When I find myself complaining about the perils of maintaining a life as an artist, I am reminded of two maxims that have saved that life more than once. The first is from a legendary singer-songwriter, the second is from America's greatest life-coach.
Trust your Talent
Janis Ian reminds us that, "Your talent brought you to the dance, it won't abandon you without a ride home." Say what you will about talent being overrated, in the end it's a gift, and one that increases in value the more it is spent. You weren't separated from the mass of men and given the responsibility of proving the worthiness of a self-initiated life, a life based on allegiance to an internal calling, to be made to starve to death. The world needs the fruits of your labor, and never more so than in these times of drought and famine. Trust your Talent, it will not betray you.
Spend to your Genius
Ralph Waldo Emerson, our best friend and teacher, taught to "Spend to your Genius, and the investment is safe." After adjusting income to outgo to cover basic living expenses, spend confidently on the tools of your Genius; in other words, invest in those things that inspire you to improve the tasks of your particular Calling. The investment is safe because the resources are renewable, and talent scales. Under such a natural, self-generating system, dividends will be paid out. For me, it's buying music, books, guitar things, a good computer, basic recording gear, good paper and pencils, and investing in programs that maintain body and spiritual health.
Do that thing that you do best, love best, adjust your budget to accommodate your requirements for time, Trust your Talent, and Spend to your Genius. And remember, a pricey cup of coffee from time to time is okay, too!