My name is Nancy, and I am a creative.
There, I’ve said it.
I sound like I am introducing myself at an AA meeting, don’t I? It feels a little like I should be doing that sometimes. That is the first thing you need to know about creatives. What we do makes us view life a little differently from most. As a result, we do everything a little bit more. We feel a bit more, hurt a little more, we place a value on the most subtle things, we cry a little more, get drunk a little more. I think you get the picture.
There are two different type of creative. The office based and the freelancer. The latter bringing its complexities to the table, but more about that later.
Let’s define a creative. PRs, Writers (I am both of those) Presenters, Artists, Photographers, Musicians, Dancers, Designers, you get the idea. However, there are creative people who don’t sit under the same umbrella. For example, an Architect is creative; they are also logically minded. A website designer is a creative, but if they can build websites too then, they also have a logical mind. If your profession demands you to use anything more than GCSE level English, Maths, and Science, you are not a natural creative. You are a molded creative. You might be slightly spoiled by the dullity of logic. Sorry.
Office based creatives are the kind of people who rock up last to the office. This isn’t because they are useless timekeepers. It is because they have probably been up all night. The rest of the team likes them. They are exciting, funny and dynamic. However, thier colleagues are also highly irritated by their late night antics. They presume, due to the image of perfection creatives wear, that late nights are spent socialising, partying and having fun. In reality, most creatives are up all night over thinking, over analysing, quietly questioning every single thing they said or did during the day. All creatives are insomniacs. It is part of the course.
Freelance creatives are hermits. They spend far too much time in their own company. Their best friend is the computer screen. Their whole world is on their laptop. The flip side of this is that they network. A lot. They don’t want you to see the 80% of their year which is spent pitching, editing, thinking and procrastinating. So they make the 20% they are out networking look like an endless cycle of fun. Most freelance creatives are depressed. I don’t think I am depressed. However most freelance creatives have a knack for eliminating things that don’t fit the brief, so maybe I am.
If you are creative, then your nature is always to look beyond the black and white of everything. This doesn’t stop with the projects you are working with. It overflows into your home life, your parenting, your relationships. If you are a PR, then you are constantly looking for the spin, especially when negative situations come your way. After all what kind of PR are you if your own life isn’t represented better than any of your clients. A PR’s motto: Who wants the truth when you can have something beautiful? This doesn’t make us liars, we simply make filter through situations, bad and good, analyse the outcome of each scenario we could run with, think about who we might hurt, who we may insult, what information needs to be shared and what information needs to be ironed out behind the scenes. That’s not because we are manipulative wankers. It is because it is our job. It is why our clients love us. It is why our clients pay us. If you are in a relationship with a PR, do not try to understand why we do it or how we do it, just accept that we believe it will promote the best outcome for everyone. Trust that we have put a lot of thought into it and researched every detail, that what we choose to do is done with love and passion and a well-educated belief it is right. Our clients feel the same as you. They have just learned to trust that we are doing the very best for their company. Which is why they pay us a good deal of money to do a job that looks so bloody easy from the outside. A PRs partner needs to trust we are doing the very best for our relationship. Even if they can’t agree, or don’t understand. They also need to realise we have already gone through the possible outcomes, so anything you say or do will have already been accounted for, and we will have an answer. Again, because it is our job to, not because we are trying to make you look small. You say we have an answer for everything. Yes. We do. Because we have to.
Our social media feeds are full of happy families, none of our days out can pass without a quickly taken photo which most people would snap without thought but we have been plotting the exact positioning and the exact moment, so the image says “happiness and joy, love and unity” not “Hi, we are actually faking this smile because we have spent the whole morning arguing about who emptied the bin and didn’t replace the bag” Who wants the truth, when you can have something beautiful? Humans claim they want the truth, but the simple fact is, you will never get the truth. Not because PRs are busy spinning you a web of lies, but because each human sees the truth differently. There is no divine being who will deliver you the truth. This is because the truth is far more complicated than many of us can handle. It isn’t too much for a creative to handle. Because we know how to focus on the facts that matter. To empathise with each element. To deconstruct before reacting. Then to think very carefully about how we deliver the important factors of the truth to you. This only becomes an issue if you, like many of the media, are corrupted by another person’s viewpoint. Again, this applies to both professional and emotional relationships. If you are corrupted by another person’s views. It’s time to ship out. You cannot do your job subjectively if it hasn’t come from your empathy.
