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Taking Jobs You Love Vs. Jobs That Pay

“To labor in the arts for any reason other than love is prostitution.”
— Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

A friend and I were recently discussing artistic integrity. I had taken a job that paid well even though it didn’t feed me creatively at all. I wasn’t struggling with the decision — I had come to the conclusion that as long as a well-paying job is relatively easy and doesn’t take too much time away from passion projects, I’ll take on as many as I need to. His response was somewhat in agreement, though it made me think (as this person’s responses are apt to do). He said this:

Artistic integrity is a luxury granted to people who have the option of having it.

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We’re Not Nouns, We’re Verbs

Every once in a while I’ll stumble across an idea (in this case a quote) and just think, “bingo.”

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it. That is your punishment. But if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing — an actor, a writer — I am a person who does things — I write, I act — and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.
Stephen Fry

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“Creative” Is A Noun

In an old bio of mine you’ll find the following few lines:

I just like creating things… The result has been about 10 years of learning by doing, and developing a career that isn’t easy to summarize except to use the word “creative.” (At some point “creative” became a noun, which is good for me I guess.)

I was inspired to explore that last idea after I realized I had taken a point of view on this noun, and found myself trying to cleverly expand upon it. After all, this website is called Matt Williams Creative. While, in that context it’s used pretty ambiguously, what does it mean to be “a creative?”

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“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) shares her unique insight into creativity and inspiration in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Rich with personal stories and anecdotes, Gilbert encourages readers to live creatively, let go of fear, and respect the mystery of inspiration. The book is wonderfully geared towards those of us who live (or wish to live) creative lives, but is perfectly suited for anyone with any kind of creative passion.

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