- This book is not for ordinary people.
- Many of the ideas in this book are like magical spells.
- There is also a dark side to this book. There’s no escape: “Any composition (or improvisation) which remains constant and regular throughout is , for me, equivalent to watching a movie with only “good guys” in it, or eating cottage cheese” – Frank Zappa
- The first commandment in setting up a top secret laboratory is this: you must take it seriously.
- What works for you is not “what caters to your bad habits.”
Part 1: YOU
How to vs. Why to
The rebel creator.
- We create things because we are dissatisfied with what already exists.
- We have an imagination so we can change the world, this could mean cleaning our bathroom or making a billion dollars.
- Changing the world is inherent in our nature. The entire human race is changing the earth like ants or mould does.
- “It doesn’t matter if you go to Coachella and dance in the mud while Rage against the Machine plays. We all contribute to this process of eating the earth in our way. Until there is an alternative, we can only choose to eat slower or quicker.”
- Unless you rebel in some way, you are not quite sentient. Creativity is rebellious. Betray the tribe. It’s healthy.
I might suck, but my art is great.
- Get booed off stage at least once.
- I didn’t choose my body or face. Through art, i can choose everything, be whoever I want to be.
- An artistic expression could be a way of pointing a sign at myself or maybe I am the sign pointing to the art. Difficult to tell.
The mutants vs. the normals.
- Normal people are happy with their cats, nieces and co-workers.
- This is a carefree life for them and the are not afflicted with the psychic peril of the creator.
- We are the Mutants, the outsiders the rejects the aliens.
- All winners start out as losers or else there wouldn’t be a story to tell.
- I will help you beat failure. I can’t think of a better “Why to.”
What is a creative genius?
- Think of genius as genuine, generate and Genesis. It essentially means creative. Commit to your creativity and you will be a genius.
Creativity’s evil twin.
- If you use your imagination to make the world a better place that is creativity.
- If you use your imagination to make the world worse that is called Destructivity . It is creativities evil twin.
- Examples of Destructivity : Convincing yourself of reasons you will never succeed, playing unhelpful movies over and over in your head, thinking of all the things you dislike in the world more than the things you like. Thinking of all the problems in the world. Thinking of all things that could go wrong in a situation.
- The world doesn’t need any more help killing us. You will be dead soon enough. At the very least you will get old, sick and die. Unless you are Ray Kurzweil, the grim reaper will show up for all of us and we only have a limited time.
- You will eventually end up in bed and not get back up so why do that before you are even sick.
- Failure is easy. This is the default outcome of everything. If you want to fail, you already know how, just sit back and watch TV.
- Your imagination can be used as a movie theater that plays an endless loop of worthless sounds and images or you can use it to make stuff and be happy. You must take control of this.
Inventors, explorer… madmen?
- Mind your own business.
- Make the unknown your friend.
- Losing is not nobler.
- Scientists used to be in a world of chaos and had to use their imagination to find rules and order.
- Now scientists have reduced that into making the world a boring place.
- These days our mad men are playing with quantum physics. They have discovered things exist, they don’t exist, they exist in two places at once and are mostly space.
- Explorers are not often entirely sure what they’re trying to discover or what they ultimately will learn. They just know they want to go see what is over there.
- Progress is made by those who are not afraid of the unknown.
The aliens are coming!
- There is a part of the human mind, soul, spirit that does not have everything figured out.
- We spent most of our evolution with an incomplete map of the world, not sure who else was out there, we would be going about our lives then be raided by barbarians who kill everyone. Until it happened it was probably just a legend.
- It could be a part of our pre-conditioned psychological state. We are still expecting “The others” Not much is left to find on this planet, so we have started imagining creatures from out of space.
- Imagine a beat up the old map, that has the edges filled in with what we imagine being there: pots of gold, mermaids, dragons. For anything interesting to happen those are the places we need to be, that is where the progress is.
- Trust your creativity forever.
- There is nothing wrong with believing in a strange or unconventional idea if it makes the world better. Even if they are illogical, maybe you are better off believing it than not.
Are you a consumer or a creator?
- If you are not creating something, you are not alive. Don’t go through life as a consumer. If a robot could do what you are doing what is the point of living.
- You want to align yourself with the spirit of creativity the guy who makes the jewellery, not the rich guy who buys it.
- If you focus on the place or the product you are missing out on the most valuable lesson, the freak who built it.
The hierarchy: ideas at the top.
- The world is a great big machine powered by ideas. If you follow the food chain, upwards you will always find the person with the idea. Everyone else is serving that.
- In any situation if you can get away with it make it your goal to be the one with the ideas.
- A technical person will always be subservient to an idea person.
- Do the work you think is important.
- Be a dreamer. Anything else is just shoveling.
- We are all here on a mission, some of us realise it some of us don’t.
- If you have an epiphany turn up the volume and listen.
- Caroline Myss calls it a “Sacred Contract”.
You are the one
- End on a diminished chord.
- Many movies seemingly have the same common person accepting his true identity as “The one”. The guy who knows the truth only nobody believes it.
- “The outside is a prophet in disguise – disguised even from himself – whose salvation lies in discovering his deepest purpose, and then throwing himself into it .”- Colin Wilson, The Outsider
Signs from beyond.
- With so much going on in the world how do you know where you are going ? Look for signs. Coincidences, serendipity, impossible odds.
- Sometimes this is how the most important decisions in life are made.
- Creativity First, Business Second.
The Neverending Story
- The neverending story is a metaphor for the creative career and many of the baffling counterintuitive obstacles and challenges the creatives face.
- Bastians mother has died and he is having an existential crisis, he wants to escape his crumbling life, he is falling behind at school , daydreaming and drawing unicorns.
- Bastians Dad is the voice of safety and mediocrity. This voice is all around us , it’s there every month telling us we need to pay the bills. Give up our dreams , put on a suit , go to the office and be boring life dad.
- A creative career is a transformation . A metamorphosis. . Don’t plan, just go.
- The scene where Artax is swallowed by the mud represents you unmotivated friends. You can’t pull them along. As much as you scream and beg.
- Morla the ancient one, the wisest being in all of Fantasia represent cynicism, insanity and failure. He is the jaded old person who hopes we give up too. He has been around so long that nothing matters anymore.
- This is the voice of parents , teachers and ho hum failures. Why even get started ? It takes years to be able to play guitar so you will probably never get there right ?
- (What we do not realise is it takes the same amount of time to do absolutely nothing with our lives.)
- Falkor the luck dragon ! There is no disputing the power of luck. You can either live as a control freak in a safe, predictable universe of results that you micromanage … or you can take some chances and see what the world has to offer you.
- The Riddle Gate: This represents self worth . Anyone who does not believe in himself will be blasted by the death rays from the eyes of the two sphinxes. The Answer ? To RUN !
- The Mirror gateL Having made it through the first gate Atreyu must face the second where he will encounter his true self. We wear masks in life, even to fool ourselves. To look beneath our masks takes courage. We find that most of our external wars are actually internal. Our enemies remind us of ourselves so we point and say “That is not me.”
- What is the purpose of the nothing ? Some people call this the system. The man. The matrix. “Be a good cog and stay in your cubicle”.
