Tag Archives: creative chronicles

Creative Chronicles: Thoughts On Doing The Work

Nubby Twiglet | Thoughts On Doing The Work

As much as I wish get rich quick schemes and programs promising endless short-cuts really had all the answers, nothing beats doing the work. The thing is, we’re always looking for that so-called shortcut because doing the work is HARD. And who can blame us for wanting to reach the finish line a little faster?

It’s so easy to fall into the procrastination trap when the work that needs to get done challenges you — but it’s a bit like climbing a mountain, in a way — going up is incredibly difficult but once you reach the peak, coming down is full of relief and a huge sense of accomplishment.

Prioritizing your own projects can be one of the most challenging areas because there’s always something more you can do for someone else instead (and see those immediate gains)! If you work for someone, maybe it comes down to taking on a few hours of overtime at your day job and collecting a bigger paycheck. If you work for yourself, taking on an extra client and getting a deposit provides a hit of instant gratification that your own projects just don’t have. The payoff is a bit more invisible.

Nubby Twiglet | Thoughts On Doing the Work

One project I’ve really struggled with over the last year is the Branch media kit. I had so many excuses — I wanted to learn how to use my camera on manual settings so I could take better photos, I wanted to re-write my packages and bump up my rates (that comes with its own sense of fear) and finally, I wanted to make the page layouts more comprehensive, adding in more work examples (which meant doing plenty of mockups). Basically, there was no quick fix for getting this project done.

So, I did what many of you will relate to — I found every excuse possible to put it off. I blocked out the time on my calendar so I felt like I was moving forward but it was an empty promise. If a friend wanted to go out for drinks, I said yes. If my husband wanted to go vintage shopping, I said yes. If my phone rang, I’d basically say yes to anything to escape thew work. What was I really running away from?

You already know the answer: the work. Nobody likes to talk about actually doing the work because it sounds like they’re whining. “This is SO hard! I spent ALL DAY on this! I’m SO TIRED!” And really, there are a million other fun things to do. I’d rather spend the day on the couch reading fashion magazines.

The problem is, when nobody talks about doing the work but shows off the shiny, beautiful outcome, it looks effortless. And then, when we do the same thing and fall short (basically, it always takes 10 times longer), we think there’s something wrong. That internal voice kicks in and we think that comes down to a lack of knowledge, skill or talent. Really, it’s none of the above – it’s simply unrealistic expectations.

Nubby Twiglet | Thoughts On Doing The Work

I wish I had some efficiency tips for you to get your own projects done but the truth is, it comes down to priorities and willpower. I ended up sitting in my office for a solid 15 hours over the weekend, slowly piecing together the 30 page document. It was slow, it was painful and I wanted to run from it. Trust me, I nearly did. But, I knew from experience where it would leave me so I powered through, finishing it late Sunday night.

It sucked. But it got done.

Instead of offering you inspirational mantras, I’m going to keep it real:

If you want to get something done bad enough, you’ll find a way.

Go after it with everything you’ve got and when the going gets tough and you feel frustrated, don’t give in.

Creative Chronicles: Make The Time

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Make The Time For Creativity

How’s the new year treating you so far?

This year, I’m thinking beyond career goals because while those are great, it’s important to nurture personal interests as well.

A personal goal of mine is to get better at photography. I have no interest in doing it professionally but for as many photos as I share both here and on Instagram, I want to make my content the best it can be.

My dirty little secret is that even though I’ve been carrying a camera with me on a near-daily basis for the last 20+ years (I was always the person in school who took photos of all my friends and got doubles printed at the 1 hour developer to hand out), my process was very point-and-shoot. Capturing moments was more important than mastering the specific settings — and my camera was always set to auto.

Finally, on Saturday I blocked out an entire day to shoot new photos for Branch. I’ve never taken a full day off before to take photos — everything was always rushed. We had an ice storm and the sun was setting quickly. I had a few more flat lays to shoot but the lighting was overcast and shadowy. In desperation, I turned the camera settings to manual, adjusted the ISO and in that minute of fiddling, my photos got infinitely better.

The settings weren’t even that difficult to master — I’d just never given myself the time to explore them.

It’s a bit embarrassing to realize it took so little to make such a big improvement.

My suggestion for you is to think about what you want to master this year….and then actually give yourself the time to do it. No rushing. No set outcomes. Just pure exploration.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: not everything you do needs to have an outcome tied to business growth / money growth / more followers. Creativity, whether it’s nurturing your photography, art, design or writing can be done solely to fuel your soul, no audience necessary.

I’ve found that when you let up and remove the pressure, the outcome is so much better.

What’s your creative goal for 2017?

Creative Chronicles: Do It For The Love

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Do It For The Love

Create because it makes you feel whole.

