Creative Pep Talk

401 - The Creative Journey Survival Guide: The 3 Must Have Essentials

Episode Summary

If I could only give a creator 3 pieces of advice - this would be it. It’s very easy to get lost on the creative journey, but with these three calibrating elements, you don’t have to stay lost long. If you’re stuck and unsure of what your creative practice is missing, tune in and see which of these three essential things you might need to add to the mix!

Episode Notes



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Identify your three P’s.

  1. People
  2. Practice/Project
  3. Product


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Episode Transcription


[00:00:00] Andy J. Pizza: Quick shout out to our sponsor Canvas. I love when we get to partner with a product that I love as much as I do this desk lamp. And you're like, Andy, what are you? Brick from Anchorman loving a lamp so much. What's your problem, man? Well, If you got your hands on one of these bad babies, you're gonna fall in love too, because every single thing has been thought of.

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[00:01:40] Yoni Wolf: On the creative journey, it's easy to get lost but don't worry you'll lift off. Sometimes you just need a creative pep talk.

[00:01:59] Andy J. Pizza: Hey, you're listening to the Creative Pep Talk podcast. I'm your host, Andy J. Pizza. Pizza. I love the jingle to this show. I didn't write it. It was written by Yoni Wolf of the band WHY? and performed by him, and it works with one of their songs, and I love it because it starts in the exact point of this show, which is on the creative journey.

It's easy to get lost. And the creative journey is about reaching your creative potential. I was watching this movie the other night on Netflix called Tick, Tick, Boom. It's the story of Jonathan Larson, and he's played by Andrew Garfield. It was directed by Lin Manuel Miranda. Lin Manuel has said that one of his all time heroes in the theater world is this guy Jonathan Larson, that the movie's about.

And Jonathan Larson is the person that made the Broadway smash hit Rent, which you've probably heard of. And I'm, I was so. Fascinated by this movie and moved because it is that picture of the artist that just feels convicted, that they have something within them, that they are trying desperately to figure out how to get it out.

How do they get the thing on the outside of them to match the potential that they know that they have within them? It is such a difficult journey. It's so easy to lose your. On this journey and I got to thinking about like, what are the basic essentials to surviving, not even thriving, but just surviving this journey and getting to a place where you feel like at least some of that potential has been trans mutated.

Out into the universe and out of your body and into the world, like what are the basic ingredients? And that's what we're gonna talk about in this episode. Let's go.

So I have a copy of Rent, the theatrical version of the movie on DVD, but it's not mine. I'm actually just hoarding it, holding onto it from a friend of mine who let me borrow it, and we just haven't got around to watching it. It's one of those things that's. Once you reach a certain point, you just feel like, I can't even watch it now.

But I also have had it too long. Like we do need to watch it. And after watching Tick, tick, boom, the movie about the creator, I'm even more I'm closer to actually doing it. I don't know what my problem is, but the person who gave me this was a personal trainer that I was working with for the first half of last year.

You're not gonna believe this, but his name is Andy J Burger. That's his real name. Andy J Pizza. And Andy J. Burger at the gym. Like, it just sounds absolutely ridiculous. And I, I never planned to work with a personal trainer long term because I just knew like I'm not some celebrity with just piles of cash who can just have a personal one-on-one trainer for the long run.

But I wanted to work with somebody long enough. To kind of know the basics. And I think through that process, I really I hated the process cuz it was super hard. But I loved working with this guy. He was, he was great and he kind of embodied in a way what I hoped to do in this. Podcast, but for your creative muscles.

And I thought a lot about how, you know, Michael Jordan was the best basketball player of all time, and Phil Jackson was not. Phil Jackson was. If you don't know Michael Jordan's coach, and I think we forget that the greatest. Athletes of all time also needed an outside perspective to stay on the path and make their way to reaching their potential.

They needed an exterior voice. And in the last episode we talked about how over time, over the eight years I've been making this show and the 400 episodes of making this show, how it's evolved from, it started out of me being like. Hey, here's some ideas that have really super helped me, and I want to teach you them and share them with you.

And it's evolved into more like a podcast companion, like a weekly companion that accompanies you on your creative journey, like Sam Wise, GAM G does with Frodo. Go back step Sam. I'm going to Maror alone. Of course you are. And I'm coming with you.

