Back in college, I worked in retail during the night before heading to bed and getting up the next morning for class. There were moments when I didn’t have time between classes and working to conjure up a document let alone a thesis statement. How am I going to do this ran through my mind more often than any other worry I carried in my twenties. Everybody has twenty-four hours is a statement I had heard quite often up until that point. My primary objective was to figure how to utilize mine in a way that would accommodate my work overload concerning my degree. Plus, I am a writer in general, so having paper handy was always a necessity, but how was I going to piece together a poem if I’m assisting customers find the furniture section or locate a certain CD. That’s when I started working…at work.
Using every opportunity I had, whether going to the bathroom, heading to the stock room to pull an item, or sitting down for a fifteen minute break, I made time to create. It was like being placed in a box and told to build a house from the inside out. This challenge pushed me to write more and think of several innovative ways of expression. Many artists are pursuing their creativity full time and don’t see this as a hinderance, yet there are others, like myself, who create secondary to primary financial responsibilities. One is of no less value in comparison to the other. You get in where you fit in, as they say. It was during those walks that I started to link sentences and stanzas together to create finished projects. During my senior year in undergrad, I had quite a few papers due simultaneously (greatly due to being an English major). I can’t imagine how poorly I would have done had it not been for those spurts of innovation in the cracks of adhering to my employment duties. Fortunately, all my work can be placed in a notepad application on my phone. This may not be the case for those who dance, paint, pursue photography, and many other creative avenues.
So, how do you work at work? Well, you just…do. The real question is how bad do you want it? Are you willing to sacrifice personal time at noon to create plans for your craft later? Again, it’s all about how much time you want to dedicate towards that which you want to pursue. Marathon runners don’t gain millage overnight. Basketball players don’t master the jump shot in one weekend. They work at it consistently. You should do the same. If you work nine to five, you have sixteen hours left. You maybe a parent (a single one at that), a spouse who’s highly depended on, or you may work several jobs. That is understandable, but if you love your craft so much, why not give it as much dedication as everything else? Take care of your craft so that your craft can take care of you. You need it. We need it.
- Calvin Pennywell, Jr.