why the world needs you to be a “creative badass” (and have a zestful f*ck you spirit)

 

 

In which this blogger ponders the matter of identifying your audience, the word “psychographic”, and the defining characteristics of the creative badass.

Mar 9, 2011
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I thoroughly enjoyed this and will be retweeting with abandon. The point about defiance is important and perhaps the first thing a badass should embrace. You’re right about the hostility we face as creatives. Many, just in my circle alone, haven’t figured out how to harness that hostility as a signal they may be on the right track with something. Instead they internalise it and allow it to hinder, or worse, defeat them. I know I have.

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“Creating from the dept of your soul” –> This really moved me =)

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You did, in fact, give me something to think about. What you said is pretty important, and I must say that the whole thing about creative people being under appreciated or worse is actually a very real problem.
Specifically in my country, creativity is put on the far back burner, mostly even thrown out entirely because of the other things going on. It makes it especially hard for creative people to do their thing, but by going for it and defying the norm and the naysayers, a lot of things can happen.
Thanks for the post/video.

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Well said. You expressed your thoughts in a way that i could comprehend and i felt releated with the meaning of the topic. I appreciate the creative work.
Thanks for sharing.

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Yes, yes, yes! I agree with all your said. I especially enjoyed your smiles.

Irv

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‘your said..?’ I wish I had read my comment before I hit submit.

Irv

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Everybody, thanks! So great to get your comments!

Marie-Paule — I feel you on that. It’s maybe the most challenging part of being a creative, preventing yourself from being ground down over time by the constant doubt, self-doubt, isolation & lack of support, etc. I have definitely struggled to believe not just in my work, but that I’m even capable of really meaningful work. It’s that “f*ck you” spirit that can really help you, but not everyone has it, or knows to build it up.

Jake — what country are you from?

Vladimir — I like that line too, I wish it was mine (but I believe it is Danielle LaPorte’s, one of the best bloggers & writers online).

Irv — It’s getting a lot easier to be a bit more smiley — am feeling more relaxed in front of the camera. Video can be a bitch!

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South Africa. There are numerous attempts to get creativity out there, but none makes a particularly big impact.

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I honestly can’t remember what initially brought me to this blog, but I am so, so glad that I found it. Justine, you’re amazing at putting into words so many of the things that creatives are thinking, or even better – what we need to hear. Every time I read your posts I find myself nodding wildly – always renewed with that lovely defiance! Thanks for writing, and for showing up out there. :)

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Great work Justine,,,We’ve heard the term “sell your soul” over the years

I prefer to think of it as “charging admission” these days,,it’s still mine but it has value , and its not always a money thing…except when it is.

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Any thoughts on how this might be ever-so-slightly tweaked to be a little more about service and a little less about f*ck you? These may be my personal hang-ups, but I find creating *only* for myself works okay if I think of it in terms of practice / rehearsal / honing the craft. If I start to think of “finished” creative output in terms of only meeting my needs, it rapidly heads down the paths of whats-the-point and ennui, which are creativity killers. And an attitude of f*ck-you defiance is a source of strength necessary to weather to slings and arrows of haters and those who don’t get it… but when I overdo it, its ugly siamese twin is smug self-satisfaction, which is another creativity killer.

Hmmm… I said those “may be my personal hang-ups.” Those are *totally* my personal hang-ups :-) Anyway, it seems the path you describe is one of creating to feed your own soul, then finding where the world needs the meaning you create. It takes only a small shift in thinking to move toward discovering what the world needs and creating *that*; your soul then gets filled both by the act of creating and by being of service to your fellow man. In the closing you mention “the kind of tribe you want to serve.” I find the act of creating meaning and beauty to be much more fulfilling when it can be done in a way that benefits not only me, but also something greater than myself.

Great blog, by the way.

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One word: WOW!
Two words: Amazing insight.
Three words: You inspire me.
And a whole bunch of words/emotions gushing forth from my heart/soul/cranium/guts/loins/knee caps and all the way down to my little toe: I totally love this video — your valuing of the creative process/output, affirmation that being creative is essential, recognizing that most people don’t get it, and encouraging the bad-ass/F.U. spirit. I shall live with spunk to write another day! THANKS so much for your efforts. I also love all your blogs. Every time I read them I think the same thing: you are wise beyond your years. That’s a gift. Thanks for sharing.
XOXO,
Toni

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Joshua —

I’m sorry that my post came off as so self-focused, that wasn’t my intent. No successful creative work — whether it’s a painting or a start-up company — could be successful unless it *means* something — ie: has value — to others. Feed your own soul, you feed the souls of others.

That’s why I harp on excellence — to be of service to the world, for your stuff to truly have meaning and resonance for someone other than yourself (and your mom), you really have to master your craft and learn and know yourself and your process so that you can tap into your sweetspot at will, which I think is where the best & most powerful work comes from. I emphasize the overlap, or intersection, of world and soul because I think by trying to first identify what the world needs & then creating specifically for that can be too much like trying to write or create “for the market” which is usually a recipe for disaster in one way or another. In my own experience, you have limited choice in what you actually *need* to create, or what puts you in the emotional sweetspot (if you read my earlier post about that), which is about what drives and fuels you and where your natural gifts are. And none of us are so special or unique that we can’t find a point where our interests, strengths, talent and abilities intersect with the world in a way that can service the world precisely because it draws out the best of us.

At any rate, I think we believe the exact same things but are more or less quibbling over semantics. :) Be well!

