1: The successful creative pro understands that creative and professional are equally important components of what he does.
2: The successful creative pro makes money from her work: unabashedly, unapologetically.
It is, after all, work.
3: The successful creative pro learns to control his own inspiration and do the work, no matter what.
He may employ different methods, hire helpers, lock himself in a room, or just engage in that sort of thing we call self-discipline and hold himself to a daily standard.
4: The successful creative pro does not expect the world at large to understand or empathize with the demands of creative work.
She has accepted a large bit of being misunderstood, and she ignores irritating phrases like, “Oh that must be such a fun/easy job,” and “One day you’ll get a real job,” and “So your spouse pays the bills, then?” and so on.
She knows that it is futile, even foolish, to waste her energy trying to convince people (who don’t want to be convinced) that what she does is real, genuine, difficult, money-making work. She just does the work and makes the money, and excuses herself to go refill her drink when she gets trapped by one of ‘em at a party.
5: The successful creative pro puts aside group affirmation for individual achievement. [See above.]
6: The successful creative pro has a habit of learning, always learning, always studying, always improving.
He also knows, however, that sometimes you have to stop learning, studying, practicing, and improving and get back to doing. Even when you feel inadequate.
7: The successful creative pro is willing to compromise her aesthetic vision for her client’s requests, and she knows this is not a sell-out of her artistic soul.
Different kinds of work demand different kinds of standards. When you do work for hire (i.e. for a client), it isn’t truly yours. It belongs to the client.
8: The successful creative pro values his own work.
He knows that no one else will unless he does first. He sets fair prices and doesn’t engage in whining or begging to get them.
9: The successful creative pro spends time marketing herself, building a platform, using the tools that are at her fingertips.
But she doesn’t mistake this for the real work. She keeps it separate, and she makes it happen, but she doesn’t let herself drown in it.
10: The successful creative pro has surprisingly dull systems and routines for much of his life.
He might eat the same five meals all the time, or wear the same three outfits, or even get into other shocking degrees of orderliness such as filing papers, sending invoices on time, keeping clear tax records, writing to a daily quota, or exercising early every single morning.
That’s because he knows those kind of rigid-seeming systems free him up for creativity, release his energy for the work that matters.
And that’s the work they do… the work that matters.