I have never subscribed to the notion that arts practitioners are flaky or unreliable, as a matter of course. Usually, a person brings his or her own characteristics to the table when he or she takes on any career path and those traits will determine the type of surgeon, hod carrier or artist he or she turns out to be.
Due to the fact that performers do a lot of work at night, it is possible that we keep different hours from those who work in offices or other similar places. This can account for the idea that some of us wake up late in the morning, compared to others. I have a friend who drives buses late into the night. I don’t regard him as lazy because of his unusual waking hours.
Romanticising the lifestyles of those who make a living from being creative has another strange dimension. Some people find it difficult to come to terms with the idea that quite a few of us are very hard workers, who are disciplined about time management and committed to efficiency in delivery of our services.
The hours we invest in practising, or creating new work are usually more than those that white collar workers put into their jobs. Only the most rich and famous artists are likely to be paid more for their time than a large number of folks who lead more conventional lives. This is because we are fuelled by passion and love for what we do.
Sometimes it can feel like artists are not respected enough for their contributions to the world. We spend a lot of time feeling misunderstood. Indeed, in my schooldays there was a nickname for guys with artistic aspirations. We were called NFAs – an acronym that stands for “No Future Ambition”. It’s amazing that there are some artists who buy into this image for themselves. What can be done to make fewer people get the wrong end of the stick?