Writers & Their Careers

This post is a part of an ongoing series entitled MIP {Man In Progress}. After my 25th Birthday I decided to improve three aspects of my life {my physical well-being, my writing career, and my romantic relationships}. My philosophy is that a writer’s work and his life are irrevocably intertwined and in order to improve one we inevitably have to improve the other.

The artist lives in three houses. The first house belongs to the infamous Struggling Artist.

In this house, you find yourself not getting any work done. If you are a writer, you don’t write. If you’re a painter you don’t paint. You’re miserable most of the time, but you’re so used to this misery that you don’t realize the misery comes from you not doing your passion. So, instead of doing the work, you complain about how bad other artists are. You are jealous of the successful careers of other artist’s and you say to yourself: “Well, I could write something way better than what this person or that person wrote! Why aren’t I successful like them?” You wallow in self-loathing because you are not writing that novel you feel you want to write, the one you have to write. You postpone your art, you ignore it, you procrastinate on it. You’re broke, you feel you have nowhere to go. You can’t go in the direction of your art because you are afraid of failure (or success) but you can’t go the other way either. A career in anything other than in your art form would suffocate you, would drain you, would certainly be the end of you. So you’re stuck.

The Struggling Artist House is where every artist begins. It’s where I began 9 months ago. Do not judge those who live in this house. There is a reason they are there, but no worry, they can get out. But first they must learn that there is a way out. Because right now these artists are convinced that if they live in The Struggling Artist House long enough, it will lead them to The Professional Artist House one day. But this is not the case. The Struggling Artist House won’t ever lead them in the direction of their dreams. The landlord has pulled a vicious trick on them.

Because in order to move into the Professional Artist House, a Struggling Artist must pack their bags, leave all that terrible self-loathing, and move into the second house of the artist, the one in between the other two. This house is called The Active Artist House. Here, the artist does the work. He paints, he sculpts, or he writes. He stops making excuses, stops procrastinating. The artist who lives in this house begins to spend a lot of time and energy breaking down all the barriers that have been blocking them, and it is in this house that the artist starts to Believe.

The Active House is scarier than The Struggling Artist House. Here there are more leaps of faith, more risks need to be taken, larger bets need to be made, bigger sacrifices need to be undertaken. Here an artist has to be completely OPEN and VULNERABLE. It isn’t comfortable and it’s not what he’s used to. He often feels rather volatile. The Active Artist makes bold moves and shuts out all the doubts that ring around him. He forges ahead, then he is thrown back, then he forges ahead again. He as made THE decision. This is it, he says. There is no going back. No changing plans. It’s my writing career or bust. He sets up a schedule, he cuts out all the wasted time, he starts to carve out his own, unique hole in society, with his own rules of how to live the life he wants to live. He’s got focus, he’s got his eye on the prize, and win or lose, it doesn’t matter. He’ll try and try and try. He knows failure. It hurts, but he survived. So:  he’ll lose and lose and lose. Then: he’ll get up again, and again and again.

This is the house an Artist must inhabit before he or she can move to the final house: The Professional Artist House.

I can’t explain what it’s like to be in that last house. I’m not there yet. But I am proud that today I have finally taken my last storage container out of The Struggling Artist House and am moving full-time into The Active Artist House. I am here to stay, and I am not going back.

I’ve started this blog and have been working on my novel, those are two big career moves, and now I commit myself to making one, new career move each day. It can be as small as writing a rough outline for a short story I will submit for a writing contest, or as big as getting myself a literary agent. It doesn’t matter how big or small these moves are, they just has to be a moves–in the right direction. Forward, not backward.

As far as my writing career goes, I’ve learned that if I take an action (even if its small) every day towards my career, I can never feel guilty or kick myself for not trying. So even if nothing comes of all my actions, I still am a lot happier because I am working towards my dream.

What ever it is, make it small, make it easy and make it now. Good luck to you, you fabulous, talented, beautiful, amazing artists (and non-artists)!

much love,

Ollin

What move will YOU make today to advance YOUR writing career?

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14 comments on “Writers & Their Careers

  1. Thank you for simplifying it so beautifully for us Ollin!

    I believe I am with ya, in the Active Artist House too! YAY! Did you notice me? *waves frantically from across the corridor* Now? *jumps up and down with more frantic waves* NOW?

    Great to have you🙂

    And hey, I searched for your name in the applicants list, but it didn’t return any results. Would you rather place a direct link to your page so that no one misses voting for you, Ollin?

    -BrownEyed

    • Ollin says:

      Thanks for pointing that out Brown Eyed! Now both the Nature Made links should take you to my voting page. Please note that it is under my given name, Daniel C. and NOT under Ollin. I did that so the people who knew me wouldn’t get confused, but now I realized I might be confusing my readers! lol. Oh well. Gotta try right?🙂

      Oh and yes I do see you! It’s always nice to have you as a roommate in the Active Writer House!🙂

      • Great, and I see a flashy button on the right hand side of the page too. Perhaps it was there and I missed it earlier, but I am off to their website to vote for you now🙂

        -BrownEyed

  2. Agatha82 says:

    Good luck Ollin (Daniel is a beautiful name) I just voted. Hope you win! The Active Artist house is indeed stressful, need to re-arrange the furniture in mine, in the hope it will be more creative😉

    • Ollin says:

      Thanks for voting! Yes, the active artist house is indeed more stressful, but there is no way i’m moving back into the “struggling artist” house. I’ve done my time, thank you very much.🙂

  3. wow..once again you examples are simple to relate to and inspiring. BTW I subscribe to the newsletter of http://www.excuseeditor.com/ and then send in tons of contests across the globe. Check it out…

  4. […] blog, please recommend it to your friends and family. {“What are you talking about?” Click here to read the post where I talked about the competition. Then […]

  5. […]  Remember: you can vote for me every day until Nov. 10. {“What are you talking about?” Click here to read the post where I talked about the Nature Made competition. Then […]

  6. […] votes! Remember: you can vote for me every day until Nov. 10. {“What are you talking about?” Click here to read the post where I discussed the Nature Made competition. Then vote.} Filed under […]

  7. Devon Begg says:

    Very interesting analogy. I can definately relate to the Struggling Artist, since I was one until about 4 months ago. I think I am now somewhere between that house and the Active Artist house. I’m not yet ready to go after writing as a career, and I have no end goal in mind. I write and I create simply because I must do it. I must do it or else I am not me.

    I just voted for you. I feel that I can relate to much of what you are writing here, and it’s a great mood-booster.🙂

    • Ollin says:

      Well glad to hear you are on your way, soon you’ll be in the active artist house, I’m sure of it. Once you start doing the work, it’s not far off from where you start to believe in yourself and you start to seriously make it into your career. Good luck to you, and I am happy you found me too! Thanks for the vote!🙂

  8. […] are you talking about?” Click here to read the post where I discussed the Nature Made competition. Then vote.} Filed under […]

  9. […] networking sites does wonders for your focus and creativity. But then, after my 25th Birthday, I made a commitment to do more for my writing career, and that’s when I realized that I was also wrong: eliminating a couple of social networking […]

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