My post 1+1=0 was about not overloading our work with information. Otherwise, we lose our audience. Be it illustrations, blog posts, or advertisements. In the meantime, two more examples caught my eye.
The movie Terminator 2 was a revelation to my 13-year-old me. It was the only movie in my life where after the credits rolled, I rewound the VHS tape right away to watch it again. I could almost speak the dialogue simultaneously.
One day when I held the DVD in my hands featuring a 17-minute more extended Director’s Cut, I couldn’t wait to watch it. Seventeen more minutes of Terminator! A childhood dream came true.
But the disillusionment was huge. The additional scenes were strange to the point of disappointment. Not only did they seem unnecessary, but they pushed the Terminator character in a different, almost ridiculous direction. Since then, I only watch the original cinema version. Again less was more.
I found another example in D&AD’s The Copy Book. Jim Durfree writes about professional writing:
“When you get your copy to the point where you’re really, really happy with it, cut it by a third.”Jim Durfree (advertiser, copy writer)
By writing down my experiences of more than twenty years in the creative industry and freelancing, I hope that you, who are reading this blog, will find some valuable information.
Maybe you’ll resonate with some of my thoughts, which will encourage or motivate you. Maybe you will find a shared tip helpful and try to apply it to your life. Or maybe you contradict me sometimes, which helps you develop and strengthen your own opinion on the subject.
However, I must confess that helping you is not my primary goal. When I started, I thought it was. But it can’t be. If you were my reason for writing, what would I do if you stopped listening to me one day? Without you, I would lose my purpose for writing.
No, my drive is selfish by nature. Through writing, I try to organize my thoughts and, in doing so, learn more about myself and the subject at hand. Writing gives me structure and helps me verify that my thoughts are indeed the thoughts I think they are. Writing is meant solely for me.
What is meant for you, though, is publishing my writing on my blog. Otherwise, I might write it all in a notebook and close it. The hope and desire to possibly help you through this is enormous. Even though I can only control this to a certain extent, the slightest hope to help you with my experiences is reason enough to try.
So, the drive to write may be self-centered. But it is a healthy egoism. Because only through freedom, impartiality, and independence from you do I have a chance to inspire you. I just have to be aware that I can never expect that. I can only hope and keep going.
Three weeks after I decided to start this blog daily, I signed up for the online publishing platform Medium. I began publishing writings here daily as well.
The difference until today, however, is that the texts I publish on Medium have already existed for three weeks. They are the same as on my blog—just delayed.
Because of this delay, I immediately noticed a positive side effect. I read the old texts with a fresh perspective. Mistakes, too complicated phrases, and inconsistencies immediately jumped out at me.
I have kept this rhythm until today. The temporal distance is good for writing. It allows me to optimize the texts without much effort. Who knows where else we might use this strategy?
When I start to write about a topic, I sometimes think, “I’ve written about this before, haven’t I?” But that doesn’t stop me from writing about it again.
I know that today I will use different words. Maybe I’ll use another example this time because I’ve had a new experience in the meantime. I may even contradict my previous thoughts. That’s perfectly fine.
With each day and each event, we learn. We see things today in a new light than we did yesterday and tomorrow. This certainty makes it easy for me just to write away.
Daily writing, whether about our activities, our jobs, our lessons learned, our experiences, our setbacks, our successes, or just how our day has been, is first and foremost for ourselves. For some, writing down thoughts and feelings can be an outlet or a way to express themselves creatively. For others, it helps create order and structure in their minds.
The moment we share this with the world, we have no expectations. We don’t wait for likes, comments, and feedback. We have already received the reward of the written words while writing. Now we can only hope that other people can benefit from it as well. We can’t do more, and we can’t expect more.
I write this blog for two reasons. Writing helps me organize my thoughts. It is an attempt to make them more tangible to me. Formulating forces me to focus on the essentials, which allows me to fill in gaps and identify contradictions. In short, afterward, I realize whether what I have been thinking corresponds to my reality.
On the other hand, I have gained much experience in the creative industry over the last 20 years. Starting with an internship at a small advertising agency, then an apprenticeship and a degree, and ending with many years of freelance work as an illustrator.
Both reasons are equally important to me. It is a pleasure if the reader can use and take away something from my experiences for his or her own journey. After all, I know from my own life how much people can positively impact others.
But they are and remain my very subjective experiences and views. If I write in a post about how I think it’s helpful in the home office not to work in jogging clothes or pajamas for various reasons, that’s entirely my view. It is my experience. It cannot and should not necessarily be taken as law. Some people would vehemently disagree with me on the jogging pants question. And that is perfectly okay. Everyone eventually finds their own methods and makes their own experiences. There is no right or wrong sometimes. I avoid formulations like “you must” and “you shall” when writing. No one can know what works best for the other. That is up to each of us.
However, sharing your own experiences can have a positive effect, especially on young people. It can motivate, encourage, warn, and provide clarity. That’s why I do not expect it, but I am happy if you gain something of value for your path in my texts.
I’ve been writing about creativity, freelancing, and illustration daily for over four months. Last Wednesday was a jam-packed day, and started to write around 11:30pm. I was tired and didn’t know what to write about at all.
The motivation was low. I almost broke the streak and just went to bed. Then I saw that the laptop battery was showing 7%. I decided not to plug in the charging cable. The time to write something was thus limited, and so now all decisions fell quickly. In the end, I wrote two sentences beside the headline. But that was perfectly fine, and I got to bed before midnight.
Without the time pressure, I probably would have worked on the post for a long time, or maybe I wouldn’t have written it. Instead of adjusting the situation to our needs, we can try to adapt to it ourselves now and then.
On my 40th birthday, I resolved to publish a post here every workday. That was just three weeks ago now. Sometimes I’ve caught myself taking an excerpt from one of my existing texts and posting it. But that is not the point. It’s not about hitting the “publish” button for anyone or anything every day. It’s about writing something every day. Even if it’s just a short post like this one. When we write, we think. When we think, we organize, and in doing so, tomorrow often becomes more transparent and more manageable.
“Actually, I hardly have time,” I thought again today. But what are five minutes? I have watched at least 30 minutes of Youtube videos and news today. For this, I also had “actually” no time…