Creative Design 1: Why I had being a "creative" all wrong
Most artists can't draw. But all artists can see - Roy Simmons
I won't lie, I'm pretty good at a lot of things. This isn't bragging, just reality. I was always above average in gym class in whatever sport we played, (and this was before I got bit by the lifting bug) I've always been good at my jobs, receiving promotions during every tenure. Technology comes easy to me. Bartending for 5 years taught me how to carry on a conversation. Detail work has become my speciality but I'm no stranger to big picture planning (see my Ultimate Vision post coming soon). There's always been one thing though I wish I was good at. That is drawing (or handwriting for that matter. Thank God for computers). I've always wanted to take a blank sheet of paper and create something awesome. I've had the belief up until recently that, since I couldn't draw, I was not a "creative".
This was until I came across Seth Godin's book "Linchpin". Also understand that this is the first time in my working career that I can express creativity and that it's apart of my job. Bartending is creative in a way. Carrying on a conversation while making 4 different kinds of South Sides is a skill (a South Side is a famous Long Island club drink that has more sugar in one drink than you are supposed to have in a week and goes great with basically any liquor). It wasn't until I was able to work on Niyi's podcast that my definition of being a "creative" shifted. Brandon Crocker, now back in the producer booth, while I was training to replace him at the time, said I had an ear for audio. Back to Roy's quote, you don't have to produce art on a piece of paper to be an artist. My ear has definitely gotten better with practice. My newest from scratch podcast (Flow State of Mind, which is killing it out of the gate) is a great example of this. I curated the intro to slowly increase in volume and crescendo at the peak time, then taper off at the 45 sec mark where the voice intro of the episode occurs. I love the intro. I fully believe now I am a "creative" and I've given myself permission to be one.
Seth describes an artist as "someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artist takes it personally." "Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn't matter. The intent does." This very blog is art. I put emotional labor into each post, speaking from the heart, and use my current insight to speak on topics. My boldness will increase with reps and I believe that is a natural progression of any art.
I believe reframing what it is to be a creative has given me permission to try new things and be bold without asking for permission. In my short stint of being a freelancer so far, I've learned that I possess the talent to not be told exactly what the client wants and exercise creative freedom. So much of corporate America and any "job" I've had before this comes with detailed instructions on exactly how something needs done. While that can be valuable from a certainty standpoint, it takes away from creative opportunities that could exist. Running a cash register at Best Buy? Maybe doesn't need any creativity. Launching a podcast with the intro matching the host's personality or creating a website to reflect who the site represents? Need a lot of creativity there. While progression with reps is a given, my advice to anyone is: give yourself permission to explore multiple ways and different styles of anything you're trying to create. Art is a gift. A labor of love and exploration and passion. For the Flow State of Mind podcast, I created about 8 different intros. I believe from start to the 8th one, I got better and better and finally got a sense of what the final product would sound like. Same way with my logo creation that Igor did (post coming soon). I believe creating art for the world is in every human's best interest. It allows us to be completely in our own head and not listen to anyone else. It allows us to be authentically, us.