- To save Fantasia and defeat the nothing Bastian must accept himself and use his imagination. Thats the secret . That is all there is to creativity.
- Your Heroes must become your peers.
- Be able to make sacrifices.
- Our minds are made for two things: Seeing things that are there and Seeing things that are not there. Which ability is more glorious and noble?
- The imagination is the most powerful tool we have yet its the least nurtured, the least developed. In school we are not judged on what we create but what we memorise.
- Our imagination is slowly beaten out of us with facts.
- We all own the most powerful tool in the universe “We can imagine anything”
- Don’t let your tombstone read :Here lies Bob , who spent the majority of his waking hours running a cash register”.
- “You can;t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards.” – Steve Jobs
- You don’t jump into many things in life without question. But With creativity you have to jump in it and drown in it before you can figure out where you are going. Otherwise you will be calculating too much and what you create will be superficial.
- Do not second guess yourself and try to figure out how people will react to your art.
- Be brave. Make something substantial.
Lets define success and failure.
- “It is impossible to win a war with no criteria for success” – Unknown
- Success means “ Exponential return on creative investment”.
- Success is a creative career project that : Reaches its intended audience, Pays its creator with money, real money, Funds the next creative career project.
Are you well adjusted?
- No matter where you are on your career path you MUST be well adjusted to it.
- Think of failure as a dessert that must be crossed.
- The way you deal with failure will determine how you deal with success. If you deal with failure inappropriately you will also deal with success inappropriately.
- Failure really means “Unable to effectively respond to problems and difficulties as they arise”
- Failure is a habit, not an event. Adjust yourself well to it.
Journey and Destination
- Consider that how you get there can be as important as where you are going.
- “No matter what you do, you’re always working for the man” – Hellworms
- You can only make the best choices in your own life”
The story of change
- All life is the story of change from one state of being to another.
- Everyone moves through time and space becoming or unbecoming.
- Be a pro, or a hobbyist. Don’t be an amateur.
Refuse to accept your current situation.
- If you want to change you must refuse to accept your current situation. Don’t take it seriously . It’s not real. (Thats another helpful delusion)
- It is too easy to get sucked into the day to day drama of the world around you, the people, the bad ideas, the gossip.
- If you want to move away from that then don’t become a part of it. Keep it external from yourself like a movie.
Bow and Arrow
- Great men and women throughout history are often pulled back by something before they launch forward. Where the arrow is coming from is as important as where it is going. If you look closely enough, you can often find that initial tension that created all of the forward motion.
- The trick is to see how far you can pull yourself back without snapping the bowstring. The further you can pull it back without breaking the further you will travel.
The Cargo Cult
- Isn’t the world just one big cargo cult?
- One guy writes a magical hit then millions of people try to replicate its success.
- Hits occur spontaneously in a reactive organic environment, They used to just happen but now they are made to happen.
- Still no one knows when they actually will happen. Its like trying to get struck by lightning.
The three acts of your creative career.
- Act One : Ideas. “Follow your bliss” – Joseph Campbell. This act usually starts early in life although it can happen at any age. Maybe you were inspired to pick up a musical instrument, you might not even be sure why, you were just drawn to it.
- It is good to follow your intuition in this act.
- The problem is too many talented people get into this phase and never leave.
- Act Two: Action. This is not just action but meaningful action. This is where you get serious, make sacrifices and commit to your path.
- You make calculated , often drastic moves to improve your situation.
- Realise you have spent too much time on things that go nowhere. It’s time to get serious.
- Act Three: Results. In this act you finally get some results. You figured out the magical combination.Nothing before Act Three counts. Until you get results you haven’t really done Anything.
- Dont Honk. Tell a good story.
The Creative Career Process
The four archetypes
- These archetypes represent the path we are on , the creative career. Doing stuff on earth making something out of nothing through willpower.
- The Business Man: Just wants to turn $1 into $2. Is that so wrong? Is competitive. Takes the initiative. Always shows up early. Is conscious mind oriented. Is guided by logic and reason. Has an atheistic view of the material world. Focuses on skills (learned abilities). Is organised. Socialises in order to advance his career. Takes advantage of the fool and the artist. Wants to control. Likes mechanics and workflow. Correspond to left brain thinking. Keyword: Rich.
- What is the something that the businessman is making out of nothing? Usually its money.Things go in a specific order, you work through a series of steps and you get results.
- The businessman doesn’t understand why the artist doesn’t just put A, B and C in sequence and succeed like he can.
- The Artist: Is a dreamer. Spends a lot of time contemplating meaning. Will NEVER show up on time. Doesnt care about money, always broke. Has no sense of urgency. Draws inspiration from his subconscious. Wanders. Is guided by emotions. Focuses on talents (Inherent abilities). Is superstitious. Is disorganised. Wants To escape from this mundane universe. Is inspired by chaos. Corresponds to Right Brain thinking. Keyword: Famous.
- Artists don’t like this world because the one in their heads is better. They tend to be idealists. They are notorious for destroying their bodies but artists are the ones that come up with the weird ideas the businessman turned into a formula.
- The Fool: Has no goals in life. Does not question authority. Follows the crowd. Is always looking to someone for advice. Will be an employee forever. Surrounds himself with anyone who likes him. Does not consider long-term consequences. Doesn’t care what anything means. Is not interested in learning or developing. Seeks immediate gratification. Is drawn toward passive recreation. Consumes more than he creates. Blames others for his failure. Corresponds to no brain thinking. Is the victim of the businessman.
- This is the bulk of the human race because everyone starts out as the Fool and most stay there If we evolve at all we generally become either the businessman or the artist.
- The Magician: Learns to balance creativity and self discipline. Understands the parallels between art and commerce. Draws upon his conscious AND subconscious mind. Answers his own questions, or asks the right people. Learns many skills and develops his talents, he values them both. Is a collector of wisdom and great art. Is a wrangler of talented people. Is focused on results. Accepts that nothing is perfect. Has a holistic view of give and take. Enjoys the journey AND the destination. Is an inspiration to both the businessman and the artists. Corresponds to whole brain thinking. The fool can’t even conceive of what the magician is.
- The magician embodies the elusive paradox of duality and balances art and business.
- The archetypes do not translate into professions but rather personality types. For instance a working musician could embody the businessman archetype. In most any profession you will find examples of every archetypes.
The man with two brains.
- Lets imagine your brain is a limousine. The part of your brain you can control is the limo driver. he sits up front and looks at the road, swerves in and out of traffic. So hes in control right? he has his hands on the steering wheel and his feet on the pedals.
- But he doesn’t go where he wants to go He gets his instructions from the rock stars in the back. He can’t see them> He knows where he is going but not why he is going. But the greatest ideas come from the back of the limo.
- Remember we are after results.
Get the broad strokes right.
- Focus on the big picture. Don’t spend all of your time on the fine details. Great big ideas are simple. If your broad strokes are wrong the smaller details won’t matter.
Everything is a haiku
- Be specific when you promote yourself.
- Limitations make life interesting. They are not meant to be a cookie cutter. They are the boring parts that make the clever parts what they are.
- Without them there would be nothing for the playfulness to rebel against.
