Posts in How To
Dealing With Criticism as an Artist (While Keeping Your Sanity)

So you’ve created a thing and now some people know about it. Congratulations! Someone is about to be a total asshole to you.

What’s that? You thought you were just gonna make something cool, put it out into the world, get some people’s attention and then bask in the glory of your greatness? Good story, but have you been outdoors lately?  The world is literally teeming with pricks. Yes, there are many lovely people. You may know some. You may even be one. But that doesn't circumvent a simple truth:

The assholes are always louder.

As soon as you create something, as soon as you bare your heart and soul and make yourself as vulnerable as a human can be, that’s when the horrible folks flock to you like flies to a carcass, where they do everything they can to knock you down a peg and a half. If you pretend it will never happen to you, you’ll be particularly shocked when it inevitably does. Someone out there will always hate what you do, so let’s talk a little bit about dealing with artistic criticism in its many colorful forms.

Read More
Creative Procrastination: How to Stop Putting It Off & Create Awesome Shit

I am a professional procrastinator. Well, I would be a professional procrastinator if I ever got around to turning it into an income source. I’ll do that tomorrow, but for now I’ll write about the pervasive problem of avoidance in our creative work.

You may be one of those gifted people with a preternatural ability to focus, never succumbing to distractions. Maybe you don’t have any sort of attention deficit and aren't prone to wasting large chunks of your day accomplishing jack shit because why not the Internet exists. Well congratu-friggin'-lations, you’re way better at adulting than I am. You can stop here and hang your valedictorian certificate on the wall after reading all of Infinite Jest in a single sitting. I’ll meet back up with you in my next post.

Read More
How To Discover Your Personal Philosophy in Three Steps

It’s become a bit of a running joke in a group of my friends: hang out with me long enough, especially if you add a few beers into the mix, and I quickly become philosophical. I can’t help it, really. I’ve always been bored to tears by small talk and am often guilty of jumping straight into the deep end of a conversation without letting it properly warm up. While I realize not everyone is like that, I’m occasionally surprised at how many people seem to live their life without any philosophical context. By that I mean a lot of folks seem to be going about their daily motions without thinking too deeply or asking questions about why they’re doing what they’re doing. Will this decision advance me toward my personal goals? Does that action truly align with my values? Will that next tequila shot make me puke in my Uber? (That answer is usually "yes.")

It’s not that we should be overthinking every little detail of our lives or constantly second guessing ourselves. And it's not that we should be living within a strict set of rules. Rules are arbitrary and restrictive and make you feel bad when you break them. There are no rules in life, and it’s exactly this fact that makes having your own personal philosophy so important; since there are no rules, you can do anything you want at any time (yes, there are laws, but laws don't restrict free will, they simply inspire you to choose wisely). That freedom may sound liberating, but it won’t get you anywhere on its own, and what is life if not a fine chance to explore, discover and work out why we're here? If you’ve ever set a goal for yourself or pursued a dream, you know that to accomplish anything you need direction. We can all benefit from having a set of guiding principles which help us make the decisions that will lead us down the path we're aiming for. Nobody can truly control their life, but you can do a damn good job of setting yourself up for success, whatever your definition of "success" is. Every little decision you make can have an effect on that.

Read More
How To Be an Artist With a Day Job

There are fifty thousand articles online about turning your creative passion into a full-time career (that's an exact number I counted myself, so no need to check if it’s accurate). Many of said fifty thousand articles include very good advice. You should read them and maybe take what they say to heart. But there aren’t many articles tackling the far more common situation: being an artist and having a*gulp*day job.

Read More
How (and Why) to Establish Your Creative Philosophy

Creativity and philosophy go hand-in-hand in crucial ways. In fact, you will have trouble making any worthwhile art without first understanding the philosophy behind it. Luckily, it's easy to achieve in a few simple steps.

Anyone who talks to me for more than a few minutes learns that I enjoy getting philosophical. Sometimes I dive a little too deeply into a topic very quickly, but that's just the kind of guy I am; I like to skip past the superficial crap and get right to the interesting stuff.

