Tuesday, May 05, 2015

...About Getting Started

There are so many things that I want to do. Always have been, and I'm guessing there always will be. To me, that's really a good thing. It keeps me busy and occupied, and makes sure that my mind is always active and pushing itself to discover new things.

I've discovered over time that it is exceptionally easy to get started doing any of them. It's as easy as picking up a pencil and putting it to paper—or really more like keyboard to screen in this modern age, I suppose. 

And that can be any number of things. Writing. Drawing (insert stylus in place of keyboard for electronic version), photography, video, or whatever your current fancy may lead to is available to you in this modern age. Which makes this a golden age. You can do anything you want.

How many things you start is entirely up to you. You can begin one today, and then again tomorrow, and so on and on. The number of beginnings available are only limited by the number of days that you have on this earth. Which means the longer you delay, the less beginnings you are going to have available to you.

Yes, getting started doing something is magical. It's the act of taking an idea and beginning the birthing process for the rest of the world to see. The only problem with beginnings is that far too many people stop there, at the beginning.

It doesn't matter how many things you start. What matters is how many things you finish. So, go out and start as many things as your mind and heart tells you must escape and find a life of their own. Just make sure that some of those beginnings—at least the ones that have resonance and purpose to maybe no one else but you—make sure that they have the chance to come fully to life. See that project through to the end.

Because sometimes the end is the best beginning of them all.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

...Awards Shows

Let's talk awards.

Tonight, the Grammy's are on. Millions of folks have tuned in--I believe more to watch the performing acts than the awards themselves--and are probably having a good time. I am not one of their viewers.

In my years, I have, either individually or as part of a team, been nominated for twenty-two industry awards for either writing, photography, or graphic design. Never won a single one. Got a few honorable mentions, but that's the "kissing your sister" award. Didn't hurt my feelings, though.

At the time it bothered me that I didn't win. At least a little. Since then, I've come to a very strong feeling about awards: That's not why I do it. As a creative person, the reason that I do what I do is to create something with pride. I want to do something that makes me happy with my work. It's nice to receive the acknowledgement of your peers, but if you aren't pleasing yourself in the first place, the awards don't matter. So, not winning an award--or not being nominated--isn't that big a deal. Being true to myself, which is something that I didn't do for far too long, is much more important.

So, go be yourself. Go do that thing that you thought you couldn't. And do it for the right reason: Because it is something that is right for you. Don't worry about what other people think. If they don't like it, that's fine, it wasn't done for them anyway. Speak from the heart. Work with your soul. Lay it all on the line. It's not like your going to get another chance to live this life over again, after all.

And, if you really do find that inner soul and can express it in a way that is true to yourself, you might just find that there are others out there who will resonate with it, anyway.

What more reward does anyone truly need?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

...another year

It's a little late to be posting about what a bad year 2013 was, so I won't--even though it was the worst year of my life in so many ways.

What I will mention is the year to come. Right now we sit only two weeks into 2014, and it is ripe with possibility. I see potential in every direction I look, which is a pleasant change for me. I plan on accomplishing things this year that I should have done twenty years ago. No regrets, just the right steps finally.

Which applies to you, too. It doesn't matter your age or how long you've been putting something off, if it is something that you've always wanted to do, do it. Stretch your wings. Learn to fly. The worst thing that can happens is that you fall back down to the ground. And the good thing about that is that you are always able to stretch those wings once more and give it another go.

The year is waiting. Go for it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

So...A Lazy Day

Today I feel like Tiger Woods.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a professional golfer--or any kind of professional athlete. Truth be told, I'm not very good at sports at all. (Enjoy the heck out of them, though.) But, nonetheless, today I am Tiger Woods.

Because today I want to have a lazy day. Today I want to sit around and do nothing. Just watch TV, or take a nap, or just go wander through some interesting shopping area. I want to spend time playing with the cats. I want to watch videos online for hours. Or just go and sit under a big tree somewhere and enjoy the day. It would be the perfect day for it. Not too hot, with a nice gentle breeze.

