Creativity as a Cure


f you are an artist who feels stuck in your art and not sure what direction to head, you are not alone.

What I have found though is that you are only limited by your own creativity. I personally have been in a rut artistically, especially in this transitional time in the creative industries and greater economy.

I feel like there is so much opportunity, so many tools, and so much freedom, that I am paralyzed. I feel like a painter given a huge white canvas and told to paint anything. Outside distractions easily keep me from using my creativity to find ways around my perceived limitations. The good news is that there are ways to break out!

Are you a musician? Take notes on how Trent Reznor builds his business. Are you a photographer? Take notes on how Chase Jarvis builds his business. Are you a cartoonist? Take notes on how Hugh MacLeod builds his business. The list goes on and on. These men are thriving in the arts during a time when others are hanging it up and throwing in the towel. The difference? Simple creativity.

Creativity costs nothing. Except maybe brain power.

Stop. Think. Write down your crazy, impossible, wacky, fun ideas. Don’t limit yourself. Make a list.

Then only share it with others you know can think bigger than these ideas. You may not know these people.

I know here in Nashville, they are plentiful. If you do not know any big thinkers, you are smart to keep this list to yourself.

Pick one idea that you like most, and then figure out ways to pull it off for free.

You may need volunteers. You may need to recruit students needing class credit. You may need to borrow gear. You may need to exchange something you have of value for something you need. You may need to politely ask someone for something. Do it!

Only after you have accomplished your new idea I believe, should you then share it with those who think smaller than you. Watch their reaction. They may say you cannot do it. They may call it stupid. They may point out where you will fail.

Then you can kindly share that they are wrong. Because you already did it, and you know what works. It might even nudge the dreamer asleep in their heart.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Trent Reznor is innovating so fast, those that follow his marketing moves cannot even keep up. The last I heard, he was rolling out his own iPhone App for his fans to connect better. According to Michael Masnick of Floor64, he follows this business model:

CwF + RtB = $$$

This translates, “Connect with Fans” plus “Reason to Buy” equals “Money” to sustain.

Chase Jarvis recently gave a talk entitled The Consequences of Creativity where he shared a very similar model for the photography world, or more accurately, the content publishing world:

Create >> Share >> Sustain

His point was to share everything we create, no matter how large or small, and that the results of those creative moves will spawn ways you can sustain your creativity.

Now, many creatives just starting off like myself may argue that these business models help only those with money, connections, fans, time, publicity, or the benefits of old-school traditional marketing that make launching new ideas easy.

I hear this argument loud and clear. And for some, it is valid. For most, however, including myself, it is totally an excuse to feel better. To let our inner realist kick our inner dreamer around and feel good about it. But bullies never change the world.

If you’re a small thinker, hater, or safety chaser,
whiner, realist, or black coffee maker,
take just a moment to visit a dreamer,
or even better yet the King of all dreamers,
and find an idea that tickles your fancy,
create it, connect it, and share it where all see
the incredible fruit of your creativity.
Jeff Dolan

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