Dealing with reality

On his blog, Wil Wheaton often discusses the difficulty of juggling his creative work as a writer and actor with the reality of life — making a living and taking care of his family. Today he wrote:

“I have all these zombie creations all over the place that have been started and abandoned, not because I don’t want to bring them fully to life, but because Real Life seems be getting in the way of my creative passion right now.”

I know the feeling — and I’m glad to know I’m not alone in feeling it. Just yesterday I was kicking myself, thinking about the difference between what I hope to accomplish creatively and what I’m able to accomplish. No matter how much I work, my dreams and ideas always seem to outweigh what I’m actually able to do. Even though I have all of these creative ideas, the reality of my life only allows me so much time. Unlike some, I can’t just take off on a creative sabbatical, or hole up in my studio for days and create — my little boy will always come and knock on the door and remind me of Reality. I feel like a gardener with a bag of seed and an empty field, but who finds he only has enough time to tend one small window box of flowers. Even when that window box is blooming and growing well, some days it’s hard to forget about the garden that didn’t get planted. Those are the times I have to remind myself that this is a choice I made. I never wanted to be an artist like Tolkein’s character Niggle, who ignores everything around him for his painting. No, my goal has always been to make a living as an artist, to support both my creativity and my growing family at the same time. It’s a tougher path, creatively, but I think (I hope) more rewarding in the end. I don’t have the freedom to indulge in every creative whim. But the reward of this is that I am able to do something most people never do — actually make a living from my creativity. The tradeoff is worth it.

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1 Comment

  1. I think we are always going to be limited by something. I have given up everything and spent almost all I have to follow my heart…which led me to making art. I worry/think about money and jobs often but so far have still been able to live off my savings. I have to say, even having all day every day to make art leaves me wanting more this and that. More equipment, MORE TIME, more space…odd I know but its how I feel.
    I tried working a few jobs just to keep money flowing and it drained me physically and mentally. Not sure if age plays a part of it or just a spirit unwilling to flounder any longer. What you say makes sense and sounds like a healthy balance. The joy of your family has got to seep into your life or you will do no good for anyone. I commend you for being a ‘healthy’ artist.
    Here’s to making a living as an artist and not sacrificing our lives!

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