Narnia and the Artist’s Calling

Have you ever wondered what your job is as an artist? Why do you create the things you do? Is it really even a job—or is this just for fun?

Narnia

I’ve been asking myself these questions for a long, long time. Sometimes I wondered if what I did even mattered. I’ve always loved to write, but what if nobody cared to read my work? And honestly, there were times when I really wasn’t sure why I kept going.

Life is a bit of a whirlwind. Especially in high school and college when everybody in your life starts asking you the same question: What are you going to do? Which basically translates to “Who are you going to be?”

It’s pressure; lots of pressure—especially on those of us who choose to take an unconventional route. No college, no degrees, no “real” job. It gets discouraging, particularly when you aren’t really sure why you’re doing it.

 

Not a “Real” Job

I’ve heard this more times than I can count: “Oh, that’s neat that you’re a writer. So…when are you going to get a real job?”

Every time someone said that, it devastated me. I wanted to be a writer more than anything. As a child, I fantasized about selling tons of books and watching them climb onto the best seller’s list. I didn’t want to be famous—not exactly—but I did want people to buy my stuff. I wanted to write the stuff they wanted to read. Or at least, I thought I did.

Let me be honest here: being an artist is not the best way to make money. It just isn’t. The cliché of the “poor, starving artist” is a cliché because it’s the truth. The job of an artist is lots of hard work and very little return.

 

So…Why?

It’s the ultimate question. Why would you do something that means hard work every day with little appreciation or return?

If you’re in the business of an artist because you hope to make a ton of money, you should quit right now and find yourself another job. In fact, many artists are forced to take on a second job in order to continue to do what they love. Some don’t, but most do—especially if they plan to support a family. It’s just reality.

The job of an artist is about far more than making money. A true artist has a message they are trying to communicate to a world in need of hope; of healing; of wonder. It’s not just about what they do, but why they do it. Your why is what keeps you going when things get hard.

 

Through the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia were some of my favorite books growing up. I read them over and over, and last month, during a writer’s workshop, something occurred to me: The wardrobe does not get to go into Narnia.

And then I realized something. The job of an artist is to be the wardrobe through which your audience can step into Narnia. To introduce them to a more beautiful world; a world of depth, meaning, and renewed wonder.

The life of an artist is hard because your job is to give away everything you have. To sacrifice. To be a portal. You carry Narnia inside of you, and it’s your job to show it to others who are lost and seeking.

It is a selfless and noble aspiration, and few are brave enough to answer the call of those who are searching and say, “Step through my wardrobe and let me show you Narnia.”

Why are you an artist? What message do you hope people will find inside your Narnia?

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15 thoughts on “Narnia and the Artist’s Calling

  1. Truth! I totally understand your point of view. I’ve always been bored at the idea of a “real” career. I just want to create things. As authors, or any kind of artist, I think this is a sentiment we all share. It’s more important that we speak to the world through our creations than any kind of financial success ever could be. Artists, when effectively connected to the true source of creation, are meant to serve as messengers from God. Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re saying, but he does. And that message will get through to someone, somewhere. That’s why we do what we do.

  2. This blog so often says right what I need to hear that day, and today is no exception. Thank you so much for letting me know that I am not alone in this! Have a great day.

  3. Wow, “You carry Narnia inside of you…” that is an incredibly powerful statement. I really appreciate this post as an artist/writer.

    I wish there were T-shirts that said on one side, “I am the wardrobe” and on the other, “I carry Narnia inside of me”. I would definitely get one.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. So true, Emily! As early as 7 years old, I wanted to be an author. And even though I took on a more typical day job as an adult, I now know being an author is what I’m meant to be. You have to love your craft with all your heart in order to pursue it. And sometimes you have to make sacrifices so you have the time for it if you have a full-time job. (I don’t really have any hobbies except reading because of it now. *lol*)

    It’s always life-affirming to see other writers post articles like this. We need reminders that what we choose to do isn’t the easiest thing in the world for various reasons, but it’s totally worth it if it feels right to us. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, Sarah! Yes, the love of the craft is definitely what will carry you through, because it isn’t easy. I think that’s a misconception people have about writing and authors, is that the job is easy–which is definitely NOT the case. Especially when you have to balance it with other work at times.

  5. Great post! I really needed this. I’m a huge supporter of pro-life and I hope to convey a pro-life message in my sci-fi series. In my fairytale retelling series, the theme for at least the first book is that God has a big plan for you and it’s necessarily your plans nor soemtimes will you get there the way you think you should.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    • That’s a great message! And I think fantasy would work very well to communicate it.

      And thanks! I appreciate the comment. (:

  6. I think the why can be easily answered when you know yourself well. I’ve been through singing and drawing, and I can say that my goal with art is more about expressing myself fully and make people feel something, or related, like create something that speaks to people, and I know that feelings are precious to me whether it’s my feelings or people’s. I can’t tell you how much I care about feelings, basically my heart is who I am, I’m a deep person who is so connected to his soul.