March 25, 2014
A Day Job is Not an Art Crime

While I don’t want to be the voice of reason that buzzkills your art dreams, the fact is few people can make a full- time living in this business. Fewer still can sustain a long term career in the creative arts.

It’s hard to know when to let something go. Or when to keep pushing through.


Many creators lie to themselves and everyone else about their professional prospects. They don’t want to be seen as a loser. Many people will even advise you not too be too honest in public about how hard you are struggling. People seek out entertainment to escape their problems, not to be made to feel responsible for yours.

Instead of getting a day job between assignments, some artists sit for months or years without paying gigs. They incur huge debts they can never repay, or take lousy assignments they’re ashamed of, always hoping for the big payday that never comes.

Not being a full-time creator is not some kind of art crime. Sometimes it is better to get that day job and do art on the side. You may even appreciate art making more when you don’t have to rely on art for money.

This job has no benefits, no guarantees. Nothing. If you don’t make enough money to pay for every dime of your health care, your retirement, and all your business expenses, as well as your daily living needs, you are not making it as a professional creator. Getting by is not good enough.


Self awareness is key in this business, and some creators just don’t have it. They live on dreams.

But dreams don’t pay the bills.

It is possible to have that day job and have your dreams nights and weekends, you know. Let some other job finance those dreams with benefits.

Free yourself from other people’s expectations about what being a successful artist means. If necessary, get that other job, and look at it as your other job. You don’t have to frame your art making by other people’s standards.

Not being a full-time professional creator does not make you any less an artist.


A day job is not an art crime.

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