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Creative Day Jobs: How to Support Yourself While Pursuing Your Creativity


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There are few creative people who are able to pursue their artistic and creative talents whilst earning a reasonable income from just them exclusively.

Often the creative work that is most original, most challenging and pioneering, is, due to its nature, without precedent and so not immediately accepted or sought after anyway.

How many great painters do we hear of only becoming famous and respected after painting hundreds of canvases? How many novelists wrote dozens of novels – literally millions of words – before they had a book accepted by a major publisher and actually made a living from their creative work?

How many artists are only deeply appreciated after their death? And how many other artists continue to go undiscovered, patiently pursing their craft in poverty and virtual isolation?

The answer to all these questions of course an immeasurably large number.

So back to us and what we can do. How do we manage to develop and explore our own creativity whilst also putting food on the table?

Well, widely speaking, there are two ways of doing this:

Be as creative as possible in your current day job

Whatever your current employment and means of earning income, there are ways of being creative in your approach to your work.

It may be that you already work in a very creative environment and so being able to apply this approach is very easy and actively encouraged.

But whatever your role, think about all the different ways you can apply your own creative abilities. Be inventive with this, look beyond the obvious large scale creative actions, and get into tiny details.

Live each action as a creative person. Embrace your identity as a highly creative individual, and refuse to do anything in a regular dull way, from making a drink to chairing an important meeting.

If your current job is repetitive or monotonous and does not particularly tax your mind, use this time to develop your ideas and thinking. Have a small note pad in your pocket to jot down ideas then continue to formulate them
in your head whilst you work.

Find a Creative Day Job

The second option is to find a job that will utilise your creativity and help to stimulate you and inspire you in your other creative projects.

There are obvious interpretations to this idea. For example if you’re a keen photographer, seek a job in a photo processing business or a photographic gallery.

If you’re a writer, seek a job in a bookshop and surround yourself with inspiring literature and people hungry to read, or work in a local newspaper office.

There are also more abstract ways of considering this approach though. Arguably the truly creative person can take inspiration from virtually any source around them at any time. Think about what inspires YOU as an artist, as a creative person.

It could be that you paint and in particular enjoy painting coastal landscapes. Maybe a day job as a lifeguard would support and nurture this creative talent?

Or maybe you write beautiful effusive poems about being lost in nature. As a train driver you could cover miles of scenic routes each week, from expansive green fields to tightly packed urban architecture.

These are two quite abstract examples but hopefully you see the point. Think about what you really love doing creatively and all the different elements of that.

What kind of environment and surroundings support your creativity? What kind of people are you around when you’re at your most creative? What situations inspire you?

In all of these ideas, try out our own variations, experiment and find what works best for you. Maybe the best way to support yourself creatively and financially, is not as obvious as you first thought…

© Copyright 2006 Dan Goodwin.

Creativity Coach Dan Goodwin is the author of “Create Create!”, a FREE twice monthly ezine for people who want simple and powerful articles, tips and exercises to help them unleash their creative talents. Sign up right now and get your FREE “Explode Your Creativity!” Action Workbook, at http://www.CoachCreative.com

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  • Posted On January 14, 2007
  • Published articles 283513

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