Why ‘Grit Conquers All’ when it comes to creative work

“An ounce of practice is generally worth more than ton of theory.”

E.F. Schumacher (author of the book Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered)

At last year’s Small is Beautiful conference in Glasgow, the first speaker was writer and author Jocelyn K Glei, who at the time was Founding Editor and Director of Behance’s 99U.com and also edited their excellent book series.

Micro-Businesses in the UK: The Good, The Bad and The Beautiful

rsa_second_age_of_small_preview‘The Second Age of Small’ is a new report jointly produced by artsy e-commerce giants Etsy and the UK organisation the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce).

They’ve put together a handy 9-part summary of the findings on their website, so in order to mark the 2nd Small is Beautiful conference happening this week in Glasgow, I thought I’d pick out the key points below:

Ambitions vs. Obstacles: My Year in Review

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Eating brekkie outside in the sun – a high point of self-employment during 2014.

Writing about a year is weird. A year isn’t a ‘thing’. It’s 12 months, in which a lot happens. How to sum it up? Why do we even feel the need to?

I don’t know, but for some reason it feels cathartic to do so. It allows us to move on from the themes of the last 12 months, and see the New Year as a fresh start. For that reason, it’s a positive exercise I think. And it gives me an excuse to finally write something here again after a long break.

I’ve loosely organised my 2014 annual review chronologically to make it easier to follow – although in some cases there is overlap between the sections.

Bill Murray: “The more relaxed you are, the better you are”

804803-bill_murray“I think the only reason I’ve had the career life that I’ve had is that someone told me some secrets early on about living. You can do the very best you can when you’re very, very relaxed, no matter what it is or what your job is, the more relaxed you are the better you are. That’s sort of why I got into acting. I realized the more fun I had, the better I did it. And I thought, that’s a job I could be proud of. It’s changed my life learning that, and it’s made me better at what I do.”

via: io9.com, Winnipeg Free Press

 

 

My Radio Enso Interview: Juggling paid work and personal projects

I was delighted to be invited to take part in an interview for Radio Enso, a fantastic podcast by Gregory Berg, who I met in Portland at WDS 2012 and who lives in San Diego.

Greg is a true gent, asks fantastic questions and once you hear his voice I think you’ll agree he was born to be a radio host. In fact he recently celebrated 130 episodes, three years on the air and 200,000 listens overall!

We talked about some of my favourite topics, which it turns out are also close to Greg’s heart – meditation, masculinity, music and the DIY ethos, and making a living from creative work for clients whilst also juggling personal projects.

The Ditch the Day Job Diaries: Edinburgh Festival Special

Find out all about the Edinburgh Festival, how my freelancing is taking shape, a follow up on how many coffees I have a day (zzzz).

Plus, I’ve shoehorned in an ‘Objects of Affection’ special which includes The Istanbul Review at The Edinburgh International Book Festival (you can also see the video on their homepage) , Vic Galloway’s new book ‘Songs in the Key of Fife’ and my first ever appearance in an actual printed book.

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Tiny Office TV: Five Tips for Focusing on Your Creative Work

I’ve been experimenting with short, rather silly videos on Instagram and Vine. I like the fact these are very limited in terms of length (Instagram videos can’t be any longer than 15 seconds, and Vine videos can’t be longer than 6 seconds). I also like the fact that there’s no real editing or uploading to do, unlike the Ditch the Day Job Diaries, which take ages.

So far, I’ve got six tips for you (although the last one is VERY daft indeed). Vine videos play automatically I’m afraid, and to hear the audio you may have to click on the ‘unmute’ symbol in the top left corner.

Want to see more? Keep an eye out for the hashtag: #tinyofficetv

Tiny Office TV trailer:

Tip #1: Turn off social media notifications

Tip #2: utilise the self-control app to get your work done quicker

Tip #3: keep a captain’s log (not that kind of log)

Tip #4: Take a dance break

Tip #5 (in 5 parts): Sometimes, to be your own boss you have to kick your own arse. (Or, if you don’t sit down to do it, the work ain’t gonna get done.)

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Join The International League of Creative Minds!

A few weeks ago, during covert communications between the UK and Germany, The International League of Creative Minds was formed.

