Posts tagged creativity
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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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A Tale Of Two Albums

I recently completed two 8-song albums, which you can download for FREE here and here. This is the story behind them.

During the final year or two of my band Shaimus, I started recording a few songs as a side project. They were mostly straight-ahead rock and acoustic-based, singer/songwriter songs; they didn't really fit into the Shaimus repertoire, which was heading in a more experimental, indie-rock direction. And while my personal tastes were more aligned with the music the band was making, I needed an outlet for these songs. I also needed to start carving out an identity for myself that was entirely separated from the bandwhich turned out to be a good choice, since we broke up not too long after.

Along with my newfound freedom, I found myself in a mini-existential crisis, a place where I felt like I needed to establish to the world what I represented as an artist outside the band that had defined me for so long. But the songs I had been recording on the side, still unfinished, didn't reflect that. They still felt like a side project to what I really wanted to do. So with my ear no longer interested in them, I abandoned the songs and worked on an EP called Vignette under the moniker E8. This was my new personal statement.

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Making Art for Art's Sake or: How I Learned to Give Up the Agenda

When my band broke up last year, I found myself in an uncomfortable but interesting place. I’d been in bands for almost my entire life starting shortly after I first picked up the guitar (six months after, to be exact). From that time in 1996 through 2011, the longest stretch of time when I wasn’t in at least one band was no longer than a few months. It’s always been something that felt right to me, that feeling of being an important part of a small, tight-knit group of like-minded musicians creating new and exciting things. But here I was after a six and a half year run with Shaimus: bandless, lost and exhausted.

In so many ways it was like getting out of a six year relationship; just the thought of starting a new band was enough to make me feel worn out and frustrated. Along with this (and many other feelings) came a sense of melancholy freedom. I had been obligated to go to rehearsals or meetings on Monday nights, Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings for years. I couldn’t take a trip out of town without consulting five other people. It was a sacrifice I was more than willing to make and had no regrets about, but now I suddenly had a huge chunk of my personal life restored. Yet I was back to the beginning: we had not quite made it to the level in our career that would have opened doors that could ease the transition into my next musical project. It was either join a band that was already at that level or start from scratch again.

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