While working my job during the day and trying to craft/create art at night, ( and by art I’m including writing and art ) it’s hard to think about trying to merge the two things together. One earns me money and the other brings me pleasure. One is boring and necessary. The other is fun and fulfilling.
Obviously, these things are black and white, sun and moon, Earth and Pluto. Okay, maybe the last one is pushing it, but you get the point. They are two different things, different aspects that are essential, even required, to live the life of an artist. They are point A and point Z, things that can’t be combined or the world would spontaneously combust and everyone would forever be space zombies.
But what if you could combine the two?
I’m not saying that you would have to quit you present job and enter the publishing world in hopes to create or enter that creative environment you will always crave. Lord knows with this economy that jobs are hard enough to find. But maybe, just maybe, you could bring the creative urges to your work.
I recently came by a book by Summer Pierre called The Artist in the Office. Truthfully, it was an assigned reading for my Literary Citizen class, so I can’t claim all credit for finding this little treasure. It discusses the many conflicts that artists/writers come in contact with while having a “day job” and trying to maintain a creative life-style. It discusses dissatisfaction with your present job, how to bring creativity to the “office” and it contains activities that make you think about your present position with your art, work, and monies. There’s a lot more to this book, but what I really concentrated on was this concept of combination of Art (writing) and Work.
I have always had a problem with thinking of doing creative works as working. Work is boring and Creating is not. There’s no gray between the two. They are different, and that is that, you can’t change my mind Summer Pierre!
BUT *insert ever dramatic music* The mind has been changed. In my opinion, the best quote from this book is “It finally dawned on me that it didn’t matter how much money I was being paid, or what kind of environment I was in, it was still me coming to work: depressed, sarcastic, adolescent me, I realized if anything was going to change, it had to start with me.”
Needless to say, necessary evils will plague the life of a writer and, well, you are in charge of making the best or worst of what’s going on. So what can a writer do to make the best of the workplace?
Pierre gives a lot of great examples of things to do in an office setting, but there’s not much for the little customer service worker. I work at a theater myself, so some activities were hard to adapt to my workplace. Then, as I thought about it, my workplace already had a lot of creative and fun things going on already.
I once worked under a manager that had a special handshake for every employee, so whenever they walked by each other they would do it.
There’s a board in the manager’s office, and occasionally funny jokes, quotes, and positive things will be written there for the management staff.
An employee and myself drew the whole management team into little cartoon characters. Before you jump to conclusions, we like our managers, so they were funny little tid-bits that the managers also found amusing.
When discussing this book in class, a young woman in my class mentioned how when she would open a box of gloves at the deli that she worked at, there had to be a size written on it. So, instead of just writing “small” she would write a cute note like “Small: For BIG hands.”
While it’s not working on a novel, these things can feed that creative drive, and you’re having fun with your coworkers while you’re at it.
And for fun, here’s a note I left due to one of the books activities: