The Project Driven Artistic Life

Aaron Shumaker via Compfight

I can remember where I was when I realized I was a project-driven artist.

My wife and I were having dinner at a local pub-estaurant we love and I was talking about how my day job as a corporate sales trainer was good, but not artistically fulfilling. Sure, I was thankful for the job, the pay and the people I worked with and the trainees I’d helped, but a part of me was needed a little nurturing.

That part wasn’t being fed or watered. I felt it inside me grasping for breath.

My wife mentioned that she thought we were ‘project people’. That is, we like to birth an idea, cultivate it until it can stand on its own and then release it and move onto the next project. Sales training was the opposite of that concept and though I enjoyed several parts of the job, I wanted more.

I wanted to contribute more. I wanted to see the process through. And I wanted it for myself.

That last part…the ‘for myself’ was probably the most difficult to come to peace with for me.

“Why do I need to do something for me? Why am I so individualistic? Am I being selfish?” I thought.

But it’s not selfish to realize who you are, how you’re wired and then take the necessary action to make who you are and what you do align. 

And that’s when it started to happen…

  • I wrote my first ebook to give other creatives a roadmap to a more creative life.
  • I started connecting with other creative people and have made some great friends for life.
  • My wife and I began A Couple Comments, our couple’s blog filled with 99% ridiculousness, 1% helpfulness.
  • Bitten by the writing bug, I started writing another book with Dave and Todd. Can’t wait to share more of that with you.

I’m energized with these projects, and sure, they don’t completely pay the bills, but they are food, water and shelter to the project driven artistic life I wish to lead.

Instead of being a sales trainer, I’m now a Public Relations Manager for the same company. In this job I do nothing but projects. All projects! Additionally I get to do a ton of writing: press releases, newsletters, copywriting for advertisements, scripts for commercials! I’m so grateful.

But it all started with realizing I was a project driven artist with a need to write, to create, to collaborate and then to share those creations.

I don’t know what the next step is but I do know this: I just had an idea for a blog post, wrote it and now and releasing it to you…and that makes me so very happy.

How about you? How is your artist life lining up with what you do everyday? Let us know in the comments.



Author: Andrew Zahn

I'm a son, husband, dad, business owner, actor and good sleeper/eater. On this blog, I pave a highway for creative growth by providing food, water, and shelter for those wishing to live, work, and play with creative zest.

  • I like your take on things. The post I recently wrote talks about the dilution of art and I feel what you have here borders that. We too often have to settle for the lesser parts of who we are in order to make ends meet and that’s becoming more of a problem these days it seems.

    Your style for your blog and writing is very unique and proves your love for the art you create. I certainly appreciate that and wish you the best moving forward. I understand the paying the bills part though, it can be difficult but I believe we’ll be well rewarded at some point if even just because we don’t hate our lives and jobs 😀

    • Very kind of you Jared! Thank you for the compliments. I love that we can work out these things together and connect with like-minded folk…helps us as creatives to not be so isolated!

      I must say, I do envy your design skills! I love your work. You’re on my list to hire as I’d like to give this blog a sleeker look soon!

      • Happy to help where I can. 😀 Just let me know!

  • I, too, have gained much peace by realizing what I can do and what I can’t do (for long without starving my creativity) as a Creative. It’s is both freeing and comforting to know how to focus on what I do best. For me, that is Story. I can create a Universe in moments, birth entire 3D characters and thread a detailed true to that universe tale within a short hour…. Now, to making THAT pay the bills… Thank God for Faith in action.

    • It’s great that you’re making it happen! So many creatives are merely discontented dreamers. Dreaming is so good, so needed. But that action part you mentioned is where the great reward lies–in sharing what we’re inspired to create!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here 😉

  • It’s kind of funny. After writing my blog for a few years and “pursuing my dream”, I’ve realized that I’m not sure what that is anymore. The stranger thing is that I’m more at peace about that than I have been at any other time in the last couple of years. I’m not sure what that means.

    • Maybe you’re living your dream! Perhaps?

  • Rhonda

    Definitely connect with you on being project driven! Finished a production of “The Ugly Duckling” with high schoolers and jumped right into the next project of a Bible play with College students and now getting ready to help my Church with Easter Dramas and help a local radio station with some blurbs. This creative thrives on variety as well as projects! Nice post Drew!

    • Thanks Rhonda!

      Man, you’ve got a lot going on…but it is energizing! Thanks for dropping by the blog!

  • Understanding how we are wired is one of the first keys to walking into the call God has placed on our lives. I remember when I learned that I am an achiever, and that even on my down days, I need to feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if it’s small, to feel like my day wasn’t wasted. Because of that, I try to accomplish one thing each and every day, even if it’s something as simple as doing the dishes. It pushes me to feel satisfied and more energized to accomplish the bigger tasks.

  • jeremysecrest

    I read it thinking – “that’s me totally”. Good stuff.

    • We’re not alone…and we’re not crazy. Two good things to realize 😉