- Rules really are made to be broken.
- Decide which elements of your work you want to be predictable.
- Keep a few things traditional then break everything else.
- Ask yourself what you can break to make your work interesting. Do it in the same way repeatedly and you now have your own style.
What makes strong art?
- It has conflict. Both consonance and dissonance. There needs to be struggle with two opponents and one you can root for.
- It has a foreground and a background.Something is in focus and something is out of focus.
- It has contrast. Light, dark. Big, small. Loud, soft.
- It has direction. It shows motion of some kind and takes you on a journey from one place to another.
- It has surprise. If you want to make the same old stuff everyday go work in a factory.
- It makes a statement. If you do the math the world we live in doesn’t make sense.
- It affects people. If it doesn’t it is dead.
The secret to making weak art.
- The secret to making weak art is to ignore your dark side.
- Art is therapeutic and sometimes less expensive than counselling.
- Embrace your mental malfunctions , your past pain, things you don’t like, just draw it all and go.
Permission to be creative, sir.
- You don’t need permission , you are already pre approved.
- Amateurs go to workshops and get discouraged because they are bombarded by a long list of reasons they will always suck.
- All of the professional jargon, tricks secrets and insider tips are diversions to keep them out.
- Anyone can study and learn technique the hard part is coming up with great ideas in the first place.
- Many successful people succeed because they didn’t know that they couldn’t.
- If your idea is truly great you will not abandon it.
Talent vs Skill.
- For a successful creative career you need both talent and skill and you need to know the difference between them.
- Talents are things that come easily to you.
- Skills are things you work hard at to balance against your talents. Talent is the central core.
- Talent is often invisible to the person who has it since it is effortless ability. We often think that to be good at something we must work hard for it.
- The problem with skill is that talented people neglect it and rely on talents as a crutch. They don’t bother to develop skills because there talent comes to them so easily.
- You have to accept and apply your talents and develop your skills.
- Find out what you are good at and become excellent at it. Find out what you are bad at and become mediocre at it.
Collaboration / partners.
- “There is no god greater than the god of creativity. All lesser gods must be sacrificed to his name” – Pastor Eman Laerton.
- If you are going to work with someone on a creative project clearly define your roles.
- Friends are one thing, business partners on a finite project are another.
- There is nothing wrong with being a benevolent dictator.
Am i too old? too young?
- A creative career is a lifelong commitment.
- Believe in your ability to constantly create new ideas in the future.
- The average life expectancy is 80 but many people grow old and worn out at 30 and stop being creative. John williams composed the soundtrack for Star Wars when he was 45.
- As you get older you should be collecting high level lessons and be moving away from physical labour to mental labour. You will no longer be paid for carrying heavy rocks but for your wisdom regarding where to place them.
- It doesn’t matter how old you are you can reinvent yourself at anytime.
- Dont look back at what you’ve done and measure yourself against it. Work in a vacuum.
- Move on and try new things and make your life an adventure.
Launch it into space.
- As soon as you start making stuff release it !You want to start getting feedback right away. Dont be afraid of input. Share your ideas with others to gain outside perspectives.
- The important thing is it is out there.
Put yourself on the world showcase.
- At some point in your creative development you are going to need to stand alone against the whole world. The sooner the better.
- Publish your work in highly visible places where it will be compared to the masters.
- You have got to get over the fear of not being good enough so go for it.
Compare your work to the best.
- Always have a reference, When you are working on a piece of music have something on hand to compare it to .
- Make sure your art is in good company. If you listen to good music all day your own music will get better.
- Calibrate your sense of quality. You can use critical thinking and problem solving to find out what your art is lacking. Train yourself to notice the difference.
- All feedback and criticism is constructive. The two goals of taking criticism. 1: Improving your work. 2: Improving your work.
- As unpleasant as it can be without feedback or criticism you will never know what works and what doesn’t.
- For it to work people must pay attention to it.”If you can’t learn to control peoples eyeballs you are screwed. and the only way you are going to learn that is by sticking things in front of those eyeballs and finding out what happens.
Good news: no one cares.
- The good news is that unless you are already succeeding no one is going to care what you do. Enjoy the artistic freedom of obscurity. So do not overthink it.
- If you are going to be committed to the long term you have to start releasing stuff and have that be the normal process.
- Hold onto the paradox : 1: This is the big one and 2: This is just another thing i do.
A culture of critics.
- TV talent shows are creating a culture of snobby , critical and mean people who love to watch other people fail.
- Art is not a competition it is self expression and never forget that.
- People are quick to predict what won’t work and if you listen to that crap you might never make or release anything.
Creating the ultimate supervillain.
- Do you want everyone to like you ? Time to get over that.
- Thousands of people hating you will not hurt your creative career.
- “The beginnings of great things cannot be seen by your naked eye” – David lee roth
- Every creation needs a reason to exist THis is the seed. Without it your art will be in a state of existential crisis.
How to die a polymath.
- Everyone who wants a creative career should learn the basic mechanics and theory of Writing, drawing, design , music , photography and video.
- You do not need to be good at all of them just get a grasp of the fundamentals.
- You will be amazed at the concepts you can learn from making a lateral move from one form of expression to another.
- Banish “Most people are stupid” from your vocabulary. It is how most people got to be stupid.
Building your own spaceship
- The magical workshop. The secret factory. The underground laboratory.
- If you are going on this mission you have to build your own spaceship and you are going to spend a lot of time on it.
- This does not mean go out and buy a bunch of decorations.
- The first commandment in setting up a top secret laboratory is this : YOU MUST TAKE IT SERIOUSLY.
- Declare what you are doing is real and important. Designate a sacred room/ desk/ car/ laptop as the spaceship. Its going to be your helm, your captains chair.
- Treat it with the utmost respect. Clean and organise it everyday It is a living shrine to your creative career.
- Do not allow visitors to wear shoes on your carpet. You would be amazed at what a difference this makes.
Tools and materials.
- They serve a purpose. The tools themselves are not the purpose. People who buy expensive gear and don’t use it are show offs and are not usually the people that get anything done.
- What are computers mostly used for ? Resizing photos , typing text and wasting time. The same thing we have been doing on them for ten years.
- People argue about brands like they argue about sports teams. It doesnt matter what brand anything is , a brand name is not a tool it is a decal.
- A tool is transparent cable connecting purpose to results. If you even see the tool you have missed the point.
- “Its like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finder, or you will miss the heavenly glory” – Bruce Lee
- Most of the great stuff throughout history was made with rudimentary tools. Tools are not a replacement for genius.
The Hardware/ Software eternal chase.
- You buy a new computer and it runs really fast.
- Over time you install new stuff, updates and patches , the latest OS.
- Your computer starts to run slow again so you have to buy a new computer. Its a trick.
- Dont be in a hurry to upgrade your software.
The location : Lets Move
- Population: You want to live in a place where it is easy to do all the uncreative boring things so they do not interrupt the creative process.
- Culture: What is the dominant culture of your location ? You want to live in a place that is clean and full of productive people.
- Safety: You do not want to live where you have to fear for your life.
- Infrastructure: How is your town designed ? If the infrastructure cannot handle the population be prepared to sit in traffic 4 hours a day. Which is a part time job you will not get paid for.
