An Open Letter to Those Who Lead Creatives. Part 1.

First of all, thanks for hiring us. We appreciate the steady income.

Below are just some thoughts, at random, that you might find helpful in “managing” us.

1. Let us work in our own space and time.
9-5 doesn’t always work. It just doesn’t. Sometimes the best strokes of creativity come after watching a great movie. Sometimes the motivation to knock out a ton of work comes after loading the dishwasher. So if we’re forced to “create” at the office, you may not get our best. If we get a burst at 10 PM, embrace that possibility and don’t try and force one at 10 AM. Let us leave the office. Let us browse magazines, blogs, vimeo and drink lots of coffee.

2. Because of #1, please set deadlines.
Listen, you hired a great artist because the artist never thinks the work is done to perfection. Chances are, if left to swim in never-never land, we’ll never land the plane. Give us [reasonable] deadlines. Deadlines force creatives to flex the muscle. And we all know, the more you work a muscle, the stronger it gets. Let us create in our own space in time, to meet your deadlines. And our work will get stronger.

3. Let us see the “whole” purpose.
We know that you need to tape yourself giving a 5-minute devotional on prayer closets. But why? And who’s your audience? What the medium you’re going to deliver it with? What’s the underlying theme of your devotional? We’re not asking because we want to change it. We’re asking so that we can communicate it in a more effective way. AND, we really don’t like doing a crappy job. Creativity can speak without words. When we use both, we’re speaking in multiple languages at once [read: we’re reaching more people]

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I’ll be picking up where I left off with these in another post with a few more.

I’m blessed to work with a great team that affords me these freedoms and space by design. My church, my department and my pastoral staff all support me in these ways. And I’ve worked in churches where it was less so. I’ve worked in design departments where we were expected to launch a website per day, at minimum. That produced many fruits – some good, some not so. I think the biggest take away looking back, is that regardless of where I’ve been working creatively, communication is key. Create, then communicate and receive clear expectations, and most of the hassle falls off.

Here’s to you, whatever you’re creating.

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