That’s What She Said – What Is It Worth?

*Note* This post might contain spoilers about Inside Llewyn Davis. Sorry.

Several weeks ago, I saw the movie Inside Llewyn Davis. I was really impressed by the film and I was fairly surprised since I’m not usually a big Coen brothers fan.

That’s right, I didn’t like The Big Lebowski.

I think the reason why I found this movie so compelling has to do with how much I identified with the main character, Llewyn Davis. Unfortunately, I found this kind of bothersome because Llewyn Davis is kind of a jackass. He’s a folk singer in New York in 1961 and he’s very talented but he’s also rude, abrasive, a freeloader, he sleeps with his friend’s wife and gets her pregnant, he’s disconnected from his sister, nephew, and father, he finds out he has a child and doesn’t make any attempt to contact the mother, and he abandons a really cute orange kitty in a car with a coked out John Goodman.

What a dick.

I’m not running around abandoning cats or impregnating other people’s wives, but I admired Llewyn Davis’s dedication to his craft. He has sacrificed everything else in his life in order to continue to write and perform music and I think that at some point, everyone who pursues a creative passion has to ask themselves the question:

how far am I willing to go and what am I willing to sacrifice in order to pursue my passion?

This is ultimately what determines how large of a role your creative endeavors will play in your life. If you’re not willing to sacrifice much, it will probably be little more than a hobby. If you’re willing to sacrifice more, your life will ultimately become about your craft, whether it be writing, music, painting, sculpting, or whatever else you enjoy doing.

Whatever floats your boat, dude.

Neither level of dedication or any of the areas in between are right or wrong, it’s about finding what the right balance is for you as an individual. And total sacrifice in dedication of your passion doesn’t guarantee success either. But creatively-inclined people need to ultimately make that decision about whether they’re willing to sacrifice everything in order to feel like they are living their truth or if they’re only comfortable with giving up little more than a Chopped marathon.

Oh my god I love Chopped.

While thinking about the premise for this article, I’ve been asking myself how much I’m willing to sacrifice for writing. I’ve loved books since I could read and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was six years old and after giving it some thought, I’ve found the balance that currently works for me. I am willing to give up getting a higher paying job and continue working in service industry jobs I hate because they don’t require me to take my work home with me so I can dedicate my free time towards writing. I am willing to deal with the judgement of other people who think I should give up on writing and get my shit together already and move on to something more financially promising or stable. I’m willing to tell people I write and endure their preconceived notions and the obnoxious statements and questions that, nine times out of ten, inevitably follow.

What I’m not willing to sacrifice, however, is time away from my family, especially my husband and son. If given the choice, I will always choose them. Does this mean that I will or won’t have success as a writer? I have no idea. But I think it’s important to set up your own parameters and boundaries to figure out exactly how much of your life that you’re willing to give to your passion. Llewyn Davis gave everything and although I wouldn’t make the same choices, I admire the dedication.

So now, all you creative people, you need to ask yourself the same question: how much am I willing to sacrifice for my art?

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