- Weather. You want to feel comfortable , how many months per year can you have your windows open ?
The time is now.
- : There will never be a “right time” so dont plan it or talk about it , just go.
- If you can do basic math you can figure out how to survive.
- Use your body. You have one and you should use it , do not live the life of a handicapped person. When no one is telling you what to do it is easy to let yourself go.
- Try walking, jogging or biking, get out and see the daylight. Its something the cubicle people never get to see.
- Your body is an engine and food is your fuel.
- It is easier to consume calories than it is to burn calories.
- You can easily consume a days worth of calories in ten minutes.
- What is sold as “Food” is not always food.
- Our bodies are not good at burning calories but they are good at storing calories.
Eat for your body not your tongue.
- Chemists hired by corporations have put chemicals in your food so that you won’t want to stop eating. It is you against them.
- This food often has no nutritional value because it is cheaper to put nutritionless crap in your body and make it taste good.
- It is absurd that one small organ , the tongue makes so many decisions for the boy.
- Food is fuel.
- Our bodies convert it to energy that is used when your body moves around. Never eat energy you don’t intend to immediately use
Skip the middle men.
- Skip the middleman and shove that handful of doughnuts straight into the toilet and flush em. Dont act as a living breathing sugar filter for your toilet.
- If your going to take mass manufactured chemicals to treat physical symptoms be aware of this: Pharmaceuticals are a profit driven business, The side effects can be worse than the original problem, Pills are not a substitute for lifestyle changes.
Find a good doctor.
- Your doctor should listen to you.
- Your doctor should be curious about your problems.
- Your doctor should address not only the symptoms but your lifestyle.
- A doctors office should be a place of holistic healing.
Extend your life.
- The result we are after with all of this talk of health and diet is life extension.
- Spend the extra time in life on your creative projects.
- Your goal should be to stay young and healthy for as long as you can.
Identify what you like and why.
- Read the owners manual for your mind. Study Logical fallacies, cognitive biases and lateral thinking.
- Pick your favourite band or movie and figure out what the one thing is that you could remove that would destroy it entirely.
Emulate others , but only as an exercise.
- Do not lose yourself in emulating others. This may not happen a lot early on while you are still learning and changing at an incredible rate.
- Learn to take ideas of other and embellish them.
- Learn things and then learn them again.
- If you watch an interesting video that you learned something from , watch it again.
- Part of the time you were probably integrating the information into your mind for the first time and missing other important points.
- Sometimes we have to learn the same lesson multiple times, but we understand it on a different level the next time.
- Try to do some sort of review of the ideas you have learned each day.
- Sometimes ideas are forgotten after a short amount of time and you need a reminder. Sometimes they make even more sense later.
- Keep an idea journal.
See through the cheese.
- Some of the most fantastic musical ideas and performances are hidden behind bad hairstyles, clothing and videos of 80’s metal bands.
- Do your best to see through the cheese in life and recognize true talent and skill.
- There are important things to learn and they are not always on display up front.
The spell is broken.
- “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist but you have ceased to live” – Mark twain.
- When we first experiance art it is a mystery. A magic trick
- As creators we gain knowledge of how things are made.
- When they say “Art is in the eye of the beholder” it doesn’t mean “everyone has a different opinion” It means our mind is the only place it can exist.
- Sculptures aren’t made out of marble they are made out of meaning.
- Always seek out older successful creatives who believe in you .
Your heroes must become your peers.
- Realize that as you progress through your career your heroes will become your peers you may even find that you advance past them in certain areas.
- Be your own hero.
Traditional education isn’t your thing ?
- Dont feel bad. Most famous creative people have decided to design their own educations.
- Even Albert Einstein dropped out of high school.
Should i go to that expensive music / film technology school ?
- AS an alternative to that expensive college you could use what you would spend on attending it to actually start funding your creative career.
- You’ll learn more doing that than any classroom or textbook will teach you.
The difference between a piece of paper and an education.
- The piece of paper, a diploma or certificate, tells the world “Hire me and i will fit nicely into your machine”.
- It says absolutely nothing about your creativity, which in a creative career is everything.
- Of course the world needs cogs, we are all cogs at one time or another. The trick is to be a cog in your own creative machine.
The five basic problems to solve.
- Be clean. Be on time. Be organise. Dont fight with people. Don’t spend more money than you earn.
- If you never get these figured out you will forever remain a child that is unable to deal with higher level problems.
What is mastery?
- If you become a master writer you will learn the same fundamental things about life as a master painter.
- Its not about the particular things we accomplish.
When you become a black belt its not about the belt itself. You have demonstrated mastery of Self.
- It just so happens that self employment is the perfect vehicle for self mastery.
The sign on your back.
- Ever notice that everyone you meet has something fundamentally wrong with them ? Some important concept they don’t grasp ?
- Here is a theory . You have a tragic flaw and only you are blind to it. To everyone else it is blatant. Written loud and clear like a sign on your back.
- You can see the reaction to the sign in everyones eyes, but no one will tell you what it says. In fact they can’t.
- You can spend your whole life trying to read that stupid sign. You may as well form a healthy working relationship with it . No amount of introspection will reveal it .
- However the more you address it the closer you can get to deducing what it says the stronger art you will make.
Time and Energy Control
Walking the one true path.
- This means everything in your life is unified towards your creative career.
- Unless you make this your highest priority it will never happen.
- You need to achieve what the church of the subgenius calls time control . Meaning you want to control all of your time.
- There usually is no “on the side” .
The Three shifts.
- A traditional day job ends up taking 12 hours of your day. If you include the time getting ready, travelling, eating lunch
- Pace yourself , to be able to balance everything break your day up into three shifts, four hours each.
- Shift 1 : Inspiration. 9 AM – 1 PM. Any project that is long term and requires creative vision do that first thing in the morning. This shift is the most important and the other shifts exist only to support it. THe work during this shift might not pay off for years.
- Shift 2. Technical and freelance work . 1pm – 5pm. This is where you do the boring things for other people , suspend your own identity and follow order. Turn your creative skills into technical skills and sell them to support other artists and small businesses. This is so you can pay rent and utilities.
- Shift 3. Research and practice. 5pm – 9 pm . This is time spent learning and improving. Think of it as night school.
Day on / Day off.
- You can also try working one day for them one day for you .
- Whatever you do take control and find balance.
- Do not live a scattered life only reacting to whims and distractions.
To Do Lists.
- When you are an employee you have a to do list. The boss sends you an email and it goes on the list You do not question it.
- Beware it is easy to fall into this same trap if you are self employed. ILearn to say no.
- Remember you have the power to look at your to do list and select which items will achieve outcomes.
- Beware of compound procrastination. If you are not careful you will end up with too many unrelated things on your to do list, scattered errands that do not make sense and since there is no possibility of arranging them in a linear order you cannot get started.
- Sometimes the only answer is to set aside the factory mindset and start on one of them.
- Some activities are more enjoyable when you take your time. Work is not one of them.
- Strive for efficiency in all things, you do not want to double back, carry things you do not need, pay extra fees or make another phone call.
- If you have a large project ahead of you invest a small amount of time up front in workflow design.
