my TV time watching science documentaries. I think if we swing either way we are a society with a half a brain.

    • Left-Brained Business for Write-Brained People on May 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm
    • Reply

    I’m using the Einstein quote as my desktop wallpaper for the rest of the month. Great post. Thank you!


  45. Kristen– wow. That sent chills skittering up my back.. I’m pretty clumsy at the whole blogging thing– but I’m reading your books and trying to get better. I cannot WAIT to take your class at DFWcon!

    For me, writing fiction is pure pleasure. The best high ever. Ehh, did I just say best high ever? Hmm…Well, yep. It truly is… Writing–best high ever!.
    For me, blogging is much harder.

    I am super excited to see what the big surprise will be!

    I blogged about this post– linked to it– tweeted it.. And linked to your books, which I ADORE, btw, I so dig your snarky humor!

  46. “When I started pursuing my art, I became more myself than I’d been since the age of ten. I went from being a misfit, an ill-fitting cog in an alien machine to feeling my life fall almost magically into place.”

    Kristen, this has been so true for me as well. I’ve never been at a place in my life where I wanted to go back to a better time, and I think I know why. All those other years were just a long journey leading to freedom–to doing what I was made to do. I’m not there yet… but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now, and it’s a sparkly place, and the sight of it makes me smile! 🙂

  47. This made me want to stand up and cheer!! Tweeted and Facebooked it!

    • Peter on May 21, 2012 at 8:46 am
    • Reply

    Hi Kristen,

    I like reading your posts. But I don’t agree on your distinction of art and science. In my opinion, good scientists are great artists in their field. They just use different tools. Not pens, not colors, not the violin, nor the clarinet, but they use microscopes, transistors, magnets, electron microscopes, or again pen and paper (theorists do that, I shouldn’t have discarded the pens for the scientists) they even use nothing (the vacuum) to build true artistic installations. You even used an Einstein quote and a picture of him in your post. And Einstein was not an artist (following the pure definition). Although I think he was an artist. A real master of his craft indeed! And those who have dug into quantum theory or general relativity or superconductivity or any other physics, math, biology, etc. topic will have noticed the beauty of the conceived models trying to reflect and describe parts of the nature and the universe. And those who have looked at e.g. the large detectors at LHC they will inevitably have been touched by their incredible size on one hand and the little details on the other side. What could be more artistic than to build an incredible machine which creates images of the things happening at the tiniest scale nature has to offer.

    I even would go so far to say, that it cannot be a good scientist who is not an artist at the same time.

    I’m quite sure, that you bought your ipad, android phone, nook, etc. because they are a real nice piece of artwork, not only because they serve your daily tasks. And behind that, there are a lot of technicians and scientists who used their tools to fiddle all the high tech into a shape which pleases your eye and your fingers and your ears. An art as well, don’t you think? 🙂


    1. You and I actually agree. I believe society at large has forgotten that scientists are also artists. Yet, if we are artists who happen to use paint, or story or song for art, we are not considered valuable. Few would discourage their child from becoming a chemist. No one says, “Great! A neuroscientist? Are you crazy? Why don’t you get a real job?” Yet if you are an actor or a dancer or a writer, then somehow you are a failure and a slacker. THAT is what is wrong with our society.

  48. I have just found you Kristen, and I couldn’t be happier. I can relate to so much of this post – Thank you!

  49. What a great post. I will read this over and over. Also am sending the link to my bright, lovely, discouraged 19 year old daughter. She’d an artist at heart, trying to find a way not to be a cog in a machine.

  50. Reblogged this on Cassie Lane Diary.

  51. “Additionally I get about 400 e-mails a day and the spam folder has a healthy appetite too.” – 🙂

    hello, Kristen… just found your site through Alarna. i like your story above…

    thanks and warm regards ~San

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