Cultivating a Career • From Disability to Self-Sustainability

I start my new job on Monday.

It’s not really new, per say, but I will begin treating it like a j-o-b come Monday.

…’Come Monday’- name that artist!

See, I have a bit of a focus issue. Most of us do. Blame medical diagnoses, blame recent conditioning, blame Cannabis use, blame my prescription medications, and then

Because no matter how many things I want to give credit to for keeping me from living my potential, it’s my fault.

And it’s your fault, too, at some point… But we’ll get there soon.

I have my obstacles. I have chronic pain, depression, haven’t always had stable living/studio conditions, am usually broke and afraid of running out of paint (they have yet to give such a phobia a name), and sometimes just can’t decide upon which vision to paint…


When you’re looking at a from-home job, you’re also looking at housework, errands, and basic tasks quite literally and constantly. At any moment you may choose to turn your attention to that list of phone calls that need to be made or clean the refrigerator.

However, when you’re looking at a from-home job, looking OVER those everyday tasks is EXACTLY what you have to do!

… And you don’t need to feel guilty for it.

Take the time you need to ensure your home and surrounding life run smoothly, but take the time to assess how much time that truly requires, and how you normally spend your time already first.

Time Management must be a priority when our work and home lives blend.

So THAT is my task for the weekend. I’ll be mapping out my ideal weekly schedule.

For the first time since I started teaching myself to paint in 2010, I will be committing to painting in a 9-5 fashion. Who am I kidding though, I won’t quite be stroking the canvas 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

To begin, it’ll be something lesser than that ultimate goal, but the point is to dedicate several undistracted hours per day, 5 days a week to cultivating a career, so to speak.

Cultivating a career is precisely what I need to do. I’ve been beaten down, to use victim vernacular, by the battle against Rheumatoid Arthritis, but a victim I am not. I am highly intelligent, with a ton of leapable mental, emotional, and physical gaps. I have everything I need in painting supplies and Internet resources to aid me, like the link to time management highlighted above.

Creativity and natural talent are not in short supply in me, but neither are fear or doubt. To become great at anything, we must be willing to fail. We must be willing to disappoint ourselves, our peers, and to try again. Every wall that beckons us to pause or turn back is an opportunity to bust through to new abilities. Seriously, how many times did we fall on our faces learning to walk? Look at us now. Even those of us with physical disabilities know how this is… Perhaps especially know how this is.

In today’s world, we can easily become distracted by the idea that we have to shine. We need to be glittery, colorful, a cut above the crowd. What pretention drives this pattern in humanity? What damage is done when we won’t take the time, put in the painstaking years, have the patience and presence of mind to BUILD a life of sustainable success?

How often do we forgo steps 1, 2, and 3 with the ultimately delusional thought that we will or even should be rewarded for putting in the work for making it all the way to step 100.

That’s right. I said step 100. If that makes you feel intimidated, it’s time to wake up.

I won’t ever claim to be (in a flowery voice) “fully awakened” but I do love the feeling when my mind opens a new door to something that I once could not see. I love the sensation after something clicks inside and what was once impossible becomes manageable.

That’s where I am right now.
That’s where I hope you find yourself, too.

Come Monday, we can both be on our way to a career we love.

Don’t doubt yourself, train yourself.


“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

-Chuck Close

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