Rick Jarow’s book, “Creating the Work You Love,” is all about turning what’s already inside you into a career rather than try to change yourself to fit a preexisting career.
The gist of Jarow’s philosophy is that the happiest life is one you create rather than one you choose.
We’re often told as kids that we have to “pick” a career, as if there’s a limited number. But guess what? Once upon a time, there were no computer programmer jobs; someone had to decide to invent the computer first, before that job could exist. The same goes for architects; we had to decide to build skyscrapers before we could need a skyscraper designer.
Basically, everything around us was once a dream some person manifested. So, what Jarow suggests – that you can create the work you love – isn’t so far-fetched! In fact, it’s the only way humanity has ever evolved.
As artists, it’s really hard to carve a niche for yourself in life.
Computer programmers and architects have a more immediate demand in this capital-driven world. There aren’t exactly “jobs” for artists in the classified; no one has pressing need of a painter the way they might a plumber. You might find a gig here or a gig there, but no real “career.” That’s where Jarow’s bigger picture comes in.
Jarow says: “Your life is a work of art, a craft to be carefully mastered. For patience has replaced time, and you are your own destination.”
The way to create the work you love as an artist is to do what you can to pay the bills in other ways while giving yourself the time and freedom to do whatever makes you happiest as an artist on the side.
Forcing yourself to create for pay only hampers your creativity; you have to create for yourself first. Then, once you’ve built your portfolio, it’s time to find ways to get your art into the world.
And guess what? While people like to say that artists can’t make a living, the money says otherwise! There are plenty of people out there living off the work they’ve created! For centuries, humans have created and celebrated art. That is true of every culture.
The people who scoff at the life of an artist? Those are the people who have trapped themselves in the notion that careers can only be chosen, not created.
So ask yourself: what is my ideal self? What is your home, family, work like? Now, what steps can you take to get there? Time is not a factor. You have all the time in the world, because you are your own destination!
Just as there are physical limitations when drawing – like the edge of the canvas, the sharpness of your pencil, or the complexity of your subject – there are limitations to creating work you love.
But, Jarow’s message is simply: try. Thinking “I can’t” is the biggest limitation of all, so jump that hurdle and simply say, “I can.”
"I can be an artist if that's the work I create."
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