Hey there, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life that you love. Now, if you’ve ever wondered if getting a day job means that you’re giving up on your dreams, this episode is a must watch. Today’s question comes from Natalie and she writes:
Dear Marie, I watch one of your videos almost every morning over breakfast. Here’s the deal. I’m 29 years old and living in Austin, Texas. I’ve always dreamed of being a full time author and illustrator. I’ve got the talent, patience, and determination for it. In fact, my first book was just published. I’m a firm believer that you bring about what you think about. I feel like I’ve been visualizing and goal setting until I’m blue in the face and I’m working my butt off trying to promote this book and I am broke. I don’t fancy being penniless, but I also don’t want to throw up my hands up and say, “Ok, universe. I give up, you see? I got a different job so clearly I do not believe you have my back and I do not believe I’ll be a success.” I’m creative through and through and want nothing more than to live from my writing and art, but the clock is ticking and I’m having to pull the purse strings so tight you could play them like a violin. Please let me know. Does getting a day job mean I’m giving up on my dream? Much love, Natalie.
Natalie, Natalie, Natalie. This is a fantastic question. I’m so happy that you asked it. I have a lot to say on this topic in this order. So first up, books are nothing but big business cards. Ok? Generally speaking and especially in the beginning. You need to know this, that most authors aren’t able to make a full time living off of their books for quite some time, if ever. So I want you to ask any writer if they were able to make a living off of their first book and they will probably fall off their chair laughing. Exhibit A is my friend and author Cheryl Strayed, who wrote the mega bestseller Wild. Now, she recently confessed that even after her book hit the big time and Oprah had her on her show, she was actually sitting there talking to Oprah, and she was nearly broke. I mean, how’s that for a reality check?
Number two, many talented artists support their work, not the other way around. So there are millions of writers and illustrators out there who are real artists that support themselves in other ways. I mean, some of them teach, some of them have day jobs or totally unrelated sources of income. Does that somehow make them not real artists? You know what I say? Hell no. In fact, my friend Liz Gilbert shares that she did not make a dime off of her writing for the first 10 years and then for the next 10 years after having published 3 books she still kept day jobs to make sure she had other streams of income to rely on. That is 20 years and she is one of the most dedicated creatives I have ever met. I also love the pact that she made with herself and her writing at age 15. She said I will never ask you to provide for me financially, I will always provide for you. Now, if you want to hear more about that, I would highly suggest that you watch our interview right here. It is amazing.
The third thing is the universe won’t help you if you do not help yourself. Look, I know you’re worried that the universe is somehow going to interpret you getting a day job as some sign that you don’t believe in yourself, your art, or your goal of earning a living from your writing, but what if it was actually the opposite? What if the universe was actually thinking this:
“Well, Natalie must not care that much about her art because she’s choosing this stressed out existence. It’s killing her creativity. I’m sending her signs to get a day job, but all she does is keep making these vision boards. I just can’t support someone who’s not going to at least support themselves. Natalie, Natalie.”
Seriously though, the universe is speaking to you right now and you want to know what it’s saying? It’s saying get a freaking job, woman, so you can stop stressing out and get back to joyful writing and illustrating. If this is the work that you must do, then you’ve gotta do it and do whatever else you need to do to support yourself. I mean, like you I also believe in a kind and supportive universe, but I also believe in busting my ass too. Look, I’ve gotta be real here, visualization and goal setting, all that stuff is great, but you have to marry it with real world practicality. I mean, in my own life I had a whole bunch of side jobs for almost 8 years and those side jobs, they were my saving grace when I was getting started. And in my opinion, creative dreams and day jobs, they go together like mac and cheese, like guac and chips, like cookie dough and rose.
Cookie dough and rose? I don’t know if I can support that. Cookie dough and a fine pinot noir, perhaps.
Now, to be clear, I am not suggesting that you drop the goal of making money from your art. I’m just suggesting that you drop the stress that comes from demanding that your art pays the bills. And anytime you’re unsure, remember this.
Getting a job never means that you’re giving up on your dream.
That was my A to your Q, Natalie. I really do hope it helps. And now I would love to hear from you. What is your take on day jobs and creative dreams? Do you now or have you ever funded your creative dreams with other sources of income? Any lessons from the field that you can share that would support Natalie? Leave a comment below and let us know.
As always, the best discussions happen after the episode at MarieForleo.com, so head on over and leave a comment now. Once you’re there, make sure to subscribe to our email list and become one of our MF insiders. You’re going to get this awesome audio training called How to Get Anything You Want, plus you’ll get some exclusive content and some special giveaways and personal updates from me that I do not share anywhere else.
Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV.
B-School is coming up. Want in? For more info and free training, go to JoinBSchool.com.
There’s nothing I can do.
I don’t know how to do that, but it’s figureoutable.
Are my shoulders dancing or what?
Ok, alright. We’re done.