- If you analyse your workflow you can save a lot of time and energy. so don’t do stuff the long way.
Ideas plans and productions.
- These are all different things. Some ideas don’t deserve to be turned into plans. Thats OK.
- Too often people come up with a great idea and plan then get discouraged because the production doesn’t happen.
- The fact is only a small number of productions succeed.
- Chances are someone else has the same idea that you have but are they going to plan and produce it ?
EROEI: The vengeful god at the center of the galaxy.
- This stands for Energy returned on energy invested. From the day you are born you leak energy. Its a slow drain and you don’t get it back .
- What you do with the rest of it is up to you.
- Dont be a passive consumer be the creator, this is active and has an exponential reward.
- Focus the majority of your time and energy on activities that are consequential to your future.
Money / Finances
You don’t want to be rich.
- If you are rich you will most likely spend your money on things that do not make sense and lose perspective on the creative energy in the universe.
- You dont want to be rich you want to be responsible for large amount of money (energy).
- Even though rich people think they do , no one owns money or energy. Certain people are only merely able to temporarily redirect them from one place to another.
Lemonade stand capitalism.
- What matters is the effect we create with that money. The outcome . The end results.
- Money is a generic tool that can be used to do good or bad things
- Make conscious and wise choices with not only how your acquire it but how you spend it.
- If you run a lemonade stand keep it to a scale where the greatest amount of people involved still care about the lemonade .You don’t want to become a faceless corporate machine.
Eternal vigilance: Financial accounting software.
- If you are committed to not being homeless go and buy yourself accounting software.
- Keep track of all monthly expenses.
- Keep track of what creative services are generating the most profit. Which clients are the best investment of energy ?
The universe will pay you.
- Every artist starts out with the fear they will never make a living.
- If you do great work and share your creative value with the universe it will get around to paying you .
- Nothing makes you an expert on a subject more than being able to do it for a living.
Not everything should be measure numerically.
- With the importance of measurement in our society we’ve become fixated on arbitrary numbers.
- Money is only one way of transferring energy and value between one person and another.
- Money is abstract and subjective, not a fixed material value.
Losing the game isn’t more noble.
- If life is a big game of monopoly. What’s wrong with winning ? Why is losing more noble?
- Someone will always lose and it doesn’t need to be you.
Keeping your balance.
- Cashflow is a steady flow of payments received.
- Paying yourself requires measure discipline and vigilance.
The problem with materialism .
- All of the material items you purchase is a waste of energy because its not actually yours
- You can’t truly own anything in this world you can only rent it until you die.
- Get rid of stuff you don’t use.
- Most of what you own is mass produced junk that can be easily acquired again if you need it.
- “The things you own end up owning you” – Tyler Durden.
- You need to be willing to scrap it it and start over again. If you do not stay in a state of reinvention in real time life will come along and kick you ass when you least expect it.
- Destruction is part of creation.
- Once you hit the bottom a couple of times it won’t scare you anymore.
Being poor is expensive.
- Banks love to punish us for being poor. If you operate near zero you will be paying a whole lot of extra charges. Overdraft fees, late fees etc.
- Stay as far away from $0 as possible. Always plan ahead and build a buffer to avoid getting sucked into the money black hole.
- An abundant lifestyle is actually less expensive and requires less energy than being poor.
Live in the future.
- Plan things a day in advance. Then plan things a week in advance, then a month and so on. Learn to live in the future.
- Prepare for your life rather than living in a state of panic and emergency.
Patching the holes.
- In the same way we leak energy we are also leaking money. Every dollar you spend should work for you .
- Food: There is no reason that you should be spending more than $5 a day on food. Thats only $1825 a year. Restaurants are not good places to get food.
- Clothing: Blank t shirts and plain jeans are cheap and simple to wear.
- Magazines: Don’t buy magazines just read online.
- Avoid Retails: Try to buy directly from manufacturers or distributors.
- Buy in Bulk. Whenever you can buy in bulk. Take advantage of quantity discounts.
Buy money, don’t save it.
- When you put money into a savings account you are essentially buying money.
- People don’t do it because it is boring yet it is one of the smartest things you can do.
- If you want money so badly why are you in such a hurry to spend it ? Go and buy money right now , even if it is only $5.
Consider yourself lucky.
- If you make any money at all for being creative. Many great artists poets and inventors die bankrupt and insane.
The business side of the business
Hobbyists, amateurs & professionals.
- A pro is learns every facet of his art and demands respect for it an amateru gives up or hires someone else to do things because he is only good at one thing.
- A pro turns up on time and gets everything done but an amateur waits for someone else to succeed for him .
- A pro gets a break and exponentially turns it into a career an amateur self sabotages , complains.
- A pro studies peripheral topics related to his primary field of expertise. An amateur is at the mercy of unknown technology that is never set up right.
- A pro studies his craft relentlessly, an amateur studies losers and eventually becomes one.
- Hobbyists love to do what they do but they don’t really take it seriously. There is no pressure for these guys They have fun with it on the weekends and it is a positive experience ,there is nothing wrong with that.
- The pro is world class who trains every day adjusting his entire lifestyle to be the best at what he does. For him it is also a positive experience The work is a massive reward in itself.
- An amateur is really just a deluded hobbyist who masquerades as a pro by expecting to support himself off his hobby. Hobbyists don’t like to work they just like to have fun and its the same with amateurs.
- If you don’t choose to be a pro consider just being a hobbyist. Whatever you do , don’t be an amateur.
Got factory ?
- If you need to hire someone shop for a pro with a fully armed and operational creative battle station. If you don’t see a factory don’t trust him . Just assume the work will never get done. They need to have an assembly line and work on it everyday for a living.
- “If you want something done give it to a busy person”
- It takes a lot of work for someone just to get a factory up and running.
The eternal audition.
- Be prepared to spend your entire life trying to prove yourself.
Marketing / Communication
Sales is not a bad word.
- Helpful Delusion : When you see the word “Sales” or “Marketing” replace them with “communication”.
- Artists are notoriously bad salesmen, that is because there first instinct when trying to sell themselves is to imitate bad salesmen. They learned this from amateurs , telemarketers , ticket scalpers, door to door solicitors and used car commercials.
- Sales is not beating people up until they buy.
- Sales is about connecting with people, tell a story they can relate to . The Best salesmen are not salesmen. They are friends. They are the ninjas that make the most sales.
- Brute force is for salesmen who are scared to get real. They don’t care about the people they are talking to they just care about selling widgets.
- Don’t sell the container , sell the content (the meaningful story) and people will buy the container. Be a great storyteller and connect with people and you will sell more widgets than you can imagine.
Story trumps all.
- Want to be a musician but cant sing, your guitar is missing string, you only have one microphone and you don’t know what a verse or chorus is ? None of this matters if you can tell a powerful story with your music that will be the only thing that counts.
- It is the same with all other creative projects.
- Always try and connect with some fundamental idea that you want to share with the world.
- Music is not the notes, it is the meaning . Music is nothing but a collection of symbols to display meaning.
- Dont get stuck in the symbols, don’t get stuck in the language of the language. It is all about the meaning and the story.
Throw away your tools.
