The Human Freelancer

Happy and honest self-employment for conscientious newcomers

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Like I spout in The Human Freelancer book: creativity isn’t the slippery unicorn it’s made out to be. It’s within your grasp, and just needs the right conditions to fester; like a noxious fart in a hot shower.

The hazy genesis of ideas is covered glibly enough in the ‘Mammalian creativity’ chapter, so now it’s time for a hard practical example of a creative process in operation.

So here’s a blow-by-blow account of how I tackled a recent project which demanded use of my imagination for ends other than scatological smilies. This is spread over the course of a day or two for a professional copywriting project, so adapt/hack as you see fit.

  1. Reduce the project to its underlying principles: what needs to be fixed; what must be included in any solution
  2. Harvest as much information about the subject as you can get your hands on
  3. Distil your own interpretations: jot notes about how you perceive the problem
  4. Find out what’s been done before: research similar projects or what the competition does
  5. Take a break for a day: go for a walk, visit friends (whatever works for you)
  6. Read it all over again
  7. Take another break (this is where it gets hard to resist getting stuck in)
  8. Get stuck in: record any and all rough creative angles/ideas you might explore later
  9. Sound your ideas out: ask your client for feedback and ask which directions they want explored (emphasise they’re still rough)
  10. Get stuck in again: refine your earlier ideas or new ones
  11. Throw in some extra wild card ideas: ones that didn’t get past your censor the first time
  12. Hand your best ones back to the client

There you have it. In a nutshell: loads of reading, thinking, breaks and holding off the actual ‘doing’ however hard it is to resist.

The Human Freelancer book

LOOK! There's a book full of this shit and more!

Self-help business books perpetuate the myth that success is relentless growth and more of everything means progress. They preach about bookkeeping and market research: things you might need to do of course. But let’s face it they’re fucking boring.

The Human Freelancer book is your antidote: stuffed full of emotional support and insightful advice for vulnerable newbies to self-employment like you.

Buy it now