If you search Google for “ten things creative people do,” you’ll be flooded with pages upon pages of lists and articles that tell you exactly that. You’ll likely find lists including such gems as “they have creative jobs” and other bullet points along those lines. I get it. As writers, artists, musicians, and just all around creatives, people see us differently. We are creative, so we have to be a little weird. And, often, we embrace that stereotype.
But does being creative mean that we’re weird? Or that we hate working a normal office job or working in a trade? Why should it mean that? If you are even slightly creative it seems that you get pigeon holed into just being creative. I’ve actually had job interviews where they questioned why I wanted the job. They found out my degrees are in English and writing, and couldn’t imagine why I would want a job that wasn’t one of those.
I might be a writer, but that doesn’t mean that’s all that I am. And it’s certainly not all that I enjoy doing. In my current job, I handle many creative aspects. I’ve designed logos, product labels, and more. But I also help manage finances. I work on budgets, labor, profit and loss reports, and payroll. Should I hate that because I’m a creative? Of course not. In fact, I love it. I love the challenge of figuring out numbers and making them work. More than anything, creative or not, I love challenging, project based work.
Just because I have an MFA in creative writing, I shouldn’t enjoy anything else? Just because I’m a writer I should write all the time? According to whose definition? There’s only one definition that matters, and it’s mine. It’s taken me a long time to realize that, and it’s incredibly freeing. I have never understand why there is such a need for me to justify my degrees to other people. I love writing and learning. That’s why I earned my MFA. Not because of the amazing job prospects. Sure, that could be seen as irresponsible. But to whom? I don’t have to justify my choices to anyone. They didn’t pay for it. And I have a good job, good pay, and the support of my wife and friends.
You can make the same choice. Don’t let anyone else label you as a creative, or anything. There are no rules. There are no definitions. Except the ones that you create for yourself. Be a welder that loves painting, a writer that loves numbers, a musician that loves bartending. It doesn’t matter. Success is not a measure of what anything else thinks about you. Success is a measure of what you think about yourself.
Featured Image by thinkpublic under Creative Commons.