how to use your day job to fuel your creativity


Do you feel like you have too much on your plate? Do you tend to take on more than one project at a time?

Being pulled in multiple directions can actually feed your creative spirit.

how to use your day job to fuel your creativity by nancy ingersoll as featured on the Belong Magazine blog for the creative entrepreneur, working woman, female business owner, blogger and beyond.

I have multiple part-time jobs and that is how I get what I need to be my most creative self. Embracing the benefits of each and recognizing the components of each that lead to personal growth are paramount in my happiness.

I have some freelance clients, which give me the structure of recurring projects that I get to redesign each year. This works for me because I like to challenge myself to occasionally reinvent the look of my projects. The clients range from graphic design for non-profits to photography for small-batch artisans. The needs from each of these are pretty consistent - the artisans need photography of new products and for seasonal marketing, and the non-profits each have their annual events and set marketing needs. The problem with each of these is that much of it is seasonal, and I get swamped during certain months of the year. Therefore, instead of complaining, I simply embrace the busy season because it balances out with times when I am able to do other things (or nothing at all). I also embrace the redundancy of repeat events year after year because they allow me to challenge myself to think outside of the box and evaluate my past work so I can push myself to be different.

However, that is just one part of the three-part mixture that makes up my work.

The next component of my work-life involves a 28 minute train ride each way to a private college preparatory school where I teach two classes to high school students: Advanced Placement Studio Art for Photography and the Yearbook class. The AP Photo class allows me to bounce ideas back and forth with young artists as I coach them through the process of finding their artistic voice while they create a portfolio. A downside to that class is that I sometimes end up giving my ideas away to students who are stumped, but my reward is the creative banter that goes back and forth among us and we discuss ways to interpret a topic. The Yearbook class is frustrating and exciting all at the same time. Frustrating because each year starts from scratch, but exciting because each year starts from scratch. This is also a place where ideas bounce around the room.

I am a firm believer that creativity feeds creativity.

I thrive on the creative energy that my time at the school gives me, so I don’t mind the commute. I am able to endure the train ride with a smile because it is not everyday - the block schedule means that I only do that two or three times each week. But, I am also able to embrace the perks of sitting still for about a half hour each way because I can get caught up on social media, and it forces me to conquer the three-quarter mile walk each way between the train and the school. Self care is important, and I have learned to appreciate the walk to and from the train station so much, that sometimes I will even walk to a further station just to unwind.

That brings us to part three.

I also create what I want to create.

I produce artwork, from hand lettering to digital designs, that I get to dictate the direction of and people buy them. Total strangers have my artwork hanging in their homes and offices around the world. It is  frustrating when a design that I am particularly fond of does not sell - but I accept that as permission to enjoy it hanging in my home. But then, there are times when a design is really popular and reproductions sell over and over. Each of these sales fans my creative flame and inspires me to create even more. This creative fire of mine also spurs my curiosity, leading me to learn new creative outlets - most recently, how to create my own fonts.

Creating makes me happy.

We are all over committed and it causes a strain on one's well being, both mentally and physically, until you embrace the benefits of breadth. Attitude means everything, so look for the benefits from each of your commitments and celebrate them with a smile.

Let your gratitude fuel you through the other parts that might get you down.

Nancy Ingersoll calls herself a full-service creative resource because her range of abilities and services span across many creative platforms and she is involved with idea generation, content creation and production management. Nancy is a hand letterer, a photographer & a graphic designer. She believes that creativity is a muscle and the more you create, the more creative you become.
Instagram @thephotocottage | Website


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