Recently I was looking for a remedy for my friend who suffers from an identity crises as a result of her status as a writer who spends far more time working in her 9 – 5 than being an artist. Going through this same struggle myself a few years back I wanted her to embrace the artist inside the way I did but I didn’t want her to be irresponsible in the process and do anything rash like quit her job the way I did. (I’m still paying for that little bit of impulsivity.) During one of my regular visits to Barnes & Noble I was drawn to a book cover with a whimsical illustration that just screamed ‘Pick Me Up!” so I did. To my surprise the book dealt with the very issue my friend was struggling with. The book is titled The Artist in The Office: How to Creatively Strive and Thrive Seven Days a Week by Summer Pierre. It is a refreshingly realistic approach to living as a struggling artist. Lets face it, many artist will never make a living doing art full-time. Most books dealing with this reality imply that the artist vs. non-artist dilemma is an all or nothing proposition. This book debunks that thought process and illustrates the fact that life as a part-time artist can be just as exciting as life as a full-time artist. In an interview with the Creative Times the author states “The more permission you give yourself to do the things that delight you, your life goes through the roof. Start noticing what nurtures you.”
As I mentioned I to went through the struggle of working a “day” job while still calling myself an artist. When asked what it is I do I found myself trying to convince myself as much as anyone else that I was an artist. The excerpt below courtesy of Etsy.com describes this dilemna perfectly.
“Once, at a party, I was asked the inevitable question: “So, what do you do?” I replied that I was an artist. After we covered exactly what “artist” meant, my new acquaintance asked me, “So, do you do that full time, or are you just a wage slave?”
I hate the term “wage slave.” To me, it implies a sort of victim relationship to having a job. It’s as if, as artists, we are shackled to our regular paychecks. This is utter crap. Nobody pointed a gun to my head and said, “March into that job interview, make a good impression, and take the job.” No matter what I’d rather do or not do, I made a choice to go after my day job. I’m also paid for it.”
This isn’t your typical motivational book. It doesn’t guilt you into leaving your comfort zone with herculean tasks that you know will fade with time. Instead this book suggests easy and fun to do tasks that enhance your current situation and nuture a fertile enviroment for creative growth. One example can be found in the following illustration.
So go out and get the book. If for no other reason than the delightful illustrations by Summer. You won’t regret it.