Where it's just someone with some slightly different skills and an outside perspective is able to go alongside your Michael Jordan with their Phil Jackson, and that's kind of what this show's all about.

But as I worked with this personal trainer, the thing I realized that was really essential was that the trainer understands like, they don't necessarily want what you have. They might want less. They might want more. They might just want different, and that's really, really essential to understand because I'm never gonna look like Andy J Burger, okay?

I don't know if you're listening to this man, but you know, he kinda looks like a Marvel superhero. I'm never gonna do that. I just don't care enough to do that. I wanna be healthy. I want to stay alive on my personal journey. And feel good while I'm doing it. That's that is my goal. And so I don't need the super in depth, crazy how to be at the top level kind of tips.

I just need to know some of the basics, and that's why I thought I'm gonna work with personal training for a while. get to know my way around the gym a little bit enough to survive it to, to survive the gym without, you know, dropping weights on my neck and, and conking myself out or some stuff like that.

And so that's what I wanna do. And so in this show, I've just thought more and more like what are the essentials? What if you were, if the creative journey is you out in the creative wilderness, which it is cuz you gotta chart your own path. It's not a pav. Nice sidewalk you are trying to go where no human has ever gone before.

That's what this creative journey is all about. Yeah, and if you're doing that, you're most certain you're guaranteed to get lost out there in the wilderness. There are gonna be times in your creative journey if you're doing it right. You're gonna get way off the path, way off the beaten path, way off from the landmarks and the signs.

And you've gotta know what are the basics that keep me grounded, that get me back to the path when I've lost my way? And those are the essentials. And so that's what this episode's about. We're gonna talk about. I, I spent a lot of time over the past couple weeks thinking about if I could only tell a creator three things, what would they be?

What would be the three things that I would say, like if you get lost in the actual woods, you need shelter, food, and water. Like tho, if you don't have those things that you won't survive. What are the survival essentials for your creative practice? That's what we're gonna talk about in. Episode these three things are things that I cannot create without, and that's what we're gonna get into right now.

To make it nice and simple, I've figured out words that are all starting with P so that you can easily remember them, and I'm gonna try to do them in the order in which I think a hierarchy of most important to least important to a degree. Although I think they are like shelter, food and water, I think you can't really survive.

All three of them. But I also think I try to put 'em in order in which the dominoes need to be lined up, I think. And so last episode we talked about forget what you want for your creative practice and focus on what your creative practice needs. And so this episode is also kind of reply to that cuz these are the essentials, these are the necessities.

And how I would think about, I had someone ask me, how do you know what you need? Well, these are the things you need, and as you go through here, you need to go through one, two, and three, and if you have one, you can move on to two. If you have one and two, you can move on to three. I would kind of prioritize them in this way.

Okay, so here, here are the top three, the three Ps of creative survival.

The first one is finding your people. I would say if I couldn't, if I could only share one thing with you as a creator, it would be people, people, people. The three P's would be all people. But that's, that's very confusing cuz that's not

Those aren't the three Ps of this episode. But people, I don't think there is a creative. Success story a story of a creator really unearthing their potential that did not. Require very key people, you know, mentors peers proteges, enemies, like I also thought about this episode, if we're thinking about it like a journey, like the hero's journey at the start of the journey.

The hero gets this call to adventure and then he refuses the call. They refuse the call, they go out there and Luke says, you know what, nevermind. And, and Neo says, you know, nah, I'm just gonna go back to bed. Like, they're not going to do the adventure until they meet. The mentor and until they meet the allies, and so you can, and that, okay, that works in story, Andy, but what about real life?

I'm telling you right now, I think about my creative heroes like Mike Burbiglia. Like if you go listen to his story, the most essential piece from my point of view was he had this. Time at college where he just so happened to be surrounded by people like John Elaney and the other guys escaping my head right now, but he, he's another really famous comedian.

I don't know. Dang it, I can't remember, but, If you go dive in just a little bit, you're gonna find those people because they went to college together and they formed a group and they put on shows, and that was essential. The exact same thing happened to me in a much, much smaller, less famous scale, but there were three guys in my college that changed my life, and it was from competing with each other ex, you know, trying to outdo each other, getting excited about what each other's doing, collaborating with each other.