- Forget about quality , technique , tools and form. A great story can be told regardless of those limitations.
- Even if all you can do is talk you can still tell a powerful story. You are ready to do this when you are ready to tell the world about itself.
The worship of technique.
- Bad creatives in general focus on technique above all else. When we start technique is our primary obstacle, later on its hard to let go of that enemy.
- Dont show off with technique, show off with great ideas.
- Get the writing out of the way of the story, get the playing out of the way of the music, get the special effects out of the way of the movie.
- You have got to tell a story , a narrative, and it needs to be grounded. Primal. Simple.
- The greatest art can be reduced to a simple , central premise that anyone can understand and the rest is only decoration.
Text and subtext.
- Text is what you say subtext is what you mean.
- if you go around talking about how famous and important you are the subtext will give you away because if you really were you wouldn’t have to say it.
- Honking happens a lot on social networking. A honker is an unimaginative artist whose sole purpose for social networking is to promote their latest cd, book , movie or live performance “Honking” about it obnoxiously like a ugly , fat goose.
- Impersonal, generic messages full of data that don’t amount to much more than “Click on my link”.
- “I make the act of doing business part of the creative act. I involve it in the overall concept of what i do. Which has led to some rather amusing album covers. I think and some pretty bizarre advertising campaigns for the products. If you have to advertise make it interesting. If you have to do an album cover make it interesting. If you have to do an interview make it interesting. You should always make it interesting” – Frank Zappa.
- Frank Zappa wasn’t just selling albums he was sharing his imagination with the world.
- You cannot have a creative career and be focused on product based selling.
- Revenue has to come from : 1. Live personal interaction . Live shows, workshops, Retreats. 2. Limited edition , one of a kind collectables. Forget trying to sell things people can download. Take a cue from the comic book , sci fi audience. Sell statues, mugs, anything that someone can put on their desk, hold in there hand, touch. Make it special, make it rare.Make it cool.
- Everything else that can be downloaded is free. Give it away. This is the new world and the way it works.
Naming your company.
- The best names for creative companies are : 1. Creative and fun 2. Easy to spell and remember. 3. Unusual.
- Dont overthink it , if what you do is fantastic the name is secondary.
The downward spiral.
- We have all heard or said the phrase “Most people are stupid”. Banish it from your vocabulary. It is a downward spiral known as popular media.
- If we assume most people are stupid we make stupid art.
- Dont contribute to the downward spiral and dont be stupid.
Web design for artists.
- There are no websites only content. Get your website out of the way and get to your message. Don’t bury your most important content three levels deep, put your best stuff on the front page.
- Just have great content, no one cares about buttons or bouncy things. Website visitors are distracted and impatient and in a hurry.;So keep it simple.
- The homepage should have your main point which can be digested in thirty seconds. One title, one photo, one media clip and one descriptive paragraph.
- All the rest of your junk goes to the basement of your website for those random stalkers.
Show me the panda.
- What is the result you want out of your website ? What action do you want the visitor to take ? Buy a panda? laugh at pictures of pandas? Subscribe to your podcast on pandas?
- Clear a short straight path to the panda button. Center aisle. Big display. Spotlight. No distractions . No clutter.
Pleasing the demigods of professionalism.
- Too many people have the wacky idea in there mind that they need to be “professional”. They have to be the victims of brainwashing as they believe people will take jobs and opportunities away from an artist who does anything remotely edgey or weird.
Proffesional does not mean formal and corporate.
- All it really means is that you are for real . It means you really work in the business you claim to and that you are solid and reliable.
- Professional is often subtext. You demonstrate that you are professional you dont say you are professional with fancy words.
- Dont be afraid to be your unique self. You can’t afford to be anything more boring than you already are. The world needs mutants.
The formality scale.
- All communication is somewhere on the formality scale . From slang, Informal and common to formal and corporate. Use the register that is easiest and makes the most sense.
- Don’t try and force yourself to speak in the formal register instead of just talking like a regular person.
- Dont ever try to sound more educated than you are.
Why so Smarmy?
- Amateru writers think everything has to be written in a smarmy register. Its because they have read a lot of bad writing.
- The intention of bad writing is to communicate “ I know more about the english language than you.”
- They disregard the purpose of writing which is to share an idea with the reader.
Candles vs Wildfires
- Trying to spread a weak message is like lighting individual candles on fire one by one and trying to keep them lit. A powerful message is like a wildfire. If your fire frequently goes out then maybe you should just let it, important fires keep burning.
- Named after Lance Lumpkin it states “The less valuable something is the more it requires advertising”.
- People put themselves through the agonizing process of making their art as boring and normal as humanly possible and then wonder why they have to beg people to pay attention to it. .
- “Great art sells itself” – “A superior message advertises itself”
- If what you do is remarkable people will remark about it .
- Every time you say come out to my show or buy my new album what is the subtext? that no one wants to.
- Self promotion is the delicate art of subtext. If you talk the plot it is over.
- “If people aren’t talking about what youve done , what youve done isnt worth talking about”
The clown car of fame
- Too many people want to be stars. In previous generations kids wanted to be doctors, plumbers or firemen.
- Only a certain percentage of the population can be famous.
How to be interviewed.
- When doing an interview one bad instinct people have is to censor themselves and when the camera is turned on they try and hide the interesting parts about themselves.
- To be an interesting person you need depth, you need flaws and vulnerability. You need to surprise people. Its the unexpected that people are interested in.
- No dark side = no interest.
- Its the unusual cars with the dents in them that get names and personalities.
- Dont be like a talk show host in training who thinks everything is amazing.
- For something to be interesting, it has to be broken in some way. People are drawn to dissonance.
- Audiences can’t see much detail, they are wired to pay attention to things that stand out from the background noise and break patterns.
- Things that are normal and invisible.
- When someone asks you what you do , be specific.
- This is an opportunity to tell your story why what you do is different and special.
- If it is not then why are you doing it ?
Points of interest.
- When you are trying to promote a product come up with a point of interest.
- Hit the high points , what is different about it ?
- Dont talk about the things that have stayed the same from day to day , it has to be the newest , the biggest or the first of its kind.
Going Viral … and other cliches.
- For something to go Viral it has to be something so outrageous and absurd you can help but spread it .
- t has to be : Easy to share . Easy to understand from beginning to end. Surprising and unexpected. Dangerous. Never seen before, ever. Taboo.
Why do we care ?
- To concoct a pseudo phenomenon you can’t be too edgy out of the gate.
- You first need your setup to establish point A. Then you can shock everyone when you move to point B.
- There has to be a story of change. Changing sides. Changing from good to evil. Changing from light to dark.
Social media destroys hollywood.
- Few people are doing anything important with it.
- Before adding data to the internet you should define which form of online communication you should define which form of online communication you intend to employ …
Forms of online communication.
- Announcements: These are statements that communicate who/what/where and when data for those who are interested.
- Open Queries: These are public questions that are intended to generate open commentary , discussion and debate.
- Private messages: Sent from one person to another.
- Instant messages: For immediate active discussion in real time.
- Text messages: For when simply using your voice for a short message is not an option.
- Personal Journals: Keeping track of your own personal activities so that you can refer to them later
- Don’t get these mixed up , streamline your messages.
