Feel Validated, Artists

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The biggest myth we are fed as artists is that we need to sustain ourselves solely on our art. This is ridiculous. Every artist has at some point in time had some other job. Some of them kept these jobs their entire lives. In the latter category: William Carlos Williams was a doctor in New Jersey; Henry Darger was a custodian in Chicago; Harvey Pekar was a VA Hospital clerk in Cleveland.

So quit your day job…or don’t—you’re a real artist either way.


Marisa Siegel lives, writes, and edits near NYC but thinks twenty times a day about heading back west. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her essay “Inherited Anger” will appear in the anthology Burn It Down, forthcoming from Seal Press in fall 2019. She is Editor-in-Chief and owner of The Rumpus. Find her on Twitter at @marisasaystweet. More from this author →