Completely and utterly essential. And then on top of that, people like Mike, Mike Burbiglia also talk about like his time on the road with his creative hero, Mitch Hedberg, which we're not all lucky enough to spend FaceTime with our creative hero, but. Even having one, even knowing who they are. And so finding your people, finding your scene, and getting and embedding yourself in any possible way that you can into that scene is an ultimate game changer.

I think that there is even an element in which it is a kind of mysterious what happens because when I was at school and Lee Ford came. Is an incredible illustrator. If you look him up, I don't think he's super active online right now, but Lee Ford illustration, you go look at that stuff, it's just gorgeous.

It's just, it is elegant simplicity. He's, he's a real, he was a real thinker in terms of hi, how he approached illustration and he came to our class at the end of my first year of college. . And I'm telling you, that day was the day that I really said yes to the call that I quit refusing it and jumped in because I realized like, this guy's a person.

This guy is a lot like me. He saw something in my work. I like he was interested and intrigued and kind of gave me that feeling. You got something kid. And in that movie, tick, tick, boom. You see Sondheim, who I believe, I'm not a theater geek, but I believe he's the guy who wrote west Side Story says a similar thing to Jonathan Larson, and it's kind of like a blessing and a curse because in some ways it's the thing that when, when you have a hero, acknowledge.

Your gift, acknowledge your potential. That's not realized. It becomes this like engulfed obsession to get that thing out into reality. And, and in a way, if you're not careful, I feel like it can kind of burn you out, but. It, it, it's, and it's a deeply power powerful motivator to be affirmed like that.

And I've had a handful of those in, in my experience, and they have been absolutely essential to keeping the fuel in the tank. And so what do you do? What, how do you do it? I think the first thing you have to do is you have to come to terms with the fact that you're not that unique. I , I talk about this sometimes where if I'm talking to a group of like business people, if I go to speak to like a team that's not that's either a mixed group of creators or, and, and, and non-res, or at least they don't think that they're creators.

If it's all the whole company, then I'm gonna talk, I might talk about how you're really unique and you need to embrace that, and you need to find your neurodiversity, you know? Scientists talk about how scientists, scientists, I don't know, people in white lab coats, smart people, doctors, I don't know. I've read articles of people saying there is no true neurotypical.

There are people that are more neurotypical than others, but. Every brain's different. And so if I'm talking to that group of businessy people, I'm gonna be saying lean in. Like you have a super computer in your brain. That is one of a kind. We don't, it's so complicated. We don't even know how it does. What it does.

It's, it's so incredible and yours does stuff that no other one does. And if. Actively spending the time to figure out that uniqueness. You are wasting your opportunity here on Earth, and I really believe that. But if I'm talking to creative people, I'm going to sometimes tell them the exact opposite because I think it's what we need to hear that you are something like 0.1% different to any other person on this planet, like your dna.

So close to every other human, and even, it's even really, really close to like chimpanzees. Like you're not that special. And the reason why I say that is because you need to find your people. You need to find people who are doing the kind of creative work in a way. where the creative juice you have, they have found the perfect jug to serve it in.

You know, if you're the creative wine that you're squeezing the perfect glass, the vessel, my brother. My older brother got super into bourbon. Now he's on to tequila. But he would tell me about, he was a real connoisseur. He would tell me about, this is why this glass is shaped the way it is specifically for this bourbon, because it accentuates every, the bouquet, everything that's special about this unique thing.

It is the perfect glass for that. And, and, You know, I think it's good to get in touch with the essence of your creativity, the essence of your message, like what you're all about, what you have to say, what, how you wanna say it. You know, the feeling that you wanna produce in people, like, I think get into the why, get into the abstract of like, this is the point.

This is what I'm wrestling with. These are the questions I want to ask. These are, The psychological ways I want to impact people. Maybe it's through story, maybe it's through you know, music or contrast or whatever it is. It's good to get in that abstract in the creative juice of like, what's the essence of this thing?

But then you gotta know like, What kind of glass do it suits, this creative juice? What kind of jug are we talking about that we need to put this thing in? And so if you're into story that might be like why you're doing it. And it's, it's the essential thing. It's the, it's the espresso, but what cup do you serve it in?

