Chronicles of a NaNoRebel: Full Time Jobs

There are many, many creatives in the world. There are painters and musicians and actors and writers and directors and web designers and video editors and game designers and so many more that I am probably missing.

Some of these creatives work full time as creatives. They work hard to promote themselves in order to get paid for the work they do. And if they are lucky, they get to make careers out of the work they are so passionate about.

Like this dude.

Why hellooooooo Neil Gaiman!

This article is not for them.

Some creatives don’t have careers per se, but they do throw themselves 110% into their creative projects. They will forgo food, sleep and general cleanliness in the name of art. And a portion of those creatives also staunchly refuse to sell out to the man and lose their artistic integrity, choosing instead to forge new paths in artistic vision.


This article is not for them either.

No, this article is for the creatives who “haven’t made it yet”, the ones who hold down full time jobs that don’t necessarily satisfy and who can spare maybe an hour at most per day devoted to some sort of creative endeavor, who tried and maybe failed to make their creative projects more than just a hobby but who nonetheless continue to create.

Like this dude!

Like this dude!

I am a creative. I act, I write, I have now dabbled in video editing. And like most creatives, I of course have dreams and ambitions to be able to use my creativity full time, to get paid for the crazy fun things I get to do.

But also like most creatives, even the most ambitious ones, I have had to face up to the fact that while the world needs stories and art, it also needs things like plumbing and health care. So when it comes to getting paid, creatives are understandably on the bottom rung of what’s in demand.

Pffft, who needs accountants? Really?

Pffft, who needs accountants? Really?

And so I compromise, going to a full time day job and using my evenings and weekends to work on what I’m truly passionate about. It’s not always easy. Day jobs take up mental energy too and I often feel tired and worn out by week’s end. This isn’t me complaining or lamenting the state of my life though. I’m proud of what I do and if it happens to mean I get paid someday, then so much the better.

To me, what’s important is that I continue to create DESPITE the demands of life. In my mind, there is not one soul on this earth who isn’t creative. Creativity is part of what makes us human and is vital to keep us going, whether it’s an art piece commenting on the pain of war, or a Three Stooges episode. Getting paid does not necessarily make you a true artist. You don’t have to call yourself an artist or an author in order to create. The important thing is simply that you create.

Heck, even a sandwich can be a work of art!

Heck, even a sandwich can be a work of art!

But sometimes, we need to be reminded of that. I know I do.

It’s the last week of NaNo. I was at an event a few days ago in which the topic of NaNo came up. One of the people at the event talked of how she liked to encourage others who felt daunted by the word count, stating “it’s only 1,700 words per day. That’s nothing when you think about it”.

Now…part of this is true. Those aren’t a lot of words. Not to a full time writer who devotes their lives to writing. And I understood where she was coming from. She wanted to be encouraging, she wanted to let people know that it is possible to win.

But 1,700 words CAN be a lot to those who are not full time authors. By the time you go to your day job, travel home, fix dinner, clean dishes, visit with family, make sure those kids are in bed, there is not a lot of mental or physical energy left and suddenly those 1,700 words seem a whole lot more impossible.

And so when we are told “It’s only 1,700 words”…that can sound more discouraging than encouraging.


The question I get asked the most by my concerned family and friends is this: why bother writing if you’re never going to get paid?

My answer is this: because I have to. We all have to. Some of us would like to make it more full time than others, but that’s not the point. The point is that expressing myself creatively never seemed like a choice. It was always a need. It’s a need for all of us. That need to be creative makes us human. And if others can enjoy my stuff, if others can laugh, then so much the better.

And because everything counts. Everything.

So to those of you with the full time jobs, who can barely manage ten minutes a day to be creative let alone one to two hours: keep going. If it’s ten minutes and it’s 300 words that is awesome. Because you are being creative. You are telling a story, a story that is uniquely yours and no one else’s. Embrace that. And keep going. It’s worth it, trust me.

Phew…enough emotion for now. Stay tuned for a new My Neighbour Errol :D.

Posted on November 25, 2013, in Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You and Errol really are on the same wavelength right now, with two talks on the same day about doing NaNo around a full-time job…

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