Work for Free until you Gain Experience


“Skudeneshavn Norway”  20 x 16 Oil on canvas; SOLD, Prints available!

The economy goes up and down, depending on the world’s financial health and our own. The stock market rises and falls with the state of business and who the decision makers are in Washington.

My first husband thought my writing was a waste of time until I started getting paid for it. When I could pay for my own dental bills, contact lenses and clothes the time I spent at the typewriter and computer was suddenly valued.

“Money is the root of all evil” until it digs us out of a hole or provides for our wants and needs. Money is power and a necessity in today’s society.

But I have to sound off about all those hours and days I volunteered my time and talents to organizations such as “Kansas Right to Life, Pro-Family, Neighborhood Watch, and the churches I’ve been a part of throughout the years.

Practicing my craft writing plays, skits, and stories for local groups helped me develop the skills I needed to write for profit. I also met many artistic types and those who only needed them. I learned how to solve problems, reduce costs and persevere to the end.

In the fall issue of Guideposts magazine, a young single mother was asked to paint something patriotic on the tailgate of a truck. She had never painted something like that before, but she took the challenge. Her beautiful work was noticed and other jobs appeared. She enjoyed it so much that she began painting these scenes for nothing for the many veterans who admired her work.

When I moved to Florida 13 years ago, I ended up painting on the outdoor Nativity scenes with another member of my church for our mini Christmas pageant. I had to improvise, create in my mind, and use up gallons of acrylic paints when up to that point, I had only used oils. After this there were so many outlets to express myself and participate.  I became involved in a totally new genre’ of art leagues, artists and shows.

Great things can come from the giving of your time and talents for a good cause. What can happen?

  • Recognition. People get a glimpse of your artwork or read an article they enjoy and they remember your work and your name. Soon you’re in one of their contact lists and the rest is history.
  • Opportunities. Your work may be admired by an Interior Decorator, a buyer or an agent. Your skills may be wanted by a business or a corporation. I was able to write for an airline, an insurance company, a rehabilitation center and many other health and education institutes.
  • Connections. Getting work is all about networking and getting to know people in many walks of life. By word of mouth, I was able to connect with the heads of many companies. Sometimes other people who were working on a project found out that I’d been on a similar project with a photographer at another company. I would get a call for a meeting, and then I’d be off and running at another place, using the skills I loved.

Don’t give up. Your generous heart may eventually be rewarded!


“Arabesque” 18 x 14 Oil on canvas; Egrets taking off (framed)

Money Signifies Worth; How much we Earn Defines our Value


“Celebration” 20 x 16 Acrylic on Gesso Board

I wanted to be a writer from the time I was in third grade. My first short story was written on a script tablet I used to learn cursive. By the time I reached high school, I won an award and was featured in our school’s “Whispering Pines” literary magazine. I loved the written word and the power it held over my heart.

It was only natural that I continued to write even after I got married and began raising my six children. Hidden moments were stolen during nap times, and ideas generated while ironing, serving as a chauffeur, cleaning and even bathing. There wasn‘t a time that I wasn’t imagining, phrasing, or constructing in my head.

When I finally started writing things down and actually creating, I had already started selling a few of my wares. I had read so many stories to my children as they grew up that I figured I could write a few of my own. Finally I was receiving validation for my hours of work. Until that time, my efforts were considered a waste of time by my family and friends who were ultra conservative and devoted to saving themselves by their own efforts and working in their church and community.

There is something to be said for volunteering and doing things for free. I was able to hone my skills by crafting stories, plays and scripts for local church and community groups until I developed my talents enough to write for profit.

Great things can come from the giving of your time and talents for a good cause. What can happen?

  • Recognition; people become familiar with your face, your name, and your reputation for excellency and dependability.
  • Opportunity; if someone is looking for a writer or an artist, they may think of you through past experiences together.
  • Connections; exchanging of personal information, business cards, and shared work sticks in people’s minds. They will refer you to someone else when a job is needed.

“Bella Bellissimo” 16 x 20 Acrylic on canvas

I met a photographer at my church that saw my creativity firsthand at one of my events. He asked me to meet with him and that opportunity led to my writing of many, many scripts that were used in children’s education. Our divorce series (four films) won the New York Film Festival for “Best Series” that year. The photographer I worked with also introduced me to “The Learning Exchange” where I wrote some fun economic scripts for children on the history of barter and exchange.

Through another connection (that started when I was doing things for free), I was able to move into adult training and education scripts for a large insurance company; writing on subjects like “Structured Settlements” and “Claims Training.” By the time I finished these projects, I was getting referrals from other entities: major airline companies, and many school districts that were promoting education and safety.

By this time I had taken up drawing, illustrating and painting. My goal was to illustrate some of my own work. Getting paid had turned my so-called “waste of time activities” into making a real contribution to the family budget and becoming totally independent for my own sustenance.

It’s too bad that we allow our own self doubts, the  criticism of others or money to define us: “You’re not good enough, experienced enough, or talented enough to get paid for your efforts.” In the beginning, most of us must work for free. But don’t give up! Your generous heart will eventually be rewarded.


“Peaches ‘n Cream” 12 x 16 Acrylic on Gesso Board