Imagine that your entire life is composed of interviewing for a job every day 2-3 times per day, 365/year.
You get constant rejection and maybe 4 or 5 of those pan out into a job each year.
Rough, right? So, let's add to that: dancers, writers, actors, producers, singers have their friends, family and fellow artists constantly asking them how each and every single audition, application, project went.
Reporting back that they didn't get a gig, is like living through the rejection twice.
Rest assured that they are not sitting idle, but constantly hustling to create opportunities for themselves that create work; thinking outside the box in a way having a steady 9-5 does not require. They don't have an office to go to, they have to re-invent a new one daily and audition for the right to even use the space.
So if you're an artist or a friend, family member of an artist, stop asking them for constant updates, you're not helping. If you want to be supportive, then congratulate them on their successes. Google them or go to their website or read their newsletter. If none of these things exist, then turn to that artist and say to them, "I believe in you, how can I best support your work?" And if you can't say that and really be prepared to show up for them with attention, time or financial support, then be quiet. Reserve your opinions about their choices to yourself and before you open your mouth, consider how you would feel if someone said to you what you're about to say to then. They didn't ask you to believe in or sacrifice for their dreams, so they don't deserve your passive aggressive prying or critique. (The New York Times has that brillantly covered for the whole world to see)
The artist's life is a brave, often lonely choice, but it's a choice people make that they are prepared to sacrifice the short-term comfort of a steady 9-5, for the contentment that comes from pursuing your life's mission; the kind of wealth that can never settle for safety and predictability at the expense of happiness. The wealth of a life well-lived with a sense of meaning and joy is priceless.
Is it a better or worse choice than the 9-5? No , it's just a different and deserves the same respect that the more traditional route does.