Up until now this information has been Classified and on a Need to Know Basis only. The mainstream media were not informed, nor were the Whitehouse.

Information will continue to be transmitted at irregular intervals via the iTunes and Stitcher frequency bandwave. The League highly recommends that you subscribe to one of these methods in order to receive audio transmissions via your mobile computing device.

All roads lead to our base of operations mountain shores (dot) net where you can begin your initiation into the League.

This is only the beginning.

Markus Friese - Liebeslied-2000/Love Song 2000

Markus Friese – Liebeslied-2000/Love Song 2000

The Ditch the Day Job Video Diaries: Oslo Slow Travel Special

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Yesterday I posted the third Mountain Shores podcast, recorded in the sunshine on a mountainside in Oslo. If you want to know how we came up with that name and what it means, have a listen! (you can also see all of my photos from the trip).

Meeting up with two of my blogging pals in real life for the first time felt like a pretty momentous occasion, so I also decided to base a special episode of the Ditch the Day Job Video Diaries around the trip, and also to make it public (if you want to see previous episodes, you can subscribe to my free newsletter).

The Ditch the Day Job Diaries: World Domination Special

And after yesterday’s epic round-up post, you’ll be glad to know this is definitely my final post about the World Domination Summit 2012!

While I was in Portland I filmed some (rather shaky) footage and decided to edit it together for a kind of ‘bonus’ episode of The Ditch The Day Job Diaries. Whilst there isn’t any info about freelancing in the video, the trip is an important part of the story because it contributes to some of the decisions I’ve made that will be explored more in Season 2.

As well as clips from the PuttyTribe karaoke night, the Portland Blues festival, and the WDS opening and closing parties, the video also includes cameo appearances from four WDS friends:

Hung Pham, a Career Consultant turned Travel Photographer whose work can be found at www.HungOnTheWorld.com. Hung is currently on a 6 months trip to China, Vietnam, SE Asia, Australia, & New Zealand. I spent quite a bit of time with Hung in Portland and found him wise, hilarious, and extremely generous. Hung was also one of the attendees invited to speak on stage at WDS.

Melissa Dinwiddie, multipassionate artist, teacher and songwriter, who treated me to an impromptu ukelele gig/lesson in the park!  It was so lovely to meet Melissa “in real life” after knowing her for ages online and admiring everything she does to help creative people succeed. We had a great conversation about creativity and life in general (read my interview with Melissa here).

Dr Elise Bialylew, a trainee Psychiatrist and meditation teacher who writes at Curiously Creating and founded Mindful in May, an online, global meditation challenge. In May 2012 there were nearly 900 people meditating from 12 countries, that raised $26,000 for Charity Water. Pretty amazing eh? Elise is such a joy to be around, being extremely insightful, funny and a real force of nature, so I was delighted to be able to spend time with her despite the fact she never seemed to stay still for long!

Jason Digges, a professional video producer, musician, filmmaker, writer, photographer, philosopher, and entrepreneur. Jason writes at Practical Art. I met Jason right at the end of my trip and really enjoyed our conversations, and hearing his deeply spiritual perspective on things, as well as the four-person bike ride we enjoyed around the river with Hung and Elise! As a long-time creative freelancer, Jason also has a lot of experience and wisdom to share.

Finally, as we weren’t allowed to film during the event itself, here is the ever so slightly more slick official recap of the event, which is a bittersweet reminder just how far the gap is between my current video production skills, and what I would like to be able to achieve!

Is Your Employer Exploiting Your Creativity?

An article by a former ad man who sadly died of cancer recently has been doing the rounds.

He concludes somewhat bitterly that he had been deluding himself throughout his career by thinking that working in advertising was some kind of higher cause. He suggests that the industry as a whole exploits employees’ natural impulse to create as well as a tendency to set themselves high standards and crave praise more than money. Below is a short quote but the whole piece, whilst sobering, is well worth reading.

“It is a universal truth that all artists think they are frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed. We believe by working harder than anyone else we can evade detection. The bean-counters rumbled this centuries ago and have been profitably exploiting this weakness ever since. You don’t have to drive creative folk like most workers. They drive themselves. Just wind ‘em up and let ‘em go.”

What do you think? Are creative people being taken advantage of by employers?

Original source:  Business Insider