Not everything you do needs to generate income or have a defined end goal. I want to remind you that it’s okay to do something sheerly for the reason that you love it.

Everywhere I look, I see pushes from internet marketers promising big monetary results and massive increases in social followers. If that’s what you want, cool. At the same time, it’s okay to not actively seek these things. There should be room in your life for fun. For creation. For experimentation.

As I go about my day online and on apps, I’m swamped by opt-ins, lists to join, social media strategies and sales funnels. I have a pretty good understanding of these areas but even though I know what’s possible and what I could do to make more use of these tools in my own online spaces, I am a firm believer in only sharing content when it feels authentic, helpful or brings joy. Plain and simple.

Here’s what I believe when it comes to sharing and promotion online:

1. Authenticity and personal stories will go further than any pre-cooked sales campaign.

2. Newsletters are great when you have something valuable to say or something helpful to give away.

3. Not everything you create needs to be shared for some kind of gain, whether that’s followers or dollars.

4. People want to connect with the real you. The good, the bad and the ugly make who you are and only sharing a highlight reel keeps them at an arm’s length.

5. Not everything you do needs to be attached to a sales pitch. It’s okay to have a place online that’s simply a home for you to be creative.

In these times of uncertainty, create because it fuels you. If the end goal is that it makes you feel better, then you’ve already accomplished all you need to.

Creative Chronicles: Magic Lessons Podcast

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Magic Lessons Podcast

I just learned about Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast and I’m IN LOVE.

Normally, I’m not into listening to podcasts while I work. I like peace and quiet so I can really focus on what I’m doing. I feel like podcasts just distract me from tuning in fully to my creative process…and that needs my full attention.

Well, this weekend Gala texted me about this specific podcast. She even peppered it with, “I know you don’t usually listen to podcasts while you work, but….” and with that nudge, I clicked the link.

One episode led to 5 and 5 led to 10 which led to binge-listening to both seasons.

The thing that makes Magic Lessons really special (and why I think you’ll enjoy it) is that it focuses specifically on the creative process and how we overcome obstacles along the way.

Liz takes essays from real life creatives (writers, dancers, photographers, you name it) and partners up with a well-known person in their field that can give them very specific insights. It’s interesting hearing some of the creative greats (including Neil Gaiman) share their personal struggles with creating and a great reality check that nobody is immune from criticism or other roadblocks.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read any of Liz’s books but I LOVE her on this podcast. She’s kind, thoughtful and makes sure these creative folks pouring their hearts out to her leave in a better place than when they started.

If you’re looking for a new podcast to get inspired by, I think you’ll love Magic Lessons.

Creative Chronicles: Show Up and Do the Work

Nubby Twiglet | Creative Chronicles: Show Up and Do the Work

There are classes and courses that promise all sorts of things that will get you ahead but there is no shortcut for simply showing up and doing the work.

Over the weekend, I met a graphic designer named Calypso (best name ever!) for coffee. As we sipped our lattes, the conversation turned to careers.

“How did you get your start?” she said.

“I interned and that led to my first job” was my first response but that was too nice and neat. There’s always a story behind the story and it’s usually full of hard work and years of sacrifice.

The truth is, new skills can be learned by nearly anyone. There’s always going to be someone more skilled than you. So…how do you get ahead in your industry?

1. Arrive on time.

2. Show up and do the work.

3. Be a decent person.

4. Make the lives of the people around you easier.

5. Get the work done, even if you’re having a bad day.

6. Stay late if needed and don’t complain about it.

7. Have a sense of humor.

8. If your job is done, help someone else out.

9. Clean up after yourself.

10. Act like you want to be there.

Rinse and repeat.

I know this all sounds like common sense but it’s easy to forget these little things when you’re in the thick of it and stressed out with looming deadlines. I clearly remember that I was never “the best” at any of the jobs I worked at. Most of the designers around me had a lot more experience. The reason I was still able to get ahead was the exact list above.

I learned something early on: showing up and doing the work and being gracious while making the lives around you easier will take you further than any advanced degree in your industry (which I didn’t have).

The next time you see someone who you internalize as being more talented and skilled than you, remind yourself that’s not all that matters. That’s only part of the equation. Being the best possible version of yourself and showing up and doing the work is the other half. And once you realize that…things seem much easier.

This quote from Chuck Close drives the point home perfectly:

“In life you can be dealt a winning hand of cards and you can find a way to lose, and you can be dealt a losing hand and find a way to win. True in art and true in life: you pretty much make your own destiny. If you are by nature an optimistic person, which I am, that puts you in a better position to be lucky in life.”

Showing up and doing the work isn’t easy but if you’re driven and treat people with kindness along the way, there are so many doors waiting to open for you.