I always thought that if you’ve got the talent, creativity should provide. Well, apparently not! And this quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic Monday post dovetails very neatly with the realization I’ve come to recently – you DO NOT need to quit your day job to pursue your passions! When you do that, you’re forcing your passion to provide for you, and then you run the risk of making your passion your day job – with all the associated frustrations of a day job!
If, on the other hand, you pursue your passions on the side, when you have the time and the crazy drive, and when (and if) it turns into this huge-ass success, by all means, quit your day job. Because once you’ve achieved crazy-ass fame, or even a steady income stream, chances are that you will be called on to be involved with your passion in multiple ways. Then your passion will also be driven from the outside – through demand for your time, your thoughts, your opinions…
Your fan base, your influencers, your cheerleaders will want more of you…they are likely to give you at least a couple of chances…because they “know” you, love your product, flock to your name…and then even if your passion wanes a bit, the “fame momentum” will be enough to carry you along for a while.
Case in point – J.K. Rowling. Her first “adult” novel Casual Vacancy, published after the Harry Potter series, was panned by almost everyone who read it, but that didn’t stop her mystery novels (published later) from becoming super hits. When she was outed as Robert Galbraith , sales of The Cuckoo’s Calling skyrocketed even though it hadn’t done all that well previously, and even though it wasn’t all that marvelous a novel. And before her “overnight success”? Well, she worked as a research assistant at Amensty International, taught English as a foreign language in Portugal, and even lived on state benefits while pursuing a teacher’s training course. And during all this time, she wrote. In the pockets of time between work, in the spaces between falling in love and raising a child. She wrote. She collected rejection slips aplenty, and still, she wrote. And I believe that even if Harry Potter had never seen light of day (which would have been a crying shame!), she would still be at a cafe, somewhere in England, writing her heart out. Because that is just what she does. She writes.
Which is basically the point that I am trying to make. Your passion is something that you will do no matter what. I believe that it should be something that you nurture, that you support, something that continues to bring you joy day in and day out. And if you become an “overnight success”, sure, quit your day job!
But this whole “leap and the net will appear” thing – well, it can also lead to a hard landing, ya know! So instead of then getting disillusioned with your passion, why not just pursue it when you can? Take a sabbatical, switch to a part time job. But don’t quit your job until you know you’ve arrived!
Where do you stand on the passion vs. job debate? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!