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How to Be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, Or Your Creative Compass: A Practical Guide

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Whether you're a new graduate, considering a job change, or a creative type who isn’t finding time to pursue your passions, don’t fall for this line: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” The world is full of starving artists, but you don’t need to starve financially to thrive artistically. Author JoAnneh Nagler wants you to welcome your creativity and continue to Whether you're a new graduate, considering a job change, or a creative type who isn’t finding time to pursue your passions, don’t fall for this line: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” The world is full of starving artists, but you don’t need to starve financially to thrive artistically. Author JoAnneh Nagler wants you to welcome your creativity and continue to make art—but to do so with a plan. In this groundbreaking book, she provides step-by-step strategies to teach writers, sculptors, painters, musicians, designers, and other artists how tohave a well-supported, well-lived life—and make art at the same time. Learn how to: Answer your own artistic callings and get to your art work Give up starving and struggling and build a supported, creative daily life Manage time, money, and day jobs with easy-to-learn, simple tools Develop rock-solid creative work ethics and motivational skills No matter what kind of creative person you are, this book has the tools you need to live the life you’ve always wanted to live—right now, and for your whole life long.


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Whether you're a new graduate, considering a job change, or a creative type who isn’t finding time to pursue your passions, don’t fall for this line: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” The world is full of starving artists, but you don’t need to starve financially to thrive artistically. Author JoAnneh Nagler wants you to welcome your creativity and continue to Whether you're a new graduate, considering a job change, or a creative type who isn’t finding time to pursue your passions, don’t fall for this line: “Do what you love and the money will follow.” The world is full of starving artists, but you don’t need to starve financially to thrive artistically. Author JoAnneh Nagler wants you to welcome your creativity and continue to make art—but to do so with a plan. In this groundbreaking book, she provides step-by-step strategies to teach writers, sculptors, painters, musicians, designers, and other artists how tohave a well-supported, well-lived life—and make art at the same time. Learn how to: Answer your own artistic callings and get to your art work Give up starving and struggling and build a supported, creative daily life Manage time, money, and day jobs with easy-to-learn, simple tools Develop rock-solid creative work ethics and motivational skills No matter what kind of creative person you are, this book has the tools you need to live the life you’ve always wanted to live—right now, and for your whole life long.

30 review for How to Be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, Or Your Creative Compass: A Practical Guide

  1. 4 out of 5

    Urvashi

    Possibly a great find for those who really need the push but a lot of what's mentioned in the book can be learned very quickly from practical experience. It's too basic for anyone that's self motivated. The writing is also too religious and too wordy for my personal taste. Things that could have been said in bullet points or paragraphs are turned into chapters. Overall a potentially helpful book but just not my style. Possibly a great find for those who really need the push but a lot of what's mentioned in the book can be learned very quickly from practical experience. It's too basic for anyone that's self motivated. The writing is also too religious and too wordy for my personal taste. Things that could have been said in bullet points or paragraphs are turned into chapters. Overall a potentially helpful book but just not my style.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    My roommate bought me this. It was really helpful. I am looking for a job right now and made me think is starting small, getting a day job I can stand, budgeting, and showing up and allotting specific times and hours for my art, whether in my studio or at home. It’s practical advice, and most importantly, if you’re called to make art- just sit down, show up, and get started. It is a practice. And if you ignore that call you’ll be frustrated. I feel rejuvenated after reading this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Practical guide full of simple, tactical advice for how to survive an art life. Indispensable for any aspiring artist without a trust fund. Especially useful for those of us who create in more than one field.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    One of my top 10 books about artistry and creativity. Great read, short, easy concise points and a lot of things I have figured out through trial and error as I continue on my journey. If you are living the artist life, I think this is a good one to read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jerrie Kumalah

    A simple straight to the point book. I really liked that it was practical and provided great tips on how to grow your art while also keeping up with your responsibilities.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lyddie

    Probably one of the most practical approaches to creativity I've found. As much as I love The Artist's Way and Big Magic and The Desire Map, How to Be an Artist is full of real world logistics. Once we know what we want to accomplish, it's hard to tackle a project from beginning to end, with a full time job. This book will help you, literally and figuratively, organize your time and money so that you can produce something you can be proud of... Probably one of the most practical approaches to creativity I've found. As much as I love The Artist's Way and Big Magic and The Desire Map, How to Be an Artist is full of real world logistics. Once we know what we want to accomplish, it's hard to tackle a project from beginning to end, with a full time job. This book will help you, literally and figuratively, organize your time and money so that you can produce something you can be proud of...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    A straight forward and yet passionate look into how to become an artist. Nagler is charismatic and yet simple in her recounting of her story but it never overwhelms the true mission: giving the tools that will make an artist successful. A must read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Conor Sullivan