Jake — I knew it was South Africa, or at least that was the country in my head. Reminds me of how American public schools slash arts programs first because they just aren’t “that important”, not recognizing that the benefits of an arts program extend way beyond just having a ‘creative outlet’.

Toni — Wow, I think I love you. Thank you so very very much. :)

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Yes. Money is good (in the form of reward for your efforts).

Inspired by your words.
:)

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Hey, shouldn’t you be working on your novel?

(Sorry, couldn’t resist. ;) )

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Jeff P. —

Har har. Shouldn’t you be drawing a cow or something? :)

:: hurries off to work on novel ::

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My thoughts are that you have to be assertive with your point of view and that you DON”T NEED ANYONES permission to do so. The First amendment is what? Oh right, freedom of speech. All it comes down to is having the confidence to share a point of view. The better the message, the more people will be open to receiving it. ;-)

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Very nicely done. What you said about the need for people to come up with new approaches to problems resonates particularly strongly with me because that’s what the novel about which I wrote to you asking for a blurb is–fresh ways to look at problems such as justice, self-defense, gun violence and crime.

And I agree that, while money is a terrific thing, creating isn’t about the money.

Thanks.

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You rock on camera Justine. Love it. Loved this video too. In my mind, money from my creative efforts is not only rewarding and good, but affords more time for more creativity! xo

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Justine ~ First of all, you looked great in your video – beautiful and articulate. Creative bad asses are the future. Entrepreneurs finding new approaches to old problems are popping up all over the place and it’s so exciting to be a part of it. Lots of love to you!

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You made a profound point when you said that you may not know the demographics of your audience until AFTER you put your work out there into the world. And even then you can be surprised. The idea of starting with psychographics instead is truly useful.

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Thanks for sharing this inspiring call to creative [badass] action!

A minor quibble: You observe that “We don’t live in a society that is particularly friendly to creative people or supportive of creative ambitions.”. I think society has _always_ been unfriendly to creative badasses.

One of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read (and I’ve read it many times) is Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, by James P. Carse. Among the many relevant insights he offers is the distinction between society – “all that a people feels it must do” – and culture – which is all about “undirected choice”.

I also wanted to share some related insights shared by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, in her audiobook “Your Heart’s Prayer”, where she invokes the wisdom of Martin Buber in discussing art and identity. In a blog post I wrote several years ago – Oriah and Buber, I and Thou: Bringing All of Who I Am to Blogging – I applied their combined insights to the practice of blogging. I hope you won’t mind the insertion of aan extended excerpt here:

When you engage in a creative act, you bring yourself into relationship with that form, and if you give yourself completely to that process – you bring all of who you are to it – what happens is that you are changed, and a work is created – it could be an object, it could be a piece of music [Ed.: it could be a blog post] – but something is created, which to the receptive beholder, will give them the opportunity to have a direct experience of the form.

So when you write a piece of music [write a blog post] – let’s say if you’re a composer [a blogger] – and you bring yourself entirely to something that is larger than you, and you hold none of yourself back, you create a piece of music [blog post], which someone who listens to it [reads it], if they too bring all of themselves to it, they are able to directly experience that which is larger than themselves in their own way – it will be different than perhaps the composer [blogger] did – but there will be a similarity in terms of what they engage with.

So my job – your job – as human beings, is to bring all of who we are to every moment.

I know this because the easiest place for me to do this, in some ways – and it’s not always easy, but the place where I feel compelled to do this, I should say – is when I write. There’s something about writing, for me, which compels me to try to include all of it … to hold nothing back … and I’m changed in the process of writing.

The other thing that happens is I produce a book [blog post] that other people come to and get something out of that I never could possibly anticipate. …

All I can do is bring all of who I am to that writing, and then that allows the opportunity for something else to come in, when someone else, who is a receptive beholder, uses that work … and that’s not me, it’s something that’s larger than me that comes through this.

… whatever I am, and whoever I am, all I can do is offer that, and feeling inadequate is not a reason not to offer that.

Thanks for bringing all of who you are to this video commentary!

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Absolutely inspiring … your description of not being supported brought me to tears. Sacred creative space is such a valid concept and the idea of an EFF you mentality is just brilliant. You helped a lot of people with this … and I thank you.

(I write. It’s everything. I HAVE to write, because when I don’t something is wrong. I’m restructuring two blogs and am in a huge transition in marketing … your words inspired and truly impressed me.)

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Niiiice. Stumbled over your website/blog/whathaveyou from Indie Book Collective. I am now officially changing my occupation to “Creative Badass.”

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this is an exciting time where the old conventions are falling apart and a vacuum is opening that can be filled with more of the same or something new and exciting, expansion instead of contraction. I find the more I open my heart, the more hearts are opened and shared with mine. The internet enables you and I, who will likely never meet, to communicate and share energy that inspires and encourages. The world is a better place for that. Life changes in a small way for the both of us, and ripples outwards. Thanks for sharing and stay bold.

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Again…another gem…been sharing your writings with my fellow creatives—one which is on a creative sabbatical in Panama …Awsome!

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in terms of the ‘audience’:

i liked something from a really old idea, that i read in Jung. The ‘ecclesia spiritualis’, were kind of a diverse and eclectic group of people, that didn’t really have any church here on earth, but were, never the less, somehow moved by the Holy Ghost. Sometimes, i think we now call these people, ‘thought leaders’, or agents of change, and they are kind of sustaining ech other, in their often, solitary work to bring about change or renewal.

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This is pretty old, I know, but I just came across it. I think you should do more videos :)

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