The 90/10 Rule of Being a "Creative Professional"

My paying work is generally described as being a "Creative Professional." My work nearly always incorporates some form of pure brainstorming and idea-generation to solve a problem, or (more often) re-imagining or re-structuring an existing idea to reach a larger group of people. The work can be a lot of fun, and when ideas are flowing, work can feel like play. It's awesome.

However, one element that I always feel that I have to emphasize to people that are interested in working in creative professions is that there are two words in the title "creative professional" and their emphasis is not equal.

There is a myth about "artists" that often lionizes the idea of the eccentric hermit who is obsessed with the creative process. These artistic geniuses live in a higher plane and more ordinary people, like their wives, husbands, agents and publishers must present their work to the world.

The reality is that most successful designers/writers/filmmakers/artists spend the vast majority of their time working on the "professional" side of their business. The creative part of any project, which may be unique and exciting and profound, is often just the spark that must be marshaled through hours, days and months of tedious work to bring it to fruition. Be it a giant mural or a Powerpoint presentation; the most excellent idea doesn't amount to anything if it can't be completed and presented to the appropriate audience. So, keep in mind, that for 10% of creativity that fuels a project, there will be another 90% of professional effort, determination, and resourcefulness necessary to get it to completion.