Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

I wrote a while back about how my book proposal was rejected because the kind of book I wanted to write–about inspiration and creativity–just isn't selling. Not only is that the kind of book I want to write, but it's the kind of book I want to read, too. That's what fascinates me, and it's why I love the work I do: I get to talk to all kinds of creative people about where they get ideas and how they implement those ideas. I realized that it's not enough to tell people what kind of stuff I like–I have to buy it when I find it. Why? Because that's what counts to the people who make the decisions about what gets published, what gets manufactured, what gets produced. If we, the consumers, buy it consistently, they provide more. If we don't, they figure it's not what we want, so they'll move on, trying to figure out how to get us to part with our money. If we hear of a book that sounds good and then go check it out of the library and love it–and especially if it's the kind of book we'd like to see more of–we really need to go buy our very own copy. If we all saved up and did that when we found a book we loved, publishers would have a more accurate idea of what we want. If, however, we just check them out of the library and borrow them from our friends, there's no way of keeping track of that. The same goes with almost anything: if we buy what we love and want to see more of, we're sending a message just as we are if we buy stuff we don't really like. For instance: I use a ton of DMC embroidery floss. I have to drive all the way across town to buy it–not a huge deal in a town this size, but still a pain if all I need is one color I ran out of. There's a Hancock's fabrics just a dozen blocks from my house–I can walk there easily–and they carry floss. But a couple years ago they switched from DMC to some off-brand, and I refuse to buy it. Maybe it's just as good, but I don't know that. I've heard from other people that it breaks easily. Not only do I not buy it, but I periodically remind the people at the store that I would buy floss from them again if they returned to DMC. I know it's not up to this particular store in their huge chain, but I figure if enough of us send them the same message, maybe they'll change their minds and bring back The Good Stuff. My monthly floss expenditure isn't enough to do it, but if enough stitchers all sent the same message, well, that's a different matter. It's the same with other supplies I use and with other things I buy, even clothes and shoes. If I really love it, I'll buy it. If I don't love it, I won't get it just because it's easier than ordering online or because I want to shop locally or because it's there and it's on sale and it's not too horrible. I try to tell the seller why I'm not buying and what I wish they'd carry. I tell the people I know at the big box craft stores that I would buy more from them if they carried high-quality fabric paints and dyes and other fabric-related supplies. When I ordered fabric from DharmaTrading.com recently, I told them I wish they'd carry cotton fleece and that if they had it, I would buy it. She said she'd pass on the suggestion. Maybe if enough other people say the same thing, they'll find a source and start carrying it, and that would be fabulous. So think about what message you're sending with what you buy. Are you saying you like something that you really don't? Are you not buying something you love and would like to encourage? Money is tight, and everyone is having to really think about how they spend what they have. Using our purchases to send a message is just one more way to make that mean something. Creative ThursdayFor more ideas about creativity and inspiration, try Creative Thursday by Marisa Anne.         Ricë is the author of Living the Creative Life, Creative Time and Space, and Destination Creativity. She also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.
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