Some of the best advice I ever got



No one gets where they are by themselves. Positive or otherwise, we’re all shaped by the advice we choose to take or ignore.

These are some of the best bits of advice I’ve gotten over the years. When I follow it, I do better or at least feel better. Hopefully, you’ll find a bit or two that speaks to you.

Words of wisdom and stuff

Say it straight, then say it great.

Don’t depend on anyone else to inspire you. You have to inspire yourself.

Always go to the bathroom before you go into a meeting.

Have confidence in yourself. If you don’t, then don’t expect anyone else too. Know your worth.

Be your own creative director. Push yourself. Push your work. Push yourself as much as you want. Your director and partners can’t do it for you.

If something doesn’t sell the first time, keep it in your pocket. It might work next time.

Understand how you work. Know your own process. Be your own advocate.

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Creativity gone zombie?


(Photo credit: AMC, The Walking Dead, Pilot)

Ever feel like your creative cup has run dry? Like the Sahara Desert, only without the beauty and mystery?

We’ve all been there.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had zero energy, inspiration or give-a-cares to devote to any creative pursuits outside of the fourteen marketing campaigns that are on my To Do List at any given moment. (I’m a copywriter; it’s my job.)

Until recently, I’ve felt pretty crappy about how uninspired I’ve been.

I mean, shouldn’t real writers be writing? Don’t we put a ton of pressure on ourselves to follow our creative passion at all times? I do. I also have a serious case of Imposter Syndrome, so when I’m not writing, I’m even more terrified of being discovered as a total fake.

Worse, if I’m not working on my creative or personal writing, does that mean I’ve turned into one of those ‘writers’ who call themselves writers but don’t actually write and instead just walk around wearing puffy shirts and correcting people’s grammar and wax mysterious when asked about their latest work? (That stereotype came from somewhere and whoever did it, sucks.)

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Getting back in writing shape

Writers Feel the Burn

One of the hardest things about stepping away from your blog for a little while is figuring out how to get back in it. That’s the problem I’m having trouble with now; the brain won’t kick in.

It’s like taking a break after you’ve been working out regularly and then trying to pick up where you left off. You realize just how out of shape your writing has gotten, how slow your pace is now—and how likely you are to sprain something.

Nothing like shame to try to keep you from getting back in the game, huh? Ironically, it’s often when we least feel like writing that we often most need to do so. I’m no exception.

What’s a writer to do?

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What do you feed your Cowardly Lion?

The Cowardly Lion, Wizard of OzI *do* believe in spooks,
I *do* believe in spooks.
I do, I do, I do,
I *do* believe in spooks,
I *do* believe in spooks,
I do, I do, I do, I *do*!
The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz

Fear, worry, panic — oh my!

They’re almost every creative’s steadfast companions. Because regardless how good we are, professional writers are expendable. Freelance, full time, part time, no time…there’s a Stop sign at the end of almost every Client Road.

(Gives ya the warm fuzzies, huh? Yeah, me too.)

Yet even though we know this, we’re still rattled when something in our work environment changes. New editor? New director? Someone leaving? Client folding?

What ever shall we do?

Here’s the problem: Evolution has hardwired us to seek more information about what’s scaring us so we can protect ourselves. Our imaginations can go nuts.

Here’s the thing: The Cowardly Lion never got much done by himself and if you’re gripped by fear, neither will you.

Here’s the good news: You decide what to feed your Cowardly Lion — panic-inducing information or empowering information. Continue reading

Taking a stand against Self Doubt

Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.
― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure 

Pink Duckey, Bring It

Let’s see your war face!

Sometimes it takes a verbal sucker punch to light a fire under your butt.

It sounds counter intuitive, but a few weeks ago I got socked right where it counts and can assure you, an emotional black eye can (eventually) have a more positive, longer-lasting impact than a quick pat on the back and “you can do this.”

Several weeks ago, I was meeting some new people, including a budding young graphic artist wants to go into multimedia. When the conversation turned to what it takes to be a successful creative professional, the question of whether or not it’s worth doing came up.

My companion at this get-together meant to say “Hey, yeah it’s tough but Erica’s really good at it.” Instead, out came, “Oh yeah, Erica’s a writer and she gets laid off a lot.”

“She gets laid off a lot”? Continue reading