The Worst Advice You Can Give Artists, Musicians and Makers

Please stop saying this to creative people

Joe Cardillo
4 min readJan 14, 2022


Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

You should be glad you don’t do what you love for a living. Let it be something you do on the side, otherwise you might grow to hate it.

Has anyone ever said this to you? I’ve heard this countless times. Both directed at me and others.

Sure. I get it.

We have to make a living and art doesn’t always pay. Fine. But is this really the best way to get that point across? To tell someone they should be glad they don’t do what they love all the time?

That’s like telling a fish they shouldn’t swim or they might get tired of it. Or a bird it shouldn’t fly because they might get bored.

A passion is something woven into you. You can’t escape it.

When you love something, it hurts to not do it. Sure they’ll be times you need a break. Burnout is real. But just because burnout is a thing, it doesn’t mean you should heed this advice.

When we say this to creatives it’s usually because we’ve personally failed to make our passion our career and we don’t want to see others suffer the same heartbreak.

Disappointment hurts. Fair.

It hurts, but what if that is just part of our growth? Not every artist is a financial success. But the heartbreak, rejection and failure make your art more potent. It builds your character.

And isn’t that worth more than a stable, boring life?

What does it mean to have a passion in the first place?

A passion is something that makes you feel alive when you do it. You lose track of time. Something you would do regardless of whether it makes you money.

I have a passion like that. It’s music. I would write, play and record music till I die, regardless if I ever made a penny from it. Even if no one ever listened.

I need to do it.

Sure I’d love to make money doing what I love. But that’s missing the point.



Joe Cardillo

Technical Support Engineer at Linode | Linux & Kubernetes