This Book Is about Creative Work

If you want to employ your creativity, then you have chosen a challenge. Creative work tends to be more competitive, less secure, and less well-paid than other kinds of work. At least at the beginning. But you probably already know that.

The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People was designed specifically for people who want to do creative work. By that, I mean unstructured jobs that let you express not only your ideas but also your feelings. Such creative work includes careers in the fine arts (for example, creative writer, artist, and performer) as well as their more applied counterparts (such as journalist, copywriter, and designer).

Here are seven ways the Career Guide will guide your creative adventure:

1. You’ll learn about the mismatch between jobs and creative types. And gain hope from changes in the world of work. Our opportunities are the best in ages!

2. You’ll gain insights into the creative personality. Many creatives feel like they don’t fit in. But you’ll see how being different can actually be an employment asset.

3. The book includes a variety of exercises (including downloadable forms and checklists) designed to guide your personal career exploration and job search.

4. Eight different routes illustrate how to employ your creativity (for example, freelancing or getting a grant). Real life success stories show how others have done it.

5. Time-tested and practical tips help you persist in your efforts so that you can achieve your goals. Effective “how to” strategies can make your dreams come true.

6. You’ll find an inspiring account of the creative adventure: accepting your talent, taking risks, calling on your courage, growing as a person, and giving your gift.

7. The appendix profiles 281 different creative occupations from mainstream (architect) to quirky (impersonator), with job descriptions, employers, and salaries.

My editor at Ten Speed once described this book as “a success by anyone’s standards.” What did he mean by that? For one thing, The Career Guide has sold around 75,000 copies. And counting. (In contrast, the average title in a brick-and-mortar bookstore sells about 3,000 copies in its lifetime.) Another definition of success was provided to me by the director of a career center at a major American art college. She was always loaning career books out to students—and mine was the one that didn’t come back.