Uplifting Conversations

Creative Careers Interviews

Creative Careers in the Arts Interviews: Series Introduction

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers | Updated July 8, 2019

Creating a fun and rewarding career in the arts is not as easy as it sounds. Although I have seen many of my creative dreams fulfilled, I also deal with rejection letters, technical difficulties, and overdue bills. Like many "emerging artists," I still need a day job to make ends meet.

I have a great passion for creating true and beautiful work, and hope that one day I will be able to devote all of my time and energy to my creative dreams. It is that passion that keeps me going, and helps me survive the daily grind. That same passion keeps me from being destroyed by rejection letters, no matter how rude.

I do this because I am mad for it, and because I'd go mad without it. My dream is to one day support myself with pen and paintbrush — to make the leap from my day job to my dream job. Through this inspiring series I hope to learn how to make that leap, and to help my fellow "starving artists" make the leap with me.

I wanted to begin the series with some reflections on my own experiences — the struggles and successes, the dizzying highs and the sickening lows… and the reasons I keep riding that roller-coaster, day after day.

As a young girl, I found my first escape from reality between the covers of my favorite books. Later, I found the same escape through my own creations. Enchanted by my own fantastical worlds, I began to believe there is something magical and healing inherent in the act of creative expression. I seek to show you my scars, and to transform those wounds into something beautiful.

Are there people who reject and fail to understand my work? Of course. Does it hurt? Every time. Does it stop me from returning to the studio? Absolutely not. In fact, I use this to spur me on to new heights of creativity.

As Joan of Arc once said, "I am not afraid. I was born to do this." I will not allow a mere rejection letter to bring me to my knees. I will not surrender, I'll wave no white flags and wail. I will fight, I will continue to work, and I will prevail in the end. My work speaks for itself. Those who denigrate me fail to understand my vision, my passion. Those who have not sight cannot be blamed for their blindness. Despite all obstacles, I will continue to write, to speak my truth, to create art, and inspire others. I will do it because it is my first love, and because I have no choice — I am made that way; I must write, I must create, or go mad! I write because I have to — all the words won't stay contained inside of me. I can hold onto a pen, and it will take me anywhere I want to go.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the sassy, saucy and inspiring spirits of many Muses all my life. Do they always say what's expected of them, and pretend to be polite and ladylike? No. I'm happy to say they are just as inept at that as I am. When I was younger, I was constantly told, "Watch your mouth!" and "Wipe that smile off your face!" by parents and teachers who despaired of my good conduct. My pen and brush are just as unruly and wild, and I take great pleasure in shocking and delighting myself frequently.

Unfettered? Most definitely. It must be so. I know of no other way to express myself honestly. I have learned to separate the creative spirit within from the cold, logical Editor — they each have their place in my work, no doubt, but the Editor has a much smaller office!

I try to write honestly from my own experience. Life itself is often my Muse, and the truth ain't always pretty. But what other tale can I tell? I find that the page and canvas are my closest confidantes. How can I be so heartbreakingly honest in life, so raw, so close to the bone? Even my best friend does not know all my secrets, yet I strip myself bare in the pages of my journals. The ugliest, most difficult and most painful entries are the most interesting to read later; far from being nice, true, but alive and wonderful all the same! Write the world around you with a pure heart, no matter what the consequences.

The most important thing for every artist and writer to remember is this: do work which delights you. If you're working only to delight others, you will shrivel up inside. Working honestly, working from the heart, is essential — that's what keeps you coming back to the page, the pen, the paintbrush. If you work hard, and write honestly, it will bring you rubies and pearls — here, or in the sweet hereafter.

©2006 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Next: Interview with Sonia Wijts, Art Director for the Center for Adaptive Learning

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