I’ve spent since Late January in an Akimbo workshop for creativity. It was, to sat the least, an incredible experience, one I’d direct others to take. I learned a lot but much of it was introspective. So it is time for a top 10 list of what I learned.
- Keep your day job – My art will not pay the bills, but it will change the world. So do something to pay the bills so you can change the world. If you can do something that does both, you are fortunate.
- Ship early, ship often Nothing happens unless you ship. Shipping kills resistance, gets people to notice you eventually, and makes you feel less like an impostor. You’ll feel like a temporary impostor when you get ready to ship the next thing, but it will be temporary as long as you ship.
- Genre matters Your audience and fellow artists will classify you by a genre. Having technical skills, following the expectations of a tribe, and having a mindset of a small group of artists makes you one of these artists.
- The intersection of idiosyncrasy and genre = Voice That does not mean you can’t get quirky. Your quirks( which is a lot easier to spell than idiosyncrasy) make you unique in the genre. Some will be intentional, some not so much. But they make you special as an artist.
- I’m a technical trainer My voice is of a technical trainer good at using stories to teach very complicated things simply. I have plenty of tools to do this, and I will use all of them as they fit the situation.
- Eve is out, Thoth is in one of my two audiences was the wrong audience. I don’t sell to soft skills trainers, who I call the Eve persona. Any hope of doing so is silly. The persona of the people who might buy my work is the Thoths (Named for a buddy of Konshu’s from the Moon Knight series), people buying technical training programs. They are an offshoot of the Icarus Persona (people who need technical training for self-learning) who have touched the moon and become moon gods, or put less poetically, they got promoted to management positions.
- Go pro, but go amateur too. We do many kinds of art. Some art we go pro and follow the genre and audience. some art we don’t. The art we don’t is what keeps us sane when frustration about being a pro or anything in our lives bothers us. Certain pieces that we would do in our profession or some other media we do only for ourselves and our self-satisfaction.
- Minimum viable audience, not the world. You don’t need an audience of everyone, or even an audience of a million. A thousand true fans are enough but start with ten, build to 100, then a thousand. These are manageable and with a lot fewer headaches than a million.
- Empathy is easier with understanding. We should use empathy with everyone, but some people are easier than others when we have frames of reference for their point of view.
- Keep it generous Giving your work will come back to you. Maybe not now, but in the future. It is important to seek your worth, but getting things out that people want is just as important.
Finally, like Nigel and his amp in This Is Spinal Tap, we need to go one louder.
- Friends and colleagues along the way are priceless. This was a group learning environment. I learned by interacting with other amazing creative people. I cannot count the value of everyone I talked to and the friends I’ve made. Those friends and learning partners inspired me as much as I inspired them.