I’m a writer, musician, and music teacher, as well as a some-time photographer, writing coach, public speaker, and editor. I’m the author of 15 books and hundreds of magazine and Internet articles, mostly about the outdoors, travel, and music (www.KarenBerger.com and www.hikerwriter.com). And I’m the founder and editor of www.BuckettTripper.com.
I live and work with David Hodge (www.DavidHodge.com, www.GuitarNoise.com) on the side of a ski area in western Massachusetts, where we try to keep roses alive in the summer, snowplow our curvy steep goat-path of a dirt road in the winter, write books, teach piano (me) and guitar (David; well he also teaches piano and bass and banjo), and host events and jams where people can play music together.
I’m happy about a lot of things, including my piano, the view from my desk, and the fact that I get to spend my work days doing what I love. And I’m really happy that I haven’t had to go into an office (except for an occasional visit to a publisher ) for more than 20 years!
Over the years, I’ve been asked more times than I can remember “how do you make it work?” — “it” meaning, a lifestyle where what I love to do is also what I can support myself with. I’m not a celebrity, I didn’t inherit any money, I don’t have a “day job” (or a partner with a day job — David is in the same tippy creative freelance boat I’m in); and I didn’t strike gold in either the lottery or the Internet boom. And somehow, those nice people from Nigeria who keep promising to send me lots of money somehow never quite get around to it. But, being self-employed, and working mostly in the fields of writing and music, I’ve managed to buy a house, fund a retirement plan, and pay my health insurance bills… along with travel all over the world, hike the Appalachian Trail, and fulfill a lot of other long-held dreams.
That’s one of the reasons I’ve started this blog, and the book project that is going along with it.
I don’t believe there is any single way to make this work, and I certainly don’t have an answer that will work for everyone. But there are MANY answers, and that’s what we’re going to explore on this site — so that you can find some that work for you (and maybe you’ll share some of yours with me).
I know a ton of other creative people who are making it work, one job at a time. We’re all making different decisions, and we have different priorities (especially when we’re in different life stages, with different life issues — kids, aging parents, health, etc. — to deal with). But we share the most important priority: We’ve decided to spend our life’s energy CREATING.
Many of us are what I call “complex creatives,” meaning that we work in several fields — for example, you’ll meet an actress who designs art clothing; a musician and recording engineer who writes children’s books, a film-maker who runs a guitar website, and a photographer who owns a photo store and plays violin, harmonica, and cello on the side. On this blog, we explore how these people, and others like them, make it work. And hopefully, YOU will chime in too: We can swap ideas, commiserate when necessary, celebrate our successes, and keep on creating — one project at a time.