Will power, Discipline and self-control
What is willpower?
- This is all about that moment when you must be conscious, focus your intent and do the right thing.
- It is easy to drift off and become the slave of habit, whim or inertia. Wake up as it is too easy to become a zombie.
The inconsistency of genius.
- Some days you will be a genius , some days you will suck. It is impossible to predict what kind of day it is. Great art is the product of those few genius days.
- Show up everyday and do the work.
Get fired everyday.
- How can you stay motivated ? Think of a telephone salesman. His entire career is spent unemployed , ringing up and trying to find a job but the flipside of that is he is never unemployed because he creates his own destiny.
Be aggressively responsible.
- Always look for new ways to be responsible.
- Take the initiative to solve problems without being asked.
- Never work for someone who does not take responsibility for their own company.
Crash course in Self Control
- Stop pretending to be a helpless creature. You physically control all of your own limbs You control your own hands.
- When you are busy , engaged in living life and having real experiences and real problems you stop thinking about …(fill in the blank)
- This is not emotional repression , focusing on bad things is not more authentic and real than focusing on real things.
Learn to say no.
- Reasons you are scared of saying no : Someone won’t like you . Well maybe and maybe not.
- No is healthy, no is boundaries, no is strength.
- You will lose opportunities: Saying no also creates opportunities because you will be free to focus your time and energy on what you really want instead of what someone else wants.
Lift weights with your mind.
- We always like to think there is a hidden trick or a shortcut.
- The truth is we must do the mundane , obvious work thats in front of us. It takes time and energy and is direct , hands on work. You must do it every day.
- Like a muscle your willpower will become stronger the more you use it.
- All of those years of slave labour will turn you into conan the barbarian.
The puritan work (my)thic
- We are raised to believe that working hard for its own sake is a virtue but it is not.
- The purpose of work is to get results> Always ask yourself if you could get the same results without working hard.
What is work?
- Another Helpful Delusion : If you are doing something you enjoy . You are not working .
- Every job will have some form of work , some part of it that you will find unpleasant.
- If you are not doing something unpleasant you are not making an effort. Accept that life is a struggle.
- Everyone, everywhere is struggling against something. Its why storytelling is always the story of struggle. Expect it , welcome it and manage a healthy relationship with it.
- Sometimes its possible to have two things at once but sometimes its not.
- There is only so much time in the day and you have a finite amount of energy.
- A sacrifice is not a failure.
- What is an adult ? No one else is responsible for me in any way. That means physically,. emotionally , financially. No one owes me anything , ever.
- If i die and no one cares that is perfectly fine.
- I can’t expect anyone to care about me more than i do.
- I have the ultimate responsibility to look after my machine as no one else is in my body or mind.
- If you could climb inside a giant robot what would you want to do with it ? Would you tell it to work a boring job and come home and watch TV every night ? Would you destroy it by pouring sugar in the gas tank ?
The child must die.
- “The Boy must die”
- Adults are givers, creators of life. Children are needy takers. Psychological neoteny is what happens when a body grows into an adult but the mind remains a dependant child. One aspect of this is caring what other people think.
- Being able to stand on your own and disagree with people is a sign of adulthood. Of course learning to work with people despite disagreements is another sign.
I am responsible.
- Do not seek endless advice from others. Don’t blame your superiors.
- Its easy to blame someone who has take responsibility of making decisions but much harder to make decisions of your own.
RTFM for your mind.
- Everyone should be required to study logical fallacies, cognitive biases and lateral thinking.
- Logical fallacies are illogical arguments. They might appear logical on the surface but tend to involve mistakes through wordplay.
- Cognitive Biases: These are strange mental behaviours THink of them as prejudices rather than simple logical errors.
- Lateral thinking: This is making leaps, solving a problem backwards or sideways. Ask questions we normally wouldnt ask .
- Creative people are prone to emotional problems. To have a breakdown you need to have machinery that can breakdown in the first place. Congratulations ! You are capable of divergent thought !
- Anxiety: The feeling that something is wrong but i don’t know what. Feels like your brain has to pee. Better to interpret it as a sign that something needs to change. Use it.
- Depression: This is the creative mind saying “I give up”.
- Depression is addictive: You can deconstruct everything until it has no meaning and it makes you feel smarter than everyone. Once you start expecting things to go wrong you will hope they do go wrong so you can be right about it Its like a drug, like the dark side, like a Sith Lord.
- A vicious web of entropy: Depression is a mental state that reinforces itself. It is a cycle that will not stop until it has destroyed you .
- Solution: Pretend you are not depressed. It is simple and obvious but it works. Get out of the house and talking to people. Take action, clean your house, take a shower, go for a jog, do some writing, listen to some Jim Rohn. Sometimes depression is just passing through like a bad flu.
- Control Freak: “Some things you can control and some you can’t . Figure it out or you are one of THEM”.
- A creative career is equal parts logic and illogic. An audience will get a vague sense of if something was good or bad but they cannot tell you why. Our meticulous craftsmanship means little to them.
- Stop watching the news: The news is manufactured to scare you, upset you, keep you watching for longer so you watch commercials. If you really need to know if everything is ok go outside and look in the sky for mushroom clouds.
- Make a physical change: Don’t get caught up in your head. If you want something to change you must take a physical action in the real world. . Wash some dishes do some pushups Move a pile of books.
- Change your actual behaviour. Until then nothing has changed.
- Integrate your identity: Be one person, stop trying to present yourself in multiple ways. “This is my professional web page, this is my fun web pages, this is my random web page”.
- Integrating is all about integrity. Be ok with who you are all the time. The people you want to impress are smarter and more genuine than you think and they understand no one is a cardboard cutout.
- Social Metaphysics: Games vs Reality. Social metaphysics is the act of replacing our direct connection to the physical world with accepted social conventions.
- Question popular definitions.
- Take a Day off: Take one full day off per week. You will be more effective if you rest.
What the heck are friends ?
- They call without wanting something. They have inside jokes and they help when you are at your worst.
- Not everyone in the world is going to like you. So what ? There are too many people out there for you to waste your time on.
- Just remember to be yourself it is the only way to attract people who will appreciate you for who you are.
Freinds are containers.
- You will normally first become friends with people who happen to be around you . But as you mature you want to become friends with people who are wise with good intentions, mutual benefit, good decision making, investing and receiving good energy.
We are relationships.
- You are what you are because of what you are relative to someone else.
- Be sure to relate to the right people.
Alienation is good.
- The more you learn about a topic, the fewer people will know that information . That is OK that is the price you pay for being an expert.
- Its ok to spend a lot of time alone. Most creative people do.
The illusion of status.
- Do not place yourself below anyone.
- What you do is just as valid and real.
- Status is only determined by the ruler you are using to measure.
- A person of authentic value does not need to display status , fame or wealth.
- When you meet someone for the first time you only see what they want you to see. You interact with a mask not a person.
- Getting to know someone is the process of unmasking, for both of you.
Acting in real life
- You can learn a lot from role playing just “don’t believe your own press”
Mind your own business.
- People are not as concerned with what you are doing as you think they are.