Because there's so many different ways to tell a story. You know the even down to like, yeah, it's a kid's book in a movie are light years apart, but even TV and movies are so far apart and you're seeing this in Marvel right now. Everybody kind of come into terms with how every Marvel movie is almost like an episode of a greater TV show.

And people are, I think I personally have a hard time with that. Cause I'm like, I want, I need to pay off in a movie. I need to, I need to have some resolve. And when I'm watching tv, it seems like there's only two acts to a show. Cause it's Act one, act two, act one, act two, and every episode. And then Act three.

The resolution doesn't even does it either happens at the end of the season or the end of the show itself. And we kind of have an understanding of that. And so if, depending on what kind of story you have to tell is going to. Tell you who your people are. They're the people that are working with a very particular type of creative jug.

And for me personally, picture books is such a good one because it is a real balance of juice and jug because you can get real creative. You can. Real like, stylistic in a picture book, but it's not so heavy on the jug side that it's like a graphic novel where it's so much drawing and it's not so heavy on the story side where it's this a whole novel, no pictures.

It's a really good balance of those two, and I find that. That's a, that's where my people are. That's, that's one of the places where people like me create. And so that's the number one. The number one is find your people and then I would say do whatever it takes to have real relationships with them.

That may mean virtually, that may mean online. That may mean just consuming for a long time consuming stuff like podcasts and interviews, but have a real relationship to. The, the guides, the people that, that you want to be like, that you might not ever be friends with, but they're kind of true north for you.

And then have real relationships to allies in that place. Because the, the number one thing about finding your people is. Lifting the limits, learning the how to walk and talk like them, how to think like them, how they get where they go believing that you have what it takes, like getting an outside perspective.

All those things of like mindset. That's the number one thing. But the second thing is the collaborations. Because the collaborations are the number one way when you create a scene with a few other people. , that is the best chance you have of getting discovered. Like I, I so thoroughly believe this. Now, go find your favorite creative heroes in any any medium, any creative field, study their story.

And I would say nine out of 10 are going to have at some point been immersed within a scene. Because it's that essential. That's the first one. And I c and yeah, I went on and on about it. I don't know how long, 15 minutes talking about this. I could go 15 hours easily. We could do a whole series about that.

Maybe we will someday. But that is it in the best nutshell that I can put it in.

Hey, real quick, I want to tell you about something. So I do a lot of public speaking. That's a big part of my creative practice. It's one of my favorite. Expressions of creativity is live storytelling. And you know, I can't always do all the events that I want to do, but I have figured out a cool way to hopefully do a lot of events that I wouldn't be able to otherwise this year.

So in the next six months, we are going to start going into sales mode for a new book that I have coming out. I'm not announcing what the book is yet, publicly. If you have an event, that you are going to schedule for in the next six months? We are doing a thing where, yes, you can book me like normal or you can do a book buy, which is essentially this thing where the event organizer just buys a book for every attendee, and the books are, I think about 18 bucks, about 20 bucks each.

And so if you are able to buy a book for every attend, Then we will try to make a virtual stop at least, if not an in-person one. And if you want to inquire about what it looks like to get a live creative pep talk, go to my website, andy j, or give us an email at hi andy j And this is kind of a limited thing, but we're hoping to book out as many events as we.

And get these books into as many hands as possible. So go check it for information around speaking and you can email hi andy j If you have an event that you'd like to explore this opportunity for.

Okay, number two. The second P is practice. Cultivate a creative practice. And I'll explain what I mean by that. But before I do, I gotta tell you that the person I forgot was Nick Kroll. In between recording this, I went and looked that up. Nick Kroll was one of those people, and Mike Burbiglia. Early comedy scene at college.

They didn't even have a comedy scene. They made it up. They like made a comedy night at a restaurant. There's a really good episode of The Great Creators with Guy Raz. That was one of the episodes I super loved. And Nick goes deep into that. I love, I love when comedians, when you can get a comedian talking sincere.

