motivation, professional creative, Writing

Techniques of a Professional Creative – intro

I developed the presentation Techniques of a Professional Creative, which I’ve given to several writing groups and at a recent writing conference, because I was feeling stalled in my momentum as a writer.  I wanted to learn techniques to become more focused and to take my writing to a higher level. As I studied I came to realize I wasn’t the only professional creative to be feeling this way and the desire to share what I was learning grew. In order to reach more people I’m sharing these ideas in a series of blog posts.  I use the turn writer and writing but these ideas are applicable to any creative endeavor – entrepreneur, musician, artist, etc… Feel free to substitute your personal creative work for the title writer.

Never sacrifice what you want the MOST,

for what you want the most

at that moment.

                                                – James Owen

The things shared in this, and subsequent posts, will help us to keep our eye on what we want most and not get sidetracked with what looks appealing right now.

The difference between an [hobbyist]

and a professional is

in their habits.

                                – Steven Pressfield

I changed Mr. Pressfield’s quote a bit. He originally said “amateur”. An amateur is often seen as a person who does something poorly or lacks skill. I don’t see that the people reading this as armatures. Among the readers might be what is better termed “hobbyists” or people who turn to writing, or any creative work, when the mood strikes them or they need an emotional outlet.

One reason I studied this subject of how to be a professional creative is because I no longer wanted to approach writing with a hobbyist mentality.

A friend of mine, Linda, is a good example of this difference between being a hobbyist and a professional. When I first met Linda and was at her house I noticed a number of stunning watercolor paintings hanging on her wall. I commented on the beauty of the paintings. I found out she painted them and even though they were quite well done she downplayed her accomplishment. She painted for her own personal pleasure and as a stress and creative outlet. In her approach to painting Linda is a hobbyist.

A bit later I was studying a quilt she had hanging on her wall and also commented on the quality, color, and craftsmanship of this item.  At this point Linda became animated and excitedly talked about her quilting work. I learned that Linda makes quilts on commission for other people, she teaches classes at local shops, she donates a quilt and many accompanying pieces to a charity each year, she studies the art of quilting, in her home is a dedicated place for making her quilts, she has a web site, and she advertises her services.

The techniques Linda employs in her quilting work are some of the strategies we will be discussing in-depth as we learn about being a professional creative.


We have between 30,000 – 35,000 days to our lives.

What am I going to do with each of those days?

– Todd Henry


If I live to be 90 I have about 15,400 day left

The above sculpture is made with 15,000 – a tangible reminder of the days I have left

When you are a professional you live each day with intent.

calendar pages

Right now, today, is all we get.

Make it the best day ever.

Because it is.

                            -James Owen


How do we go about making the most of the days we have?

In my studies I found there are several traits professional creatives embody. These can be broken into two categories:    Attitudes and Actions

If you really don’t want to do something,

no one can help you.

If you really want to do something,

no one can stop you.

                      – James Owen

Attitude can be defined as an organic state of readiness to respond in a characteristic way to a stimulus.

Think about your knee jerk reaction to disappointing news – does it move you forward or mire you in place?

Now, consider your reaction to something good – do you let it sink in and become a part of you or rush on to next item on your to-do list?

Living is not a state of being;

it is an action.

                 – James Owen

There are documented actions professional creatives employ to help fit their creative time into the demands of life.

In out next post we will begin to discuss the actions you need to take to help develop productive attitudes which will make your work flow better.

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