Why Every Creative Person Should Have a Secondary Passion

Photo by Michael Snell

When I first moved to Nashville, I was determined to finish my first full-length book. Every evening after work, I’d hole up at the corner table at my favorite cafe and drink cup after cup of coffee, punching away at the keyboard on my laptop. As the months rolled by, the book took shape, transformed from an idea to a physical thing. Then, on a balmy June night in 2016, I cleared the last round of edits. The book was done.

The first moments of exhilaration following the completion of two years worth of work were followed by ones of panic.

Now what?

After celebrating, the only thing to do seemed to write another book. Writing in the evenings had become part of my routine, and I wasn’t sure how else to fill the space that separated one work day from the next.

As soon as I started up a second book, though, I realized I had a problem: I didn’t have anything to write about. No one wants to read about my experience writing the first one. Because I’d been so consumed by the creative process of writing, I neglected to live a life worth writing about. As a nonfiction writer, that’s kind of an issue.

I remember the following weeks as I struggled with a massive creative block and little motivation. My new after work routine involved driving around my block for an hour, smoking cigarettes and debating whether or not to go into the corner bar by myself. At least something worth writing about might happen, I figured. But when I did go, nothing ever did happen. I only ended up smoking more cigarettes by myself, engaging in conversation with someone listless but willing, and stumbling home a little drunk.

I remember one night, laying on a mexican blanket on the floor of my bedroom, listening to the silence swell around me, thinking: I need to get out of here and do something.

A couple days later I found myself handing over my resume to the bar manager at a nice restaurant in a pricey area downtown. A friend of a friend had put a social media post seeking bartenders, and, in a new town without friends, a project or anything else to do, I figured a second job wouldn’t hurt. Tending bar had been my primary source of income before I’d moved to Nashville, anyway, and I missed conversations with strangers and never knowing what— or who— to expect during a night at work.

I wasn’t really writing in the months that followed, but I was relearning how to engage with life. I learned more than I’d previously known about cocktails and flavor profiles. I met guests who became regulars and introduced me to other opportunities Nashville had to offer. I began developing my own cocktails, syrups and tinctures. Most importantly, I was moved to write again.

Getting behind a bar and building cocktails is still the thing I love to do when writing feels bad. When I’m working on a drink, the only thing that matters is the build and that I get the balance right. When a guest tells me that what I’ve given them is the best old fashioned they’ve ever had or when I’m presenting a drink to a panel of judges, a nasty comment or a rejection letter from an editor is the last thing on my mind. I never know whether I’m going to get a big tip or win the grand prize to an absinthe distillery in France, but it hardly matters. The process is so enjoyable I couldn’t imagine not doing it. Making drinks is, in this way, almost like writing nonfiction.

This is why it’s so important for every creative person to have a secondary passion that requires the same focus, the same passion, the same obsession. Kerouac couldn’t travel enough. Hemingway loved to bake. Dali was a history nerd. It’s a tendency of obsession to produce creativity. A secondary passion alleviates the panic that sets in when we realize we’ve grown too attached to our process. It also gives us something to be inspired by.

Recently, I’ve found inspiration in travel. Someday I hope to participate in rainforest and exotic species conservation. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you love as long as your passions feed one another. They should excite you and allow you to breathe when you spend too much time with your face pressed against the surface of your art.

Creators

We’re a global creative agency with a diverse roster of influential talent. Join us today.

Apply To Join

Brands

We use proprietary technology to generate modeling packages perfectly tailored to you.

Book A Shoot

How To Start Hosting Your Own Photography Workshops And Making Money

The career of a professional photographer is constantly changing and evolving. For many established professionals, there will come a time where adding an additional element to your creative business will feel like a logical next step. This new endeavor will allow you to shift gears from the traditional practice of production toward a new and […]

Ring the Bell! Photography Gift Guide For The Holiday Season

When it comes to buying the photographer in your life the perfect present, especially during this festive time of year, it can be quite a daunting task. The season is the perfect time to capture and showcase themed markets, lights, events and architecture with holiday cheer-and-bell photography, so your special someone will feel even more […]

How To Fuel Passion In Your Environment

“There’s never going to be the perfect time to do something. The perfect time to do something is immediately, when you feel like you should do it.” – Director David Wept Fear of the unknown is a common human behavior — one that definitely doesn’t serve us but nevertheless common. Whether that email you’ve been […]

How To Capture Your Vision With Photography

Like all art, photography, at times, can be frustrating. One of the most trying aspects of being a photographer is finding a clear artistic vision. Sometimes you may think you have a vision or a strong concept for your photographs and not still not be able to capture the idea. You can see the image in your head, […]

The Gear You Must Have Before Getting Your Own Photography Studio

It’s a big day, the one where a photographer finally makes the decision to open up their very own photography studio. As soon as the lease (or property sale) is signed, there’s important purchases to be made, like new studio equipment and gear material. Instead of purchasing rental equipment or loading up your car with […]

Everything You Need to Know About Boudoir Photography

Boudoir photography defies genre. It is a style of photography that incorporates elements of portraiture, glamour, high fashion and fine art photography. Boudoir comes from the french word bouder meaning: to sulk. Historically, sulking was seen as something one would do privately, and the term bouder came to encapsulate a room where one would go to […]

5 Photography Stores That Everyone Should Check Out

With the large selection of camera stores, choosing the best place to purchase your photography gear can be a difficult decision. When determining where to find the latest equipment and accessories you should base your selection off location, availability of stock and price. At one point, buying your camera equipment could only be done in […]

How To Become A Makeup Artist

I remember the first time I watched my mom do her makeup years ago. I was fascinated by the transformation of how something so subtle could make such a big difference. From that moment on makeup was always a part of my life, but I never took it as seriously as my sister or my […]

Female Photographers’ Tips on Navigating the Industry

“I think one of the struggles that women face in our industry is often being overlooked or not taken seriously. I’ve experienced it a lot.”- Kassidy Renee Women. Many incredible adjectives come to mind when we hear this word. Thanks to many successful women and men before us, the creative industry has become a better […]

The Importance of Quality vs. Quantity

Since the beginning of time (You know, the first time humans started creating), there’s been the ethical debate of quality vs. quantity. The question applies to most aspects of our life, like processed food or healthy salad? Fast fashion or organic cotton? Explore feed or normal feed? It also applies to our creative projects and […]