Monday, April 22, 2019

What I write, and why

Read Time: 1.5 minutes

I write about what gets in the way of success, methods of negotiation, and the difficulty we creatives have asking for money.

I also write about airplanes being attacked, high school students beaten by army troops, CEOs being shot at, the struggle we have with fairness, and what’s best for people and planet.

Why would I do that, and why should you be interested?

I believe we creatives have a lot more to offer than the next great marketing campaign, product design, entertainment offer or other addition to the world of commerce that enriches the few at the expense of the many.

There’s another factor here.

So many creatives have taken up the traditional specialties of the commercial world that we’ve commoditized ourselves. It’s strange to think that creativity can become a commodity – but it can, especially in the narrow niches we find ourselves slotted into. Like packaging design. Photography. Copywriting. Interior design. Editing. Branding. And countless others.

Sometimes I think capitalism put us in this position so that we creatives don’t question the status quo. Don’t wonder why our work enriches the few at the expense of the many, as we’re picking up “Best of Show” at the awards banquet.

I believe we creatives have far more to offer the world than what we’re offering today. So I’m searching for opportunities to make bigger changes than what we’ve done in the past. And I’m looking for ways we creatives can get a bigger share of the economic pie, while we give back with all our might.

So follow along. While you’re at it, think about your own vision for making things better. And then let’s compare notes.


  • Carmen Ferguson says:

    Thanks Ted, The compartments have made it possible for many fine artists to make a living. I love your questioning of the status quo and your questions of how the work of creatives perhaps enriches the already enriched at the expense of the many. I don’t know what else to add. Yesterday I was with a young woman who has started her first job at a magazine company. She loves it. I thought she got a fine arts degree like I did, but she got a degree in graphic design. She is able to pay back the enormous student loan debt she had to take on. Really, it’s a shame that so many young people are having to pay back debt and delay buying a home, a new car, or starting a family. So I feel that the current state of higher education needs to be addressed. I’m not in support of free education, but reasonably costed education should be a no brainer. I ended up with under $20,000 in debt for my fine arts degree and degree in French, but I’m sure in todays environment, I wouldn’t have considered such non-renumerativ e degrees. Thanks for the work you continue to do. Carmen

    • Ted says:

      Hi Carman, yes I made a good living in those creative compartments too. And in our world support of those corporate dollars is the most common way for creatives to pay their bills. And I loved the work that I did during those years just like all of my colleagues. So I totally get it. Only now am I questioning. I hope it’s not too late. Ted

    • Rhonda says:


      I agree! So much of the conversation about the economics of what we do begin with higher education. I too do not support free education for all but perhaps a nice place in the middle. Perhaps tuition regulation, like the state of Texas used to have, could help.

      It’s a hard task—figuring out how to change this when then entire world is involved with the problem but not equally involved or interested in solving it.

      A co-op or association could help. But, we’ve seen some associations for our industry only serve a select few and get too committed to one-sided issues that tend to dominate the activities of the organization and ultimately do no serve the entire membership.

      I’m eager to see what you come up with, Ted, because so few of influence see the bigger picture for the small ones (independents).

      • Ted says:

        I believe a creative co-op owned by the workers themselves is a great place to start. And that’s what we’re doing. Thanks for your comment Rhonda.

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