If you take creativity remotely seriously you need to know that cartoonist Hugh MacLeod has a book coming out. You probably know already. Either way, you’ll want to download the sample chapters from the book.
And if you haven’t read it before, pour yourself a large coffee/whiskey/absinthe and treat yourself to Hugh’s original article How to Be Creative, which spawned the book. It will probably be the best thing you read this week.
One of the sample chapters in the free download is devoted to Hugh’s ‘Sex and Cash’ theory:
THE SEX & CASH THEORY
The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task at hand covers both bases, but not often. This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.
A good example is Phil, a New York photographer friend of mine. He does really wild stuff for the small, hipster magazines—it pays virtually nothing, but it allows him to build his portfolio. Then he’ll leverage that to go off and shoot some retail catalogues for a while. Nothing too exciting, but it pays the bills.
One year John Travolta will be in an ultrahip flick like Pulp Fiction (“Sex”), another he’ll be in some forgettable, big- budget thriller like Broken Arrow (“Cash”).
I’m thinking about the young writer who has to wait tables to pay the bills, in spite of her writing appearing in all the cool and hip magazines . . . who dreams of one day not having her life divided so harshly.
Well, over time the “harshly” bit might go away, but not the “divided.”
This tense duality will always play center stage. It will never be transcended.
And nobody is immune. Not the struggling waiter, nor the movie star.
What Do You Think of Hugh’s ‘Sex and Cash’ Theory?
Do you recognise the tension between sexy creative work and work that pays the bills?
Do you agree that this tension ‘will never be transcended’ however successful you are?
How do you resolve this tension?
About the Author: Mark McGuinness is a Coach for Artists, Creatives and Entrepreneurs. For a free 25-week guide to success as a creative professional, sign up for Mark’s course The Creative Pathfinder.