Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Live the creative life you want

When she was a little girl, Elaina Loveland dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. The graceful waif of a woman was a dynamic dancer, but after attending the dance program at Goucher College to study for a few years, she realized the reality of her choice might not make for an ideal career.

“It became clear that I should have gone straight to New York City to dance instead of going to college to study it,” she admits. “I also realized that my dance career would probably only last as long as my body held out—and that seemed like a bit of a gamble.”

So she opted for Plan B and became a writer—and ever since hasn’t let anything get in her way. Elaina firmly believes anyone who wants to have a creative career can do it. All they need to do is plan, prepare, and be brave enough to take the leap.

In fact, before turning 30, she penned two books on a subject:

Creative Colleges: A guide for student actors, artists, dancers, musicians and writers,was published in 2005 when Loveland was 27. She followed it up in 2007 with a sequel entitled: Creative Careers: Paths for aspiring actors, artists, dancers, musicians and writers. Both softback trade books were published by SuperCollege LLC, and are chock full of how-to-get-where-you-want-to-go information.

Creative Careers: Paths for aspiring actors, artists, dancers, musicians, and writersoffers details about types of 200 arts-related college, including suggestions on how to evaluate them, sample resumes and curriculums, and inspiring / realistic profiles of people who are living the dream. And Creative Careers dives deeper into life in a variety of fields, offering real options other than the most obvious and glamorous.

Loveland’s takeaway: “Given all the pros and cons each profession, I’d still recommend a career in the arts to anyone who truly wants one,” she says, but warns that the key to success is a willingness to sacrifice and be flexible.

Take show business. “This is not a profession for the faint hearted, or someone who can’t deal with rejection,” Loveland advises, adding that those who dream of being fashion designers are also destined to spend years in the Big Apple, “unless, of course, you are willing to just open a little boutique in your hometown or maybe a favorite seaside town.”

“You have to really know yourself,” she explains. “Finding the right career—and career path—is truly a process of elimination. What I try to show in the book is that there are a lot of ways to accomplish the goal of having a career in the arts.”

And when it comes to helping parents deal with a child who wants a career in the arts, Loveland’s advice to is to simply be supportive.

“Parents should be open-minded if their kids are interested in pursuing a career in the arts,” she says. “While there are 'starving artist' stories, not all jobs in the arts are financially unstable. The arts aren't usually a path to riches but aspiring artists can find career fulfillment and financial stability if they explore many options in the arts and carve out a niche for themselves. Ultimately, that will help them achieve both professional and personal happiness.”

For more information visit: http://www.elainaloveland.com/creative_careers.htm

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