Because it, I don't know, they seem often so embarrassed to take themselves seriously. I don't have time to go into this, but I'm a big believer in there's a quote. , never take yourself seriously, but take the work seriously. Big fan of that. I, I love people that can do that. And Nick Kroll is, is very earnest in that episode and, and talks about that scene and, and how essential, I mean, that hit that whole episode's kind of about, kind of about that first p so I could give you countless examples of this.

There, there are so many examples of people that just happened to go to high. With people they ended up working with and creating with, and then people that went out and sought out those scenes and that became everything to them. People like Abby Jacobson and Ilana Glazer when they went and did improv together and they never got into shows and they, they ended up having this little group that created Broad City like.

so essential. Anyway, we're already on to number two. The second one is cultivate a practice. And what I mean by that, and it's why I think I was driven to create a podcast about creative careers, it's less about making money, so to speak, although I, I do have a deep passion for helping creative weirdos make their way in the world.

Because for, for most of us, we feel like there was no path that was going, that was. Was preexisting that was gonna lead to lead to us thriving. So we have to carve out our own, we have to create a career, and that's what I think of as creative careers. And, and so there's a big part of that that has been true through this show, but there's just so much more to it than that.

And, and ultimately, you know, it's about reaching your creative potential. The other thing that really drew me to career creatives is this idea of being able to make great creative work consistently like that goes hand in hand with this idea of creative journey. Jason Sturgell, who is an illustrator friend of mine, sent me a quote from the new Rick Rubin book, which I haven't read, that talks about the difference between an artist and a craftsman or a craftsperson, and he said an artist.

Goes into the work with a question and is is kind of wrestling with a question and a craftsperson is going in with a solution with an end in mind. Now I just wanna bring a little nuance to that cuz I have my own opinions there. To me it sounds like he's also getting at the idea of. Plotter versus pants.

Pants are being the artist. The person that doesn't know where the book is gonna go, they're flying by the seat of their pants. They just sit down and start writing and they're off. The plotter is somebody who meticulously builds an outline. And knows exactly where it's gonna end. And then reverse engineers how to get there, kind of writes the book backwards.

And I just, you know, there's a little bit of, I get a little bit angry and I don't, angry is too much little salty. When I, when I hear people calling plotters not artists, I feel like the need to defend myself because I'm a plotter and I also think, you know, things. Shows like Lost where they were told to just Pants.

The thing like later it came out that writers were just told to like, make any the craziest thing you can come up with and we'll figure it out later. And I think a lot of us weren't super satisfied with the way that that ended. And then we have people like Ryan Johnson, who was definitely a plotter, the guy who wrote knives Out and Glass Onion and the second new Star Wars and a whole bunch of other great.

Well, I'm not gonna say that movie Star Wars is great, only because I don't wanna fight anybody. But Ryan Johnson's definitely a plotter, but I would also call him an artist, you know? And, and so I think that my obsession is how can you hold these two things in tension to me, those are the great creators to use Guy RA's phrase.

The people that can do both at the same time. And one example I've said a bunch of times on this show is Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm because they, they plotted out and then they pants their way through the scenes, they, they have the outline of the show and they don't have a script. So they're improving the scenes, but they know where the scene has to end up.

And I feel like that to me, Finding how to be an artist and having a craft and approaching it like an art is so essential. And the, and the reason why I go on this huge rant is because that's what I'm getting at with creative practice and the, the idea of creative career was so appealing to me because, Career creatives treat their creativity as a habit, as a practice, as a thing that they're going to continue to do, whether anybody has asked them to do it or given them permission to do.

Now what are, what I mean by that is what do you have? Do you have a creative outlet that nobody gives you permission to do that? You start ideas, you refine ideas, and you publish ideas with nobody else's permission. It could be a blog, it could be a personal project where you just post a piece every Monday.

That's part of this thing. It could be a podcast like I've done for the past eight years that has a few different components. It has a, a storytelling component. It has a non-fiction component. It has episode art every week. So mine's a little bit advanced in terms of what it probably has to be, but it, my creative practice didn't really start until in 20.

After I'd already graduated high school or graduated college several years outta college, I'd already done client work. I don't feel like my practice started until I started a daily project where I drew a new character every weekday for a year because that. Became a habit. And since that time, I've never had, oh, okay.

