On every book I’ve read about how to build a creative business, it was suggested how important it is to have a day job to support yourself while you ‘build your dream’. I’ve read stories of authors and illustrators working as bartenders, carpenters, secretaries, waitresses and waiters and every other kind of odd jobs, possibly at very odd and very long hours.
The ‘rags to riches’ story, the Cinderella who works crazy hours and then comes home in her super shallow mini apartment and still have the strength and inspiration to work on her thing and eventually succeeding in making it come true, it’s a plot good for a movie.
Real life? Nah. Maybe one in a million.
In real life, you keep that level of skyrocketing drive and will up for maybe a week or two: then you become sleep deprived, too tired to focus not to mention inspired, and you tell yourself ‘okay, I’ll take a couple of days off to catch up on sleep’. But then sleeping is good and you dread feeling like a zombie again and you go ‘okay, I’ll wait until I’ll have a few days off’. But when those days off come you have a pile of errands to do, stuff you never have the time for when you are working the odd jobs at crazy hours to support you dream, and so…you dream stays a dream.
If this has happened to you, it doesn’t mean that you have not enough passion or determination, or will. It just means that you are human, not a character in a movie, not that one in a million lucky person who makes it because he doesn’t need much time to experiment, learn, get better and fail a dozen times before actually starting to make something right.
This has happened to me a few times in the last 20 years, before reading all those best-sellers about how to make your dreams come true. I had a good day job. Then the company I worked for got sold, and I was forced to quit. I had to find a new job quickly and I found a good one. But ten years later the company got sold again and went bankrupt. The owners ran away with all the money, including my severance. I was almost forty, I had had a day job forever but I had a different dream, and I thought ‘it’s now or never’.
I made a choice that wasn’t a hundred % mine, but this is a story for another post. When that experience ended, I was lost. It looked like nothing worked for me.
But I had the time to draw. Only that it’s very difficult to draw when you have money issues and you are worried all the time. So last September I decided to look for another job. Let’s call it ‘an official job’ since drawing feels more like playing to me.
And so I became a cleaning lady.
I clean the public library and the City Hall. And what looked like ideal – just a few hours per week, not a job I would think about once at home, no problems to solve, etc. – revealed itself for what it is. A fu**ing waste of my time.
Guess what? I work crazy hours. I never have time to draw. I haven’t touched a pencil in three weeks! All the plans I had have been set aside.
This day job thing maybe works for some, it surely doesn’t work for me.
The illustration on top of this post is something I have made in NOVEMBER. Did I have the time to upload it and promote it? No. And Christmas deliveries are already officially closed, so it’s an entire Christmas of sales lost…for what?
Ha. Quit your day job, kid.