A creative dilemma for creative people: does working in a creative field for your day job help or hinder your work?

My job – taking students to Traffic art gallery

Most creatives I know have day jobs. Often, those jobs have the potential to be very creative, but many don’t work in the same field as their creative outlet. I do. I make art as a personal outlet and I teach and facilitate others in the art making process. Most of the other art teachers I’ve worked with also identify themselves as artists. But I wonder, does our teaching art support our creativity or strain it?

I am constantly bombarded by students with ideas. At the same time I’m endlessly dishing out ideas to motivate students. One of my colleagues and I once joked about the authenticity of our students work; if we are constantly sharing our ideas with them, how much of their work do we deserve the rights to? All of this sharing seems to generate lots of ideas, but often when I get home I lose excitement in some that do come to mind or I’m simply too busy with basic needs (like dinner) to execute it. Would I have more ideas if I had more time?

Being around teenagers constantly challenges me to think outside the box and consider different perspectives. I have a feeling I would lose some of the “idea momentum” unless I replaced teaching with a setting that allowed peer review and brainstorm. I do think I would have more product just because I would have more time to create!

I had a colleague who would play with paint but never created finished works because she didn’t have focus in the classroom. She also told me she didn’t want to think about art when she got home. But, she was creating. I know of so many English teachers who tell me they want to write a book but it is always “someday” not that they are writing it now. I think all of their grading and reading gets in the way of their authorship.

How do you feel about creation and your day job?

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Does working in the same field as you create help or hinder your process? How?