What the heck do creative people know?

Nettie Hartsock, a communications expert who helps creative solopreneurs take their message out to the marketplace, blogs about P.R., marketing and all kinds of other issues attendant to…well, to getting your message out to the marketplace.

When she found out about the community building around the Creative Freelancer Conference, she wondered if we could help give her some insight into what we’re all grappling with, thinking about and even reading, so she could take the message out there to other creative communities via some sites she writes for.

So here’s your chance to let loose! And remember: just the process of addressing some of these questions can help clarify and reveal things to ourselves.

  1. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges to being a successful creative person?
  2. What are three tips you would give to anyone who wants to empower their creative career, whether it be as a copywriter, web designer, artist?
  3. What is most rewarding about being on your own and working to grow your creative business?
  4. What inspires you to be creative?
  5. What is the greatest benefit to working as a creative professional?
  6. Bonus: What is your favorite book about business or creativity?

I’ll start: my favorite book about creativity is one I forgot to mention in the latest edition of my newsletter, which no less than three readers emailed me about: The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. It’s inspiring, insightful and practical all at once, plus it’s a great read (too rare in business books and yes, even books purportedly about creativity.)

Yes, Virginia—it really is all that and a bag of chips.

So…whaddya say? Pick something that looks good, and address it in the comments. Or email me and I’ll forward.

2 thoughts on “What the heck do creative people know?

  1. DAVID (in SEATTLE)

    HELLO CFC FAMILY-
    MONTHS AGO, I WAS STRUGGLING WITH “ATTEND OR NOT ATTEND?”. NOW, I’M PRINTING OUT BUSINESS CARDS, DOUBLE CHECKING MY FLIGHT ITINERARY TO CHI-TOWN AND BLOGGING. FUNNY….
    I WROTE MY RESPONSES IN BOLD…
    1. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges to being a successful creative person?
    COMMITING TO IT, FULLY. BEING TOO ISOLATED. APOLOGIZING FOR MY JOB/LIFESTYLE (THE CONSTANT “IS THIS A REAL JOB?” STIGMA) NOT CONNECTING WITH OTHER CREATIVES FOR SUPPORT.
    NEWEST CHALLENGE: FINDING A MENTOR OR SOMEONE THAT’S ALREADY EXPERIENCED MY CURRENT CHALLENGES AND CAN OFFER GUIDANCE.
    2. What are three tips you would give to anyone who wants to empower their creative career, whether it be as a copywriter, web designer, artist?
    1. SHARE WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE OUTSIDE OF YOU’RE CAREER.
    FOR INSTANCE, I KNOW HUNDREDS OF COPYWRITERS, BUT I REMEMBER MY WRITER FRIEND, MARCUS, WHO’S BRITISH AND USED TO WRITE FOR A BBC MINI-SERIES. THAT MAKES HIM MEMORABLE. HE’S A GOOD WRITER AS WELL, BUT HE’S HAD AN INTERSTING JOURNEY—LIKE WE”VE ALL HAD. WE SHOULD SHARE THAT WITH CLIENTS (A LITTLE), IT MAKES US MORE MEMORABLE.
    2. CREATIVES NEED TO CONSTANTLY UPDATE THEIR SKILLS. WEB DESIGNERS HAVE TO, BUT WRITERS AND ILLUSTRATORS NEED TO AS WELL. THIS CAN ALSO BE A GREAT WAY TO RE-CONNECT WITH CLIENTS FROM THE PAST,
    “I RECENTLY TOOK A CLASS IN ___________HERE’S WHAT I’VE BEEN WORKING ON.”
    3. CREATE A DIFFERENT PERSONA TO MANAGE YOUR MONEY. I KNOW THIS SOUNDS STRANGE, BUT I FIND I HAVE TO PUT ON A DIFFERENT, TOUGHER, NO-NONSENSE HAT TO DEAL WITH MONEY AND NEGOTIATING. IF I CAN, I MAKE THE “MONEY” CONVERSATION AND THE “CREATIVE” CONVERSATION, SEPARATE. MEANING, DIFFERENT DAYS, OR I’LL DO THE CREATIVE STUFF BY PHONE AND ALL THE BUSINESS STUFF BY E-MAIL.
    3. What is most rewarding about being on your own and working to grow your creative business?
    MY TIME IS MY OWN. LEARNING NEW SKILLS ONLY ADDS TO GROWING MY BUSINESS.
    4. What inspires you to be creative?
    FINDING NEW AND INTERESTING WAYS TO COMMUNICATE CLEARLY AND SIMPLY
    5. What is the greatest benefit to working as a creative professional?
    THE PEOPLE THAT I MEET AND WORK WITH. BEING ABLE TO CREATE AND GET PAID FOR IT.
    6. Bonus: What is your favorite book about business or creativity?
    I’M MAKING MY WAY THROUGH MEGG’S HISTORY OF GRAPHIC DESIGN. IT’S MUST FOR DESIGNERS, IN KNOW, BUT AS A WRITER (MOSTLY), IT’S BEEN FUN AND ILLUMINATING TO READ.

  2. Will Mellon

    1. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges to being a successful creative person?
    Balancing planning, organizing, and structuring with creativity, learning, and designing. This is my biggest source of stress.
    2. What are three tips you would give to anyone who wants to empower their creative career, whether it be as a copywriter, web designer, artist?
    What I’ve learned is to relax more. I used to push myself too hard and would end up getting nothing accomplished. Secondly, not being afraid to not think, an empty mind may, at times, may be more productive than a busy mind. Lastly, I realize that my individuality is what brings quality to the design, however sometimes I forget to let go of my ego and desires by simply letting things be. Designing this way has less resistance to the creative process.
    3. What is most rewarding about being on your own and working to grow your creative business?
    As of yet, I have not worked other than on my own, so I truly do not know.
    4. What inspires you to be creative?
    I don’t feel I’ve found a way to channel creative energy fully. What I have are more like moments. I chose graphic design because projects are a way to stretch and develop those moments. I have a tough time getting in the creative flow outside of design projects. I recently had an idea to do a series of posters, each created through inspiration from spiritual quotes. I feel this is a good start.
    5. What is the greatest benefit to working as a creative professional?
    I just began as a creative professional. Which is why I am very fortunate to be able to attend this conference and that it is so close to home. A month ago I chose a creative path of life over a political path for two great reasons. First, I believe that a successful creative person can be more influential than any politician or ruler. Second, being creative allows me to be me, to freely express my opinions and passion, even political views. I believe that by choosing a creative path in life, I will have a more dynamic life.
    6. Bonus: What is your favorite book about business or creativity?
    I recently began reading “The Zen of Creativity” by John Daido Loori. My experience with design is that my best work comes when I am not pushing my thoughts in a creative direction. Rather, I turn off all the aimless thoughts then sketch, doodle, write, or do what ever feels expressive. From that place within the mind comes my greatest work. I hope that this book will teach my how to stay in that mind more often, even when I’m not creating.

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