The problem is, I can't. Lazy isn't something that I can afford. If you want to succeed with your goals and your dreams, there are no lazy days. Don't settle. Don't be lazy. Go for it, or watch others go past you.

Just like Tiger Woods.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

So...Comfort Zones

We all have them. Heaven knows that I have them. I cling to them steadfastly in times of crisis and moments of uncertainty. But lately I've been straying more and more away from them. Pushing myself and trying to find out what happens if I let go of those comfort zones and try something that I considered...frightening.

You know what? They really aren't that frightening at all. In fact, I've learned more about myself and grown more since I started doing that than I have in years.

Comfort zones are a bit of a trap. They are nice and, well, comforting, but they don't let you grow. They don't let you expand your horizons and discover new things. As long as we let ourselves be trapped by ourselves, we can never take that next step.

I've taken a few steps lately. I don't know where they are taking me in the long run, but I sure am curious to find out.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Steve Jobs

Count me among the multitudes whose life was impacted by Steve Jobs. As I sit here writing this, I am surrounded by three Mac desktops, two Mac laptops, four iPods, two iPhones and two iPads. (Along with two Windows machines and one Windows laptop.) What I do for a living means that I have to spend a lot of time on the computer, whether it be my work as a designer or as a photographer, and most of that time is spent on a Mac.

It took about 24 hours for the detractors to start appearing, talking about how little Steve Jobs did and that he is over-rated and that it is just "Apple Fanboys" that are praising him. Sad to see, actually. Both he and Bill Gates helped to change our everyday life in ways that we really are still coming to grips with today--and probably won't understand for many more years.

Steve Jobs was an innovator. He was able to take ideas and see them brought to life. See them turned into modern creations that were more than simple objects. He didn't invent the MP3 player, the computer tablet or the personal computer, but he did help make them better. He had a vision of turning personal computing into a more streamlined concept, accessible by anyone.

And his vision had impact. Look at the way that we live today. People don't generally refer to MP3 players or smart phones or computer tablets, but rather as iPads or iPhones or--most predominantly by far--iPods. And the Mac OS influenced the way a personal computer interface is viewed. It created a graphically pleasing design that was echoed quickly by others. Is it a better system? Well, that is a debate that has been running for a long time. To me, both Mac and Windows are equal, it just depends on what you prefer. And what you are used to using.

Steve Jobs didn't influence me, he influenced everyone. The world is a different place because of him. And today it is a different place because he is no longer with us.

RIP Steve. And thank you. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

So...Having "The Conversation"

The customer is not always right.

That's something that some find hard to accept, given the popularity of that old axiom, but it's the truth. I prefer the phrase, "the customer is always to be respected." That allows a lot more latitude and potential for growth in your relationship with the customer--or in this case, the client.

When you are hired by a client, you are contracting to provide a service--or good, given the case--to the best of your ability. It isn't your job to give them what they want, it's your job to give them more than they expected. And in some cases, that means telling them that they are wanting the wrong thing. You are the expert, trained in your area, and it is you who should be guiding the job to the best possible outcome.

Recently I had that exact experience. A customer asked me to design a logo and branding for his new company, and after having an extensive conversation with him about the company and it's purpose, I went off and worked on some sketches, sending them to him. He responded with a sketch of what he thought the logo should look like--and it was bad design. As the expert he hired for the job, it was my duty to tell him why his design was a bad idea. It had no sense of branding. It had no design flow. There was nothing memorable about it. I was respectful, and told him that he had the ultimate call, and if he wanted me to create the logo that he designed I would, but I recommended against it and told him why.

He was grateful and thanked me. It convinced him that he made the right choice in hiring me because I wasn't afraid to tell him that sort of thing. That I could explain why to do some things, and not to do others. I didn't attack him, I simply guided him to the right place.

It's not easy to have that sort of conversation with a client. It's much easier to nod and tell them that you'll do exactly what they want. But that's not the right thing to do. As a creative talent, you aren't only supposed to be good with a program, you are supposed to be good with your craft, and in the case of a freelancer, that means the craft of communication as well.