If You Knew You’d Never Earn Another Penny from Your Writing…

What would you do?

Art by Susan B. @HealingDoodle

If you knew you’d never earn
another penny from your art,
Would you still soldier on?
Or would it break your heart?

A friend posed this question
and I cried out in pain.
Tears finally released,
but I felt no gain.

In the past few years
so little money I’ve made.
My art-making efforts
clearly haven’t made the grade.

Since I was 11
until now, 66,
I’ve been engaged in this struggle
pitching these fits.

Growing up I was told
it only counts if you’re paid.
I guess someone should’ve burnt
all the art Van Gogh made.

There’s an ache in my soul
if I don’t write or make art.
But if no money comes,
there’s a pang in my heart.

I feel empty not writing or “arting” each day.
But sad not to earn …
not a penny, no way.

No one said I can’t share
whatever I write,
as I’m doing right now
hoping you’ll relate to my plight.

Each “Like” feeds my ego,
but the ego needs more —
an insatiable appetite
not to be poor!

Back to the question
of what it’s worth,
to write or make art
if no coin I’ll unearth.

I don’t know the answer.
I just know the pain
of years not creating
or years of not paid.

So what is the answer?
What would you do?
If your writing and art
nevermore earned a sou.

I’ve experienced bliss
in the room with my muse,
a joy so profound
it makes money a snooze.

Seems I don’t have a choice
but to keep making art.
Let the muse do its work
of healing my heart.

In the meantime
there’s only one thing left to do.
Kill that raven who’s taunting
“Nevermore … not for you.”

Susan Bilheimer is a writer, artist, and chronic illness warrior. You can see more of her art on Instagram. Find more of Susan’s writing, books, and blogs here.

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