- If they are it just means their own lives are boring and they are wasting energy.
- “Dont waste your energy paying attention to people wasting their energy.”
- You dont need to care what other people are doing you are a unique person with a unique perspective.
The pretense of fame and popularity.
- Are there many behaviours you take on simply because you want to project your pretend identity ?
- It is exhausting to maintain an illusion.
The delusion of infinite scale.
- Don’t build a bloated impersonal machine. Keep it small, or a proper size, service the outcome.
- You don’t need a massive audience. These days it’s as if everything is created with the intention of being a mainstream blockbuster. Its absurd.
- Dont try and overscale your audience.
- Figure out how many people are going to be interested and focus on reaching those people.
People are broken machines.
- Machines DO follow logic. People Dont. Half of the work a human brain does is irrational.
- People problems dont always have a logical solution.
- You cannot tell what is going on in their chaotic mind , its almost as if they are individuals.
Management / Leadership
- The leader of a creative team must: Be in the trenches. Take all ideas and suggestions seriously. Be patient. Never tolerate trolls. Value the success of a project above your own power. Propose the best course of action not dictate it. Wrangle creative people and keep them on schedule. Do the random work thats left over. REcognise the contributions of the teams. Get results.
How to hire famous people
- As long as you can pay them something and what you are asking them to do is not embarrassing they will probably agree. Email them and try at least three times.
- Once you get one involved you can get as many as you like. Its like a secret handshake.
- Give them an opportunity to do something they don’t normally get to do and have fun.
- It helps if your project is really strange.
- You will hear no more than you hear yes. Keep knocking.
- Communication should be kept simple.
- Always communicate on an intellectual AND AN EMOTIONAL level.
- Dont try and sound smarter than you are.
- if the reader doesn’t understand you have failed.
- A conversation is two people talking and listening to each other.
Part 2: THEM
Why Freelance ?
- No commute. No uncomfortable shoes. Keeps your technical skills sharp. You can fire your boss at anytime.
- IF you are not freelancing the bulk of your existence will be consumed by following orders and suppressing your mental faculties to make someone else rich.
- Employee Mindset: I have a life but i don’t know what to do with it so i rent it out to someone else
- Until the planet is destroyed be a good cockroach and get back to work. Someone somewhere has your dream job. Dont let the news tell you what’s impossible.
- Its good to work with artists and small businesses. They are excited about their project. Usually only one decision maker. More creative than working with a corporation.
Workflow / Organisation
Organising your space.
- If don’t use it you can’t see it. Put everything that serves no function in the closet. Better yet. Sell it.
Gmail as a to do list.
- Gmail is my to do list. If something is in your inbox it means it requires action. Any email that doesn’t require action gets archived.
Dont call me.
- There is only one reason to talk on the phone: When the internet is broken. .
- If there is business to be discussed or any technical information you want it in email. You will have a searchable trail of info so there can be no debate later about who said what.
- It requires you to think before you talk.
- It saves time.
- The phone is an interruption.
- A phone is only better than email if you want to get a feel for someones personality.
- Make emails elegant and to the point. When giving instructions use bullet points. Dont hide the actionable vaguely hidden within chunks of personal text.
How to name your files.
- Attach your name to your files and give it a meaningful searchable name.
- Switching tasks wastes time and energy. When you are running a factory line all your tasks up in groups like an assembly line and work through them all.
- In everything there comes a point where the amount of energy you invest stops yielding a substantial return. Do not tweak and fidget on the smallest details that no one will ever notice.
- This refers to the transience and imperfection of all things. Everything is in motion. Things are being made or destroyed We are all in a constant state of change.
- Things are meant to serve a purpose not to be flawless.
- Everything in this world is a knock off of something that is perfect. At the same time perfection itself is an illusion.
Done is the engine of more.
- Read the Cult of Done Manifesto. Its brilliant. Google it.
Outrun the bear.
- Two campers are walking through the forest and encounter a bear, it starts charging to eat the campers. Remember you don’t have to outrun the bear, only the other camper.
Keep the meter running.
- Always use a time clock program and log your hours. When you work for someone it doesn’t matter if it is a few minutes or a few hours log it and charge them.
- Your time is valuable. Sometimes free time is priceless.
- Charge for “Project management. If you are reading someones email or if you are even thinking about their project, charge for it. Charge for your attention and focus.
- You sell your time and attention, you don’t rent it because you don’t get it back .
Diversify your income.
- The more diversified your income streams the more freedom you will have to walk away from any situation and towards the things you want to do.
- You can work for cheap or free sometimes if you get additional benefits or opportunities out of the situation.
Referrals: the magic word.
- If you do good work and get referrals you will never have to advertise.
- Get your factory running. Build a hurricane of busyness around yourself. People will get sucked in and start paying you.
Beware of people with bad ideas and money.
- Sometimes you find a client with seemingly unlimited financial resources. But they may have no connection between their goals and reality. Bad ideas are contagious.
Your client sucks.
- Referred by a problem client. They insist on calling on the phone and never email and you need to interpret for them. They start their email with the words “As per our conversation”. They email from their iphone, prepare for confusion.
Bad personality types.
- The hassler. Nothing is easy with this person they will call 15 times a day.
- The haggler: This guy need a discount, he doesn’t even really need it he just wants one.
- The poser: This person wants specific yet arbitrary thing. They might learn a random design rule and wonder whats wrong with you if you don’t follow it.
- The hurrier: They falsely project a sense of urgency to get you to work faster. They are desperate and disorganised.
- The compulsive writer:You want concise directions not novels. You want bullet points, twitter style.
- The hustler: This guy is plain dangerous. Get rid of him as soon as you can as he will drag you into all sorts of schemes that you will regret.
- The friend: This is a haggler in disguise as they will want you to work for free.
Jargon and mr. pop, the emphasizer of everything.
- A helpless design client knows just enough design jargon to use it wrong. He has no experience yet he is your boss.
- Mr pop wants every single word and image to “Pop” with equal significance.
- You are going to need to interpret people and deal with their lack of education and vocabulary. Its your job to educate them.
All freelance clients are insane.
- People make decisions for strange reasons.You can design something to the best of your ability and people will dislike certain aspects of it for no logical reason.
- Pretend that your job is in a mental hospital “When he doesn’t like the green snake , i hide the green snake.
The return of the cargo cult.
- Beware first drafts, people fear change, even if it is a really bad idea your client may cling to it because it is the first thing they saw.
- Stay away from large companies. You do not want to have the need for multiple people to sign off on things as it will take too long to communicate. You want to work with a single individual or small companies where you can immediately get in touch with people in charge who can make decisions.
How to fire a client.
- “Hi Client. I cant afford to take on any more work right now”. Thats all it takes.
- “If you want roses, Keep the weeds out” – Robert Ringer
The Final Word
- You can’t afford to let the dream die.
- Is it worth it ? Only you can decide.
- “”Keep doing nothing and when nothing happens don’t be disappointed” – Randi Rhodes
- “It was only real because we said it was real” – John Flansburgh, They might be giants.
- “Here is the secret. There are two things that you have to do . One of them is to not stop. And the other one is to keep going.” – Frank Zappa
So, you’re a creative genius … now what ?