Read Now: “The Artist in the Office”

On 6 March 2013 by Alisa Damaso

The Artist in the Office by Summer Pierre

The Artist in the Office
Summer Pierre
Perigee, 2010
$13.95 $5.58

“Before we can find our own ideal work environment, we must find out what about work works for us.”

— Summer Pierre

As artists, we are always at work. That means we have two jobs: One that feeds our souls and another that feeds our bodies. The day job enables us to pay the bills on time, socialize with others and be a part of something bigger. But just because we clock in to work doesn’t mean we have to clock out of a creative lifestyle.

Writer/artist/musician Summer Pierre’s Artist in the Office is the right kind of slap in the face for workforce creatives who think they’re out of juice. If you struggle to balance your life, art and work, this inspiring read is for you. The book, written in first person, pulls the reader into an intimate conversation — a sort of guided counsel. It’s really comforting knowing you’re not alone. What’s more, you’ll learn how to align your expectations with reality and find a happy middle ground where reaching your goals gets easier and easier.

The Artist in the Office gives you a chance to look at your job in positive ways. Summer says a day job gave her “structure, accountability, and an opportunity to be around people.” Ponder this: Would you be able to get anything done without a schedule and deadlines? Summer offers different tricks for self-motivation, like taking a class or collaborating with other creatives — you’ll benefit from the structure, socialization and peer critiques.

Pierre suggests little creative boosts to your workday like walking part of the way to work, listening to unusual audio books during your commute, doodling on breaks, going on “lunchtime adventures,” making lists of positives in your life, and other activities. The author also shares ways to reconsider your priorities to achieve your goals now instead of holding off your dreams for one reason or another. There is no “I don’t have time” — you need to make time. Just 15 minutes a day can be super productive. Schedule personal projects on your calendar and stick to the appointments.

“Reducing your expectations and making small moves every day can be tremendously productive,” Summer says. Reward yourself for small victories and accept that your work is going to suck at first. Self-doubt is common in us creatives, so make an effort to be positive. Forgive yourself. Take baby steps. Push. It’s all part of the process, and we’re all going through it.

The Artist in the Office is going out of print, so grab your copy soon!


  • Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff — Written by a creative who worked in a cubicle for more than a decade, this book is a helpful guide to nurturing your dream job and going for it.
  • 25 Ways to Survive as a Creative Person by Chuck Wendig — The author-screenwriter-game designer gives these tips for creative fulfillment with the harshness of a war-torn marine-turned-dodgeball coach: work shit jobs, test your limits, learn to love failure and make time for your art, to name a few.
  • The Artist’s Double Life: The Day Job by Andrew Zahn — How can the creative balance a day job and personal projects? Actor Andrew Zahn, who is a PR Manager during the day, gives some insight on this dilemma.

Alisa Damaso

Alisa Damaso is an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer based
in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys the magic of the outdoors,
watching campy horror movies, and singing songs about food getting
stuck in her teeth. Her hand is married to a pencil and she never leaves
the house without a sketchbook.

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