Happy Sunday to everyone reading this. (You might want to grab some popcorn.)
A few weeks ago, I started what should have been a wonderful collaboration with a marketing specialist. I asked a lot of questions to minimise errors. But when the invoice arrived, it seemed someone had used their elbow on the “zero” on a keyboard.
They were asking for the equivalent of 1/3 of my annual salary to do niche research, marketing, and advertising. No samples had been produced, no dry runs executed, nor analytics presented. Which means that in exchange for absolutely nothing, I would be working to keep them in Burberry and Dolce.
One more test cover and two T-shirt designs
To end the negotiations, I sacrificed my catalog of designs. I told them to sell it all themselves. If they are good as they claim, they should be raking in the cash right now.
If you were me for the past month, you would have discovered some startling truths about advertising firms. Traffic, views and clicks can be purchased, and “stats” can be spun out of whole cloth. I now make sure that I negotiate for “my best outcomes” and ignore their “best efforts”.
If effort alone were enough, each person reading this would be worth billions. Based on effort alone, it might be easy for all of us to set up shop as advertisers. Simply collect fee$ and promise to show your clients’ work to everyone. Then, pack yourself a nice sandwich, a smoothie, a bottle of water, and a muffin. Drive yourself down to the bay and have a picnic. Then, when clients complain that they have no traffic or sales, gaslight them and say they need to spend more money.
I guarantee that with this work ethic, you too will become a successful advertising executive in no time at all.
Here’s hoping that you have a productive week ahead.
Does anyone remember who said, “Follow your joy”? I think this quote is popular because everyone can imagine feeling happy at the final stage of a project. Recently, I told Caring for Art that my nightmares have become work product. I was not exaggerating. Public speakers will never tell you that you must hard work to find the thing to which you can happily commit. If they told you to face reality, nobody would pay them $50,000 to talk about themselves for 30 minutes.
And because I know that the truth is hard to hear, I feel confident that no-one will copy my secret formula, which I am going to share in this post. This is my recipe for staying committed and focused on the way to finding joy. First read it, then scroll down for a taste test.
🧁 Commitment Cupcake 🧁
Ingredients Absolutely everything real about you right now.
Write down every idea you have but stay loosely attached.
Seek advice from qualified experts.
Listen to advice and evaluate for quality.
Search for useful ideas in negative feedback.
Be assertive but never argue, no matter what.
Lose fixation on irrelevant details.
Shut down anyone who attempts to devalue you.
Transfer your idea from a “hard” medium to a “soft” one.
Follow up on each new idea (see item 1).
Table, pin, or expunge unworkable ideas.
Shred your lists.
Keep at it.
The taste test – Covers only Item 8 became especially important this week when my plans came to a full stop. And though I was feeling isolated and trapped, I decided to shred everything and start over.
One of many ideas I had written down was “launch a magazine”. However, I threw it out because there are billions of writers, millions of magazines, and only a handful of subscribers.
From that, I imagined what it would be like for a young writer to dream of launching a magazine only to hit roadblock after roadblock. How would this writer solve these problems? The answers to that question became the treatment for a writing project. My preferred medium for presenting that story is a “hard” one, so I pinned it for later.
The transfer to a “soft” medium was a frictionless fusion of my interests. After careful research, I did some math: photography + fashion + world cultures + health + making stuff up + graphic design = a concept that I really like.
That is to say, I will only produce the covers. I’ve posted two test copies for you and I hope you like them.
If you’re an artist and you feel apprehensive about showing your work, don’t overthink it. Please take a good look at that page of a fashion magazine. I really like it because it shows you don’t need to have the best handwriting ever to use yours as art.
I had one of those days when I felt truly ****** over and it seemed appropriate to scratch something meta on the side. Then, in a different magazine, I found a monochrome photograph of a man’s left hand. I cut it out, dressed it up, and put it in a box. As I photographed it, I realised I had a fun throwback story for Thursday.
A few years ago, I was approached by a chocolatier out of the blue. Chocolate-making is profitable here, so they were adding a bistro to their shop. They needed a huge favour. They said, we heard that your handwriting is totally unreadable so we want to use it for our handwritten menu cards so that nobody can say we copied theirs. Plus, we don’t know how to translate katakana to French with proper spelling because we don’t know foreign languages.
And I was like, okay.
The bistro was a gorgeous, modern, stone structure with stained wood interiors and a sunken kitchen. While I sat there staring at the printed out pages of the menu, the chef brought out the first plate of the tasting menu.
One of my friends, who decided she was going to come along and watch, was the designated taster. And she was elated at the chance to eat gourmet food for two hours while I chicken-scratched on menu cards in two languages.
Today is the third day of the third month of the third year of the reign of the Emperor Reiwa. 3-3-3 is an auspicious day and as it was all over the news, I thought I would publish a post on this occasion for readers who love numerology.
Fun story. When His Imperial Majesty was Crown Prince (kou-taishi-denka) I was in the same banquet hall with him and that now disgraced CEO who was smuggled out of Tokyo into Beirut in a double bass case. I was, however, introduced to his brother and sister-in-law when I was an undergraduate. The mother of the future Emperor tripped and almost fell on top of me.
We were warned before the meeting not to touch them but had she fallen, she would’ve dinged her face very badly. Much to my relief, she caught her balance.
Oh yes, those were the days when people would ask me why in the holy muck was I studying a language with a writing system that looked like algebra and calculus got handsy with each other at a bar.
Perhaps I should stop being rebellious because I’m a grown-up now. But I feel inspired when someone tells me I can’t do something that’s lawful, perfectly doable and really fun to do. My ancestors martyred themselves to get shackles taken off and I am supposed to do what now? Be boring and bored. I cannot do it.