A writer is a creative who spends their days looking to find the heart of something. The infinite detail that no one else could see. This means they are naturally really nosey and more often than not, very talkative. Of course by their very nature, a chatty creative goes home to analyse every word they have said and when you say to a talkative creative “You’re a chatterbox” it hurts. It hurts because we know. Better than you. Because we stay awake at night procrastinating about it and feeling stupid. Unfortunately, if we weren’t like that, then we wouldn’t be very good at our job. Or we would only write terribly depressing stories with no real human engagement to them. A writer will take the PR detail. The bare basic bones that give only the facts that matter and they will research and dig up the detail that people think they want to know. Depending on the type of writer they are, you will either get a story which reflects the facts but raises small, beautiful elements. Little subtleties that could go unnoticed. Or, you will get a full blown emotional outburst, calling out each and every missing detail. Writers are creatives that have the power to lead you. To make you think one way or another. That can be used for good or evil. They say the pen is mightier than the sword for a reason. Again in our relationships, we spill this same vibe. If your partner is a writer who is passionate, fair and empathic, then you should draw from this. If your partner writes full of hate and misery, you may want to consider if that relates through into their heart. You can find out everything you need to know about a person by the way they write. Writing is honest, even if the writer isn’t being honest. Their sentences, thought, depth and research will undoubtedly tell you everything you need to know.
An artist is very similar to a writer. Only they are slightly braver. Writers hide behind the pages a little. We say what we feel and then wait for the fallout. Of course, we don’t listen to the 99 positive comments, we wait for the single negative one and focus just on that. Mainly because that one person is affirming what we already lie awake at night and think. That we aren’t good enough. An artist who paints or creates has the sculpture to hide behind. They can say what they feel through beautiful works of art, although they will only focus on the one bit that they aren’t happy with. They probably dislike most of their pieces, but if people are paying for them, they will live with it. An artist who sings is the bravest. Take Amy Winehouse or Adele. Pouring out the absolute truth, facts that most of us would never reveal, and then standing barefaced in front of the world and singing them at us. They expose themselves completely with nothing to hide behind. Actors are similar. However, let’s look at how many actors and singers are now dead. Overdoses and such likes.
Creatives are the happiest looking bunch of miserable fuck ups you will ever meet. However, most of this is due to the fact they have been made to feel different. Or because they are so honest with their heart that they have been an easy target for people to attack. They are fuck ups because their life is a constant management of truth versus necessity. The lesser of two evils. Because of having to make these choices every single day, people are often suspicious of them. Creatives usually have a moral battle going on inside them. Take photographers. The dead baby on the beach. It’s a truth. There it is. A fact. But there are so many complexities lying behind it that we have to ask ourselves, does anyone need this truth. Rest assured if it is published, printed, created or written then we actually believed it was a truth you needed to know. For a good reason. If it isn’t, then we believed you didn’t need to know, for a good reason. Whichever we do, someone will hate us for it. God, it really is depressing.
And despite the fact that what a creative does is often a twist or a little smoke and mirror of the truth, they are more honest than most people on earth about the things that actually matter.
You can tell a creative that they are a shit person but they are the most likely to look you in the eye and say “I’m not shit, I’m a pain in the arse, but it’s who I am” they will also be the first to say “I honestly thought this was the very best way to deal with it” they will probably be right. Although, creatives are not infallible.
A creative is entirely honest with their heart. It’s why so many of us have such utterly dramatic love lives. Because we fall in love with a purity that a lot of people cannot understand. Then create havoc because our chosen profession means we can’t just take the most simple route and allow the people we love or the clients we are passionate about, suffer.
We are not 9-5 individuals who close the door and go home. We are 24/7 people who pick apart everything until we are left with the core. The piece that matters. The heart. Then we lose the shit parts, not just because we are terribly disorganised, even those of us who look organised, but because those crap pieces are better off being replaced with our creative gold. Then we present it back to the world. Nothing a creative person touches is ugly. Even the hardest things to look at. There is always beauty because you are looking at something that has been studied so intimately and presented to you with that same intimacy.
Creative people are fascinating. They tell a story, a damn good one. They are also lonely, sad, conflicted, busy, always solving problems, constantly managing their emotions and very rarely put their feelings before others. They have heads full of constant problems. Ideas working overtime. They never switch off.
There. I think that is just about everything you could every need to know about creatives. This whole blog was essentially just me procrastinating when I should be writing something important.