Book Recommendations for Creative People

So part of the reason I started my 99-word book review blog (besides giving me incentive to read more) was to share all the cool books that are out there and help people find new stuff to check out.  To summarize Aziz Ansari, the internet’s given us a ZILLION options for things to read, watch, listen to, visit, eat, and do, which can be overwhelming when you’re not sure where to start.

But if you’re reading this blog, odds are that you’ve got a creative mindset and you’re interested in trying to balance that with the rest of your responsibilities.  Here’s three books I’ve read over the past few years that you might find helpful for deciding what kind of creative life you want—they were definitely instrumental for me.
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Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: An Interview with Poet James Crews

I met James Crews at the University of Nebraska where he worked as a mentor for my first-year teaching class while finishing his poetry PhD.  We kept in touch, and when we both found ourselves in the northeast I drove out to southern Vermont to the farmhouse he shares with his partner in Shaftsbury (which, coincidentally, is just up the road from Bennington College, where I did my undergrad). Continue reading »

Is Your Workplace Socially Toxic?

I’m an introvert, which means I gain energy from being alone and I exert energy whenever I’m around people, especially large groups.  This doesn’t mean that I hate being around people—in fact, a lot of people who know me will tell you that I’m at my most boisterous when I’m at parties or giving speeches.

This relates to work (specifically Day Job work) in that Continue reading »

Unpaid Overtime is Not Cool (and What You Can Do About It)

There’s a lot of things I hate (rude people, traffic jams, being called “buddy” in conversation), but not getting paid for the work I’ve done takes the top slot.  This isn’t because I’ve been stiffed on a paycheck, but because I’ve had jobs where I had to face off against my arch nemesis unpaid overtime.

Check out this graph from the Economic Policy Institute showing Continue reading »

Working for Your Passion vs. Working for Your Weekends: The Pros and Cons

As far as I can figure, there are two ways to think about the work-life balance:

In the first model, people spend most of their working time (or at least as much time as possible) doing work that’s meaningful to them.  That work can be creating something powerful or unique, doing something to better the community or the world, or simply providing a service that makes people happy.  In return, Continue reading »

Paul Hanson Clark Interview Part II: Cookies, Capitalist Voodoo, and the Work-Art Balance

This is Part 2 of my interview with poet, artist, and part-time cookiemaker Paul Hanson Clark, so you can check out Part 1 here.

 

But I Also Have a Day Job: So to make your life work and still do your art, you have to go to your web editing job during the day and make the doughs in the afternoon. Continue reading »

How Japanese Honne and Tatemae Separate Work and Home Life, and Why You Should Too

I taught English lessons at a for-profit Japanese eikaiwa (conversation school) in Yamanashi Prefecture from 2009 to 2011, and one of the things that most struck me about the Japanese work environment was how easily the Japanese separate their work lives from their home lives.  There’s a lot of cultural factors at work here, but the one people explained to me most often was the idea of honne and tatemae: Continue reading »

Day Job Basics #5: The Real Reason to Have a Day Job

So in Parts 1 through 4 I went through what makes a Day Job different from a Real Job, the philosophies involved with working that Day Job, and how to find which Day Job best fits your current goals.  I talked about money, time, and handling your energy, but there’s one really, really important thing left.

Working a Day Job serves absolutely no purpose if you’re not also working toward your creative goals. Continue reading »