Do you consider yourself a creative person?
Would you like to have more time to develop your passions, improve your skills, and do what you love?
The easiest way to make that happen is to start putting out more value into the world, by creating things that resonate with other people; creating with an audience in mind makes it much easier to develop assets that generate income.
Even though this is objectively true, many artists and authors resist the idea of creating for others, because of an entrenched Romantic belief in “Art for Art’s Sake” (having zero functionality, even refusing standard aesthetic ideals of beauty, art becomes more valuable when less people enjoy it).
Some creatives manage to accidentally make something from passion that people respond to.
Others spend decades producing work they consider meaningful, that nobody else appreciates.
You don’t have to choose between love and money.
But you can be more efficient with your creativity by figuring out your core values (your zone of excellence, where you can do amazing things). If you want to make a living doing what you love, you need to find the perfect offer that resonates with a large audience.
Ten years ago, I was a starving artist and English teacher in Taiwan. I painted bizarre surrealist stuff and idolized René Magritte, I wasn’t terrible (my time studying classical realism in Florence helped) but I had no idea how to sell my paintings. I was “successful”, as far as artists go – but didn’t earn much. I even had to sell all my books once to pay the bills.
I got into online business to pay for my expensive creative hobbies (buying huge canvases and driving them home at 2am on my scooter.) I started out as a book editor, then switched to book cover design (to make use of the year I spent in Florence studying fine art). I also self-published a couple books, did everything wrong, and nearly quit writing when all the negative feedback flooded in. I went back to school, wrote my MA thesis on Harry Potter and my PhD Thesis on Paradise Lost. I also helped over a thousand authors publish their books, and learned just about everything there is to know about self-publishing, cover design and book marketing.
But I really wanted to work on my own creative projects.
When I finished my PhD in Literature, I started building publishing resources to help authors help themselves – so I could focus on writing some fiction. In the last two years I’ve published about a million words (which means, I’m just starting to improve my writing). Things are going pretty well, and I’m on a mission to earn $10,000/month from Kindle by the end of 2018 (some of my friends are making way more than that).
My wife and I live on our own terms, travel full-time, and write scifi and fantasy novels about mermaids and fallen angels. (She’s from Taiwan, we got married on a beach in Hawaii).
The one thing that sucks about moving around so much, is that we can’t have pets… so we spend a lot of time at Cat Cafes. It can also be isolating, so I spend a lot of time hanging out with other authors or digital nomads in online communities, helping each other learn and grow our crafts and our businesses.
Creativindie is my main blog, and it’s also a mission: to help artists, authors and entrepreneurs develop their vision, build their platforms, and get more visibility with less time and effort – so they can easily make and sell their best work, and put more value into the world by creating more things people love. I also want to confront common creative fears, like “Will anybody like this?” or “Am I good enough?”
I do that by sharing my journey, case studies, marketing and writing tips, and interesting historical anecdotes about my literary heroes. People think my content is pretty useful. Here are some of the nice emails I’ve received (I’ve gotten ugly ones too, that would burn your eyeballs, but I get along with most people).
“The prevalence of your many topics, the plentiful resources, and the imagination of the time that you must have put into establishing it is astonishing.”
“Finding you is like taking a breath of fresh air after hiding from my plague of fears and disasters for so long. You are the very reason why hopeful innocents like me are able to continue dreaming and striving to make dreams a reality. You are the personification of inspiration captured by the essence of ingenuity and sheer optimism.”
“It’s not just what you say, but how you say it – you add value with every graphic, quote or example that you give to make your point. You don’t just tease, and say “buy this to find out more.” Thank you for your informative and inspiring posts.”
“I’ve been binge-watching your youtube videos. It’s been enlightening. I look back in disgust at the blissfully ignorant man I was just two days ago.”
“I have learned a massive amount since finding you two weeks ago. You’re not a smart ass, but you are dangerously real for those who’ve forgotten that character trait.”
The world’s greatest creative refuge…
My dream goal is to buy my own castle and turn it into a creativity center, where creative people can come and do their best work in a genius-boosting environment. We’ve already rented three, and even got featured in CNN. But if that doesn’t work out, I’ll build a writing retreat community of tree houses in Oregon (my home state).
I love researching art, history and literature, creative production, motivation and momentum, and will be publishing some nonfiction books on those subjects soon. In the meantime, there are tons of resources on this site or on my YouTube channel, which has over a million views.
If any of that sounds interesting, make sure to follow me on social media or sign up to my email list for my free email series on doing work that matters. My platform is a bit messy, but my content is useful. If you dig around, there are several free ebooks to download.
I also have several video courses, check them out in the menu.
PS. You are awesome. Feel free to stop by my Facebook page and tell me what you’re working on!
PPS. Make sure you read the Creativindie Manifesto. If you need more help, click here.