    A useful, easy read that is equal parts practical, motivating, and inspiring.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Walsh

    My sole regret reading JoAnneh Nagler’s useful "How to Be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, Or Your Creative Compass: A Practical Guide" (Countryman Press; May 3, 2016, $14.95) is that I did not get to read it as a newbie, would-be, or wannabe artist (I’m a writer and photographer). I would have definitely benefited starting out from its combination of practical information on "how to be an artist." When I started out to be an artist—and now one in midcareer—I had to plow through o My sole regret reading JoAnneh Nagler’s useful "How to Be an Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, Or Your Creative Compass: A Practical Guide" (Countryman Press; May 3, 2016, $14.95) is that I did not get to read it as a newbie, would-be, or wannabe artist (I’m a writer and photographer). I would have definitely benefited starting out from its combination of practical information on "how to be an artist." When I started out to be an artist—and now one in midcareer—I had to plow through on my own what is more easily provided in this 194-page book’s practical life lessons. If I had had Nagler's logical and experienced mentoring as a new or emerging artist it may have dispelled in just a few hour’s reading time a host of complexities integral to an aspiring artist that took me a while longer to experience in total without it. This book then provides a user-friendly path to methods and practicalities to create a satisfying and life-long artistic practice. As far as my personal experience tells me, the author’s descriptions and prescriptions to achieve a sustainable and satisfying practice as a working artist are complete making the book a useful primer. Even for the artist in midstream there are items to learn from throughout this volume, especially in reference to refining in one's personal life Nagler’s practical suggestions for being an artist—as well as renewing what art-making’s intrinsic value means. As the author makes clear in this, her second book (her first book was "The Debt-Free Spending Plan," 2012, $16), "How to Be an Artist..." is primarily for artists who have chosen its path and want to sustain it. The book provides practical steps to create a life that prioritizes the making of art. Nagler’s motivational words and counsel are for artists – especially ones starting out since they will benefit most – desiring that their art-making is of high importance in their life. Nagler provides those essentials of outlook and engagement to practically support the artist’s creative energies for a lifetime of work in most art-making areas such as painter, photographer, designer, writer, etc. The author offers her authentic experience pursuing the work and life of an artist. She lays out the expected options regarding time, work, money, and lifestyle which she ultimately leaves to the reader to assemble into a personalized creative path. The reader is introduced to the helpful basics in establishing an artistic practice - namely, how to choose to be an artist (chapter 1); getting a job (chapter 2); money management (chapter 3); time management (chapter 4); developing a work ethic (chapter 5); defining your individual art life (chapter 6); and getting and staying motivated as a professional artist (chapter 7). The first half of the book presents how to manage personal finances to meet the demands of daily living and fulfill one’s chosen role to be an artist. A major objective of this book is the explanation of how to have time and money work on behalf of one’s artistic practice. Detailed strategies for budgets and others lists are contextualized within Nagler’s personal experiences to counsel the artist’s potential lifestyle and career challenges and choices. While the author realizes that paying bills and deploying time so to create art are key objectives —and that to be an artist means discipline and working at it as one would a job– she also knows saving for discretionary items such as artist supplies or an annual vacation can be significant personal goals. The author always holds out encouragement to the reader on their chosen path by virtue of her own exploration as an artist. She unequivocally supports art making as a most worthwhile endeavor where the artist can create workable parameters to pursue it successfully on a daily basis and for a lifetime. In that same vein, Nagler offers little sympathy for excuses by the artist not to enact an over-all program for sustained art making. The second half of the book explores potential setbacks that can appear in the artist's work day such as procrastination, distractions, pessimism, etc. Nagler, again citing the wise counsel of her experience, offers simple remedies to assist the artist to cultivate the advancement of their art work from inception to distribution. Nagler explores the rewards of perseverance for the artist with the intrinsic worth of and satisfaction from their art-making being paramount. The book, "How to Be an Artist..." by JoAnneh Nagler can be read quickly – or savored slowly by its thought-provoking issues. Its life lessons can provoke reflection in the artist at any stage in their career. In a book that is set out in a simple and logical format it succeeds in integrating the challenges of artistic aesthetics and lifestyle practicalities which every artist must address to create a successful personal art-making program. The information provided accomplishes this book’s ambitious over-all purpose and is recommended.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Wilde

