Creative Calling is an incredible book. Chase Jarvis, founder of CreativeLive, shares everything he knows about creativity, building a life as a working artist, and dealing with failure, procrastination, and resistance. It feels like the sort of book you could just keep next to you as you work, occasionally touching the cover for reassurance.
Our culture somehow values all kinds of creative work with massive amounts of money, fame, and material support, while also doing its best to browbeat creative impulses out of people. I live in Southern California, and frequently visit Las Vegas, Nevada, and what both of these areas have in common is that they reliably churn out billions of dollars of entertainment sales. Working in the arts has the highest ceiling of almost any field. Yet we’re trained to doubt ourselves and feel that working in a creative field is unrealistic. “Don’t quit your day job.” It’s nuts.
A young artist repeated some of this pushback to me. We happened to be standing in the middle of Powell’s Books, a veritable temple of proof that writing pays. She didn’t think she could make a living as the extremely talented illustrator that she already is. I waved my arm around in a wide circle, pointing out that tens of thousands of books and products around us all, each and every one, had a professionally designed cover. Where do they come from? Even humdrum consumer products still have art on the label. Proof is all around us and we still struggle to believe that art is work.
I have two pieces of advice for hopeful creatives. One. Don’t tell naysayers about your projects. Two. Read Creative Calling. When in doubt, repeat.
Choosing to pursue every creative interest is equivalent to abandoning them all.
Who says you can’t do those things? And what have those naysayers ever done themselves?
When artists can’t figure out how to pay the bills, we all lose.
Your life is not a democracy.
Productivity has become a self-help institution that deals with the symptoms rather than the cause of our problems.
What you’re really struggling with is the willingness to value as-yet-unmade work.
If you want to understand your true priorities, look at two things: your calendar and your bank statement.
All you have to do is follow instructions and do the work.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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