Artist at heart? 6 reasons to keep your day job

August 2nd, 2010

I’ve always objected to the notion that you need to take a year off to write a novel, paint a mural or record an album. Likewise, I’m equally bothered by the assertion that an artist with a day job is a sell out. Eating is a noble pursuit. So is learning valuable business skills you can apply to hawking your own creative wares.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for creative endeavors, be they full time or on the side. But I’m also for living like a grown-up, as opposed to, say, couch surfing or subsisting on Ramen-ketchup casserole indefinitely.

Of course, the rub is finding the time and energy to practice your craft while doubling as someone else’s employee. Same goes for keeping your resentment of that pesky day job at bay.

Summer Pierre, author of The Artist in the Office: How to Creatively Survive and Thrive Seven Days a Week, knows this dance all too well.

Before becoming a mother this year, the illustrator and writer supported herself with an administrative gig in the academic sector. But rather than view her day job as an obstacle to making art, Pierre came to appreciate it as a vital part of her creative life — and not just because of the paycheck that kept a roof over her head.

“Not everyone does well being isolated,” said the Brooklyn-based Pierre, who plans to return to part-time bread-and-butter work this fall. “I need structure. I need people. So the job for me was really providing that.”

But cash, colleagues and water coolers aren’t the only reasons published authors, gigging musicians and exhibiting artists cite for straddling the employee world. The next time you’re tempted to ditch your day job (or pooh-pooh another paycheck-earning artist), consider the following.

[Read the rest of this column on ABC News.com]

Entry Filed under: Balance,Creative process,Money honey,Popular articles

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Maggy  |  August 17th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I love your blog! I found it while Googling ‘life of a freelancer’ while bored at work…in the office. :)
    Just bought your Anti 9 to 5 book at Amazon and can’t wait to take in all the info. Keep it up, I love your outlook!

  • 2. Kelly  |  November 27th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you for your article. I am both inspired and relieved to know that I am not the only one who finds my “extra time” less productive now that I am freelancing and not working a 9 to 5 job.

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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