    I really struggle with reading non-reference/life advice books but persevering with this one was really worth it. It was so useful in getting me to realise and accept some important home truths. I don't know if it's entirely from reading this book but I feel that subconciously JoAnneh Nagler has made me get my artistic shit together! I am properly working for the first time in a long while. Also my fear to create is dissipating. I really enjoy her empathetic yet clear approach. She writes really I really struggle with reading non-reference/life advice books but persevering with this one was really worth it. It was so useful in getting me to realise and accept some important home truths. I don't know if it's entirely from reading this book but I feel that subconciously JoAnneh Nagler has made me get my artistic shit together! I am properly working for the first time in a long while. Also my fear to create is dissipating. I really enjoy her empathetic yet clear approach. She writes really sensitively about being an artist and how difficult it is yet necessary. The end of the book really moved me and made me believe that my work has value. I feel inspired to keep going. I see this book as one of the creatives gift that Nagler herself talks about.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kady

    I can't say that I read all of this book in great detail (mainly because the 'how to become an artist' section of this book was useless for me), but what I did read was very pleasant. This isn't a revelatory book for someone who works in the arts and gets this kind of information through experience, but it's a nice reminder on how to be kind to yourself and your artistic side. And, like many of these inspirational books, I found it directed for someone much older than I am. This doesn't help me I can't say that I read all of this book in great detail (mainly because the 'how to become an artist' section of this book was useless for me), but what I did read was very pleasant. This isn't a revelatory book for someone who works in the arts and gets this kind of information through experience, but it's a nice reminder on how to be kind to yourself and your artistic side. And, like many of these inspirational books, I found it directed for someone much older than I am. This doesn't help me to relate at all. 3/5 "'The needs of the world' are unpredictable, fickle, and even childish sometimes, and success, as we know it, can be vaporous, unworthy, and random. So, we can’t put stock in that. What we can do is put our heart and soul into what we do, and take a loving pride in being courageous enough to do our art in the first place, and then bring the things we work on to completion and out into the light."

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Allen

    This book kind of found me. I was at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, and it was sitting on one of the chairs. I picked out a few books, and curled up with the resident cat to read for a while, but for whatever reason, I couldn't focus on anything until I cracked open the errant book that I'd only added to my pile so I could sit down. If you have any artistic passions, but haven't quite known how to pursue them and live a normal life, this book is for you. I was so grateful for Nagler's pragmatism an This book kind of found me. I was at Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, and it was sitting on one of the chairs. I picked out a few books, and curled up with the resident cat to read for a while, but for whatever reason, I couldn't focus on anything until I cracked open the errant book that I'd only added to my pile so I could sit down. If you have any artistic passions, but haven't quite known how to pursue them and live a normal life, this book is for you. I was so grateful for Nagler's pragmatism and empathy for the artistic experience. I learned that I had been running away from a part of myself that I needed to express, all in the name of responsible adult decisions. This book convinced me that I can do both.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donna R

    I love this intelligent book and all of the practical advise that it gives. JoAnneh is very generous with her knowledge and if followed can change your life for the better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Slager

    Very useful guidance.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Laurie Weima

    So great and practical! A real how to do, shut and stop talking kind of guide. Great for anyone looking for real life skills. I almost wanted to take notes!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    A good book with useful advice for those that are trying to find their way as an artist. Some of the advice isn't completely relevant to everyone though. A good book with useful advice for those that are trying to find their way as an artist. Some of the advice isn't completely relevant to everyone though.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    As books in this genre go (making a life as an artist) this is one of the best. Excellent advice, both practical and inspirational.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina Hughes

    I mean, this is one way to go about it, but not advice I would give or take.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Libraryassistant

    Such a practical approach to supporting, respecting and making room/time for your art! The "unsurpassed" list about managing your art time is worth posting over my work table. Such a practical approach to supporting, respecting and making room/time for your art! The "unsurpassed" list about managing your art time is worth posting over my work table.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Benj Curtis

    Great practical guide for artists.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This book has solid advice for getting artwork out of your head and into the world and I believe this book should be on the shelf of artists' studios everywhere. Highly recommend for creative types. This book has solid advice for getting artwork out of your head and into the world and I believe this book should be on the shelf of artists' studios everywhere. Highly recommend for creative types.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    A very insightful resource for making a life with art possible.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mills College Library

    700.1 N149 2016

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maria

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adam Fulwiler

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline Brandwayn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dana Kumerow

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elisefur

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marie

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