There’s a common misconception, I’ve found, that if you are a true artist then you must live and breathe and s**t out nothing but your art. Every single second of your day must be filled with thoughts around character choices, that audition next week, and sat by your phone waiting for your agent to call.
Having a life outside of acting, directing, writing, whatever your thing is, will only aid your work.
The broader your outlook on life, the more perspectives you can portray throughout your work, and that’s what our job is, as creatives, to share stories from all walks of life, and share them from a place of truth.
I’m here to tell you now, that the best thing you can do is hustle not only in your artistic career, but in every part of your life.
All I’ve ever done is…
Find out what other things make you tick or, like Marie Kondo says, ‘sparks joy’ in you. Join your friend for that roller-skating disco or go to a vegan food-tasting session or gardening for beginners. Try things. Anything!
What would you do as a kid? If you weren’t doing what you are doing as a creative career, what would you be doing, professionally? Initially, your inner voice might say: “Nothing! All I can do is act.” Or sing, or make costumes, whatever your field is, however, I ask you to dig deeper. Push yourself to imagine a life where you cannot do what you are doing or want to do anymore. How would you stay sane and happy in a life without your artistic passion?
There could be one thing, there could be thirty things, but once you’ve figured it out, see how you can pepper little bits of that new hobby throughout your day-to-day activities. Better yet, and this is could be a way off yet, figure out how you can make money through your new hobby. But that’s a whole other article…
By adding small doses of something else that serves your soul, you will create positive repercussions in all areas of your life. The happier you are, in all areas of your life, the more good will chase you.
Now, we’re under no illusions that we have lots of spare time to dedicate to this new hobby. Regardless of whether your rent is paid for by the bank of mum and dad or if you are juggling 4 jobs trying to pay for food, travel expenses, and the rent (which you’re probably behind on), you can make time for what you truly desire. Who doesn’t want more of what they truly desire? By having more of a life outside of work, even if you love your job, more of anything that makes you happy, can only be a good thing, right? I think we can agree on that.
Be sure to set some time aside, everyday, to just tap into your new, extra, random thing. Whether it’s watching a two-minute tutorial on how to prune a bonsai tree, make some extra time for it. Start igniting another little fire in your belly for something else.
I often hear: “I don’t have enough time” from all sorts of people, creatives and academics alike. A great mentor from my business once said, something along the lines of this: “Where were you when you met the love of your life? I bet when they asked if you were free Saturday for a date, I’m pretty sure you suddenly had all the time in the world”
Time is precious so manage it well. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. How will you spend yours?
This is a really important section. The type of relationships we are involved in, have a massive impact on how we behave and the choices we make. So surround yourself with radiators. People-shaped radiators who give you warmth and comfort when you are cold and feel lonely. Of course, we have amazing friends from drama school or uni, who we trained with and love. Yet, try and meet some people outside of the creative bubble you may have found yourself in.
Throw someone a compliment on the tube. Go on. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people will miss the throw but others will catch it. Strike up a conversation and then ask them on a mate-date. Go for a coffee and get to know someone who has no idea about your artist career. Talk to them from a place of honesty. Most people who don’t care about theatre-land, won’t swoon when you say you’ve worked at the NT, they’ll see you for who you are. In a world of constantly trying to feed egos, that is rather humbling.
So when (when, not if) you find yourself in one of the dark-periods when you can’t seem to get any audition that comes through for you, having a life outside of all the La La Land nonsense will save you. Other hobbies and friendships outside of your creative profession, will ground you and give you a sense of fulfilment that your artistic career currently is not. Then, when your artistic career picks up, which it will if you persevere and stay positive and happy (by having a life outside of it all) you will be a better person. Trust me.
If we are to take the good reviews, we need to take the bad reviews too – life is filled with personal and professional highs and lows, regardless of your area of expertise. The more equipped we are to be able to deal with those, the happier we will be. And we all like being around happy people, right?