I recently entered the world wide web as a full-time job, having recently left my steady corporate position in favor of something less stressful and with more freedom. My plan is to develop web applications, build and design great websites, continue my passions of writing and photography, and grow my overall knowledge of technology—basically to freelance everything.
Along the way though, I’ve discovered that it’s not quite as easy as it sounds. So to that end, I’ve decided to share with you what I’ve learned about the creative process so far, with five tips that I think anyone can use (and what you’ll need to know if you’re deciding to head out on your own).
It’s vital that you make yourself a list of things that you’d like to accomplish on any particular project. Scientific research has even shown that humans work better with a list structure, and when there’s attainable goals that are kept visible.
If you’re setting out to create, share, develop or otherwise author content on the internet, then you no doubt know how vital it is that your message is captivating to any potential audience. Likewise, even though you can gain a wealth of knowledge and perspective by enjoying the content that others are creating, it’s vitally important that you devote the majority of your time to making your own.
III: KILL OFF DISTRACTIONS
The internet is filled with millions of websites where you can waste your precious time. Everything from online video to blogs to gaming can swallow up an entire afternoon if you’re not careful. Make time for these things sparingly, after you’ve finished your checklist of things that you need to do. And those new photos that your friend just posted on Facebook? They can wait.
IV: PAPER ISN’T DEAD
There’s no doubt that the internet is a great thing, and technology has brought us an incredibly long way as a species. But nothing can ever fully replace the pen and paper if you use it well. Make lists of all your ideas (no matter how silly they seem), write down the musings and ramblings going on in your head or just let whatever flows out of your creative tap go. A little doodling never hurt the imagination either.
V: QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Remember, you don’t necessarily have to be the first at what you’re doing, but you should strive to always be the best. Always be thinking of your end users and their overall experience and perception of your product. Stick to your guns, even it it’d be easier to throw it all together in haste. But along those same lines, don’t get so overly involved and critical of every last detail so as to miss out on an important opportunity. Real artists ship.