The old day job conversation is one that crops up all the time in my work and it’s such a fraught area for so many people. As creatives we’ve been sold a horrible story that equates day jobs with evidence of an inability to “make it”. To me this is one of the many ways in which the arts are structured to disempower creative people and keep many of us living well below the poverty line. This is not the core business I’m engaged in so I often encourage my clients to weave the ideal day job into their dream creative life. Here are some of the ways having the right day job can actually be great for your creativity.
Freedom to Create exactly how you like
When you turn your creativity into a job or business you ultimately need to bring your market to mind. You need to meet the needs of those you’re asking to buy your creative product. You need to become a marketer, manufacturer and sales person in one. For some creatives this can extinguish all that is innovative and authentic in their work. When you are bank rolling yourself you can do whatever the hell you like!
If you are locked away in a creative bubble you run the risk of your creativity becoming introspective and self indulgent or worse running out of inspiration altogether. Day jobs connect you with the world at large and bring a groundedness and dynamic element to your human experience. The places you see, the people you meet and experiences you have provide so many opportunities to be inspired by the world and human experience.
For visual artists especially, the creative life can be quite isolating. This isolation can often lead to poor mental health outcomes, a lack of creative perspective and disconnect. The right day job can surround you with people who support your creative dream and you! It can get you out of your head and lead to an improved sense of wellbeing overall.
Structure to your day
Creatives are notorious for their busy grasshopper minds, jumping from idea to idea and easily tempted by bright shiny objects and seductive distractions. Beasts like procrastination, perfectionism and disorganization are also Achilles heals for many creative types. Having a structure to your day, week, year enforced by a day job can really help force you to develop excellent organizational and work habits. Making a commitment to your creative life within the structure of a day job forces you to get focused and use your time efficiently. Ironically my experience has been that the restriction on time imposed by a day job actually increases and improves creative productivity.
More on this topic check out this article!