For me, the artistic dream is a balance of finding a gig that can support you while giving you the maximum time you need to pursue your art. Life is too short to work at making other’s dreams come true, but having money is still a necessity.
It sounds like your dad did his best with his hair styling gig. On the right track, but it didn’t pay off in a big way. Still, it got him close, letting him enter the world of directing, even if only on occasion.
The gig I’ve found to support me while I write is a hotel desk job. I’m there right now, writing this. It has all the aspects of an artist’s ideal gig: 1) It pays my bills. 2) There’s downtime to work on art while on the job. 3) It gives me multiple days off during the week (normally five days off in a row) to pursue my passion. 4) This gig is located in an affordable city; New York, L.A., San Francisco have great writing scenes, but this country's economy isn’t kind to artists, and with the online world being how we make connections in the writing world, expensive cities are an option, not a necessity.
Have I reaped any rewards for quitting my higher-paying telecommunications job for this artist-friendly job? Yes.
A publisher picked up my first book, released in 2016. I wrote a short story collection last year (currently being editing), and I’m about five chapters away from completing the zero draft of my next novel. I’ve also had numerous stories and other creative writing appear in print and online since quitting my job.
Like your father, I don’t want to go back to the workaday world. Four or five days to pursue my art is exactly how I want my life structure. And it’s a structure that supports the chances of my artistic success. There are sacrifices, but they’re worth it to live my dream. And the dream isn’t all about having a book, but having the time to create. That’s where my happiness lies — in a lifestyle, yes, but not one of creature comforts, rather one of creativity, one of time actively creating. While finding that balance won’t necessarily be as easy as applying for a desk job at a local hotel for most, it is worth the effort to find it.
And, Lina, I think you may have found the right gig for you. Or maybe I’m wrong, and you aren’t happy with how little you create. In that case, it could be that you haven’t found the right gig (the right balance) just yet.