Freelancing runs on creativity. In fact, at Moxie, one of our favorite names for freelancers is “independent creators.” Even if your medium follows a more rigid structure, such as accounting or working with data, just the act of starting your own business proves your creative spirit.
Unfortunately, turning your craft into a business also has the nasty habit of corrupting your creativity.
In this week’s episode, Evy and Dane Lyons explore what it means to be a creator and how it differs from being an influencer. While we are all people who enjoy producing content and may potentially build an audience and business with it, Evy says, influencers focus on developing an audience they can monetize.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s far too easy to lose sight of the reasons you love your craft when you tailor it to others’ expectations. This is true both for creating content that you think will appeal to the masses and producing work that has been contracted by a client.
You see, I think very few people explore their creativity for profit, at least in the beginning. You didn’t start writing music or coaching people at the gym because you saw an opportunity for profit. Instead, you watched someone draw when you were seven, thought, “Man, I wonder if I could do that,” and picked up a pencil.
Creative expression is what it means to be human, Evy says. It allows us to explore ourselves with abandon before giving us a safe way to share it with the world. As we do, we often find a direction to pursue, one that helps shape our lives around our passions and interests.
When we use our creative gifts to make a living, however, we often lose the spark that made the adventure so enjoyable. Our escape becomes our everyday and the thing that once recharged us becomes the primary drain on our vitality.
But it doesn’t have to be.
You see, I’ve been writing since my teacher assigned a short story for homework when I was nine years old. When I wanted to change my major during my freshman year of college, I sat and made a list of my passions. Writing was the first thing I included and the one I kept coming back to. Once I graduated, becoming a freelance copywriter just made sense.
I loved writing. I built my life on writing.
And then I hated it.
For years, I couldn’t wait to shut my computer down and stop thinking about words. After long days of drawing from my creative core for work, I had nothing left to feed my soul. I had relied on writing as a refuge for so long that I didn’t know how to refresh my creativity with anything else. I resented my business for what it had stolen from me, but didn’t really want to pursue another career. So I gave up on writing for fun and hoped that someday, somehow, I would be able to rekindle that spark.
And then I started baking. I embraced the simple challenge of solving puzzles, both jigsaw and crossword. I learned that I can spend hours decorating cookies and feel more refreshed when I’m finished, no matter how much sleep I gave up to do it.
As a creator, finding ways to live a creative life that restores your spirit is essential. It’s what allows you to run a business without getting burnt out. When your tank is full, you can use your creativity to make money without losing the passion that drives you.
But you have to be intentional about it. You could, like Evy does, use creation as a source of entertainment rather than watching Netflix. Or, as Dane recommends, ask yourself, “What do I want to bring to the world?” This pursuit may attract an audience and lead to a new business opportunity, but it may also remain a deeply satisfying pastime that’s just for you.
Either way, healthy creativity is a great way to find happiness and fulfillment. When you create for yourself, every day becomes an exciting opportunity and chance to share something wholly yours with the world. So, whether you’re using your passion for fun or trying something new, do something creative tonight. I bet it’ll be just what you need.
Get the full story with Dane and Evy here to learn why they’re passionate about creative freedom, why you should always pursue originality, and what creative projects they’re pursuing.