I'm a firm believer in establishing a personal philosophy that provides a frame of reference for making important decisions. That's a much bigger topic for some future posts to cover, so for now I'm focusing on a smaller, but related, topic: the creative philosophy. 

In this post I'll tell you three important things:

  1. Why all creative endeavors need a philosophy

  2. Examples of creative philosophies in action

  3. How to find your very own personal creative philosophy

Read More
How to Organize Your Entire Creative (And Personal) Life in Three Steps

Juggling work, personal and creative lives can get complicated. After years of trying to make it happen, I finally figured out a system that's both simple and effective.

Many people see me as an organized person, but I’m gonna let you in on a dirty little secret: I’m actually an incredibly unorganized person who constantly forgets things. I forget brilliant ideas I thought of five minutes ago and incredibly important tasks I need to do today. The only reason I seem organized is because my life would be a completely unredeemable mess if I weren't vigilant about having my shit together. I'm totally overcompensating.

Read More
How To Use "Ironic" Properly: A Public Service Announcement

Irony is one of the most consistently misunderstood terms in the English language. I can't claim that I've always used the word properly myself in the past; in fact, I once had a friend call me out on misusing it in a Facebook comment. I then channeled the extreme pain I felt from that public grammar shaming into an intense study session to learn the true definition of irony. 

That study session lasted about three minutes. It also made me hypothesize that one of the reasons for the word's rampant bastardization of this fairly straightforward term is that the true definition is so simple, it seems like it should have a more nuanced meaning. But for the most part, true irony is about as nuanced as a Nickelback song. In case you were wondering, that's totally not nuanced in the slightest bit. Bonus points for working a Nickelback burn into a blog post about English!

I was generally satisfied with knowing the true definition of irony for myself until I read legendary sports announcer Al Michaels’ autobiography. Somehow, despite the stated presence of a Sports Illustrated co-writer (and presumably a grammar-savvy editor of some sort), Michaels repeatedly misuses the word “ironic” when he means “coincidentally" throughout the book.

Read More
6 Major Pitfalls for Guys to Avoid When Online Dating

They say you learn more from failing at something than from succeeding. If that’s the case, I’ve learned quite a bit about the online dating world over the years. Still, you’ve only really learned from your failures if you can adjust your actions to achieve some success, so a 100% failure rate doesn’t make you an expert so much as an idiot who refuses to take a hint. To that end, I’ve also had some successmore as time went on, in fact. So while I’m obviously not claiming that I’m the greatest online dating expert of all time, I can confidently say I have learned some useful and important truths when it comes to making it work.

Even though I wouldn’t win any dick-measuring contests about how many girls I’ve gone out with from dating websites, I have some legitimate insights into what works and what doesn’t work because I had to put a lot of effort, trial and error into figuring it out. And while none of this is an exact science—you just can’t predict what any one person is going to respond to—the following bits of advice are things that I’ve come to realize are particularly important in having online dating success.

Read More
How To Never Be Bored and Always Have Fun

Boredom is a part of life, you might say. You can’t have fun all the time. Sometimes things are slow and there’s nothing you can do about it. Being bored is an unfortunate but inevitable reality.

Except that isn’t exactly true. Boredom left unchecked often means we’re just not trying hard enough. In fact, I’d argue that boredom is not only good, it’s necessary.

Read More
How to Calculate the Exact Worth of Your Time: A Handy Guide

There’s an old adage that time is money, but this is America in the 21st century, so vague-ass statements like that don’t fly anymore. Everything needs to be super-specific now. You can’t just find out how many people are visiting your website, you need to know how long they spent there, what pictures they looked at and what their dog’s name is. No longer can we settle for simply equating time with money, we need to figure out exactly how much money every second of our time is worth so we can bill accordingly. The fact that I’m adding a superfluous sentence to this paragraph has probably slightly enraged someone reading it right now because it just took up a few seconds of their billable time.

Read More