Last week, I received this letter in response to my recent post: How to Balance Your Personal and Professional Life.
First, no, you’re not a freak. This is THE number one question I get from emerging artists. The main issues at play here are time and money. Let’s talk about them.
Again as I mentioned in the How To Balance post, when it comes to time, one must really have respect for and mastery of one’s calendar. Take the average New Yorker for instance who, not surprisingly, may have a day gig at a retail store, a night gig at a bar, and still has time for friends at happy hour, and some passion project at odd hours and on weekends. Scarcity of time is seldom the issue; As Gary Vaynerchuk has said, “Everybody has time. Stop watching f_cking ‘Lost’!” Rather, it is how one directs time, or worse, how one is subservient to other people’s time that is the real matter.
Now, take the story of Debbie Macomber (one real-life protagonist that appears in Jack Canfield’s book, The Success Principles) who wrote on a rented typewriter every morning before sending the kids to school and every night after the kids went to bed. She maintained this routine for five years before her first book ever sold. This is a real testament to the importance of perseverance and discipline. And what happened after her books made The New York Times bestseller list? Even more perseverance and more discipline. Reportedly, she gets up at 4:30 in the morning to write in her journal, then exercises at 6:00, returns mail at 7:30, and writes the whole day from 10:00 AM till 4:00 PM.
So here is the question: For any given Monday, can we wake up to an alarm, arrive to work on time, focus on some repetitious tasks and a little bit of problem-solving through noon, have lunch, then get back to the job, giving our attention to someone else’s dream right up until clocking out at the start of the evening? Yes. And many of us do.
Then why not have the same honor and commitment for something we love? A personal undertaking, a business idea, or our art? First thing in the morning or everyday before going to bed at night? Or on, say, a full Saturday or Sunday? The best part is, we already know what’s required. We just need to do it. Set the alarm, have that cup of coffee, and then set right to work – on your own aspirations and passion projects.
I have to admit, as it’s addressed in the letter, that it does help a lot to make your money on your art or at least within the art field. It keeps a person from having to identity- and code-switch too often. And this is something I examine in more detail in the Finding A Winning Job post, which I encourage you to read if you haven’t already. In it, I talk about cultivating an art network through your choices in employment and I also invite you to utilize the new Art Of Hustle job board.
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