I won't say never. I took, I do think taking some small breaks is a good idea, but I've never gone a year without having a habit, without having a practice. And I think that if you have the people, you have the scene, you know, and by the way, I'm a part of a couple scenes podcasting scene, kids book scene you know, a few different, I've got a couple.

It's not just one, but you've gotta start with at least one. Once you have that, I think you've gotta have a creative practice. You've gotta have a place where you are able to create whether anybody's giving you permission or not. And again, if you go study your creative heroes, I feel like. Seven out of 10, eight out of 10, nine out of 10 of them are going to have a creative outlet that nobody gets to say no to.

And yes, it might be they're, they have a nightly, you know, talk show and someone could eventually say no to that. But if they did, they would find another thing like Conan O'Brien. Eventually, yes, he retired from his late night show, but he started a podcast. And even if the people that help him do that podcast, shut it down, he could find a way to carry on with that creative practice.

And so it doesn't matter if your creative practice does require some permission, it just means that you don't need permission to continue to do it. And I think the most I could give you, I could go on for hours about why creative habit. Creative practice is the second most essential thing in your creative journey.

But I'll just say this, I think that the number one reason why it's essential is because creativity is not becoming a lawyer. It's not okay. How do you become a lawyer? Here is the equation. Here's the formula. No, it's much messier than that. It's more like a story. It's more like a journey. And you can have a, a loose framework.

You can have some, these are the essentials like we're doing in this episode, but you can't say you. Do this every time because at different, a as times change, as projects change as as you change throughout, you need, sometimes you need to be focusing on being open. Sometimes you need to be putting on your critic hat.

There are all these different energies. If you try to write an edit at the same time, you are going to hit creative block. You can't do both of those things at the same time. Fact. That's a fact. A fact. I'm kidding. So, worked up man. I think it's a fact. Anyway , I'm just like trying to lighten myself.

Come on, man. That maybe that was the editor coming in as I'm writing at the same time being like, Andy, it's just. It's okay, just settle down. But you're gonna need to do a lot of different things at different times. And it's also kind of like Mike Tyson saying everybody's got a plan until they get punched in the face, right?

Like you have to be able to discern in the moment, the right next step. And I strongly believe that the only way to do that is to work those creative muscles and keep them. Spritely, I don't think that's the right word. I'm, there's a word kind of in that zone phonetically that I'm looking for that I can't find right now.

But you gotta keep 'em, they, they gotta be at the ready, you know what I'm saying? And so the only way to do that is to have tons of experience working those muscles, working that intuitive sense, knowing. Flip in between modes, between the editor, between the player.

[00:35:30] Yoni Wolf: I don't wanna be a player no

[00:35:32] Andy J. Pizza: more. You got, and then you gotta take it off and you gotta take the the play mindset off and say, I don't wanna be a player no more.

I wanna be an editor. And then you gotta switch those gears anyway. . The only way that you do that is through muscle memory. We did a Patreon Zoom room hangout recently, and one of the people there was talking about how there seems to be these contradictory ideas when it comes to how to approach the creative process.

And that is very true. And the thing that we came away with is that the key isn't knowing the right thing to do. It's discerning what the right thing to do is right now. Because the thing that's right, right now might be wrong in the next phase because you're gonna bring totally different energies to different parts of the creative process, different parts to your creative career.

We did a whole episode about this which I don't have the number off the top of my head, but we'll put it in the show notes. It's the episode where we talked about the multi-stage rocket and the episode art has a little rainbow sat on a multi-stage rocket like a spaceship. I don't know if it's a spaceship.

I dunno if they call it that, but like NASA launching rockets is the idea that. What gets you off the ground is a type of engine that you're gonna have to let go of to get through the atmosphere and get lift out past that. And you're gonna have to let go of what worked before and embrace something new.

And just because it's a multi-stage rocket, just because what gets you off the ground won't get you into the atmosphere or get you to the moon or get you to your goal, doesn't mean. You can't determine what those things are at those time. It doesn't mean just because they're different things. Just because they might even be contradictory things doesn't mean that you just say, well, there is no right.

There is no wrong. Nobody knows what they're doing. I, I. Strongly disagree with that. I actually think that in order to know what the right next move is, you have to work those muscles. You have to have lots of real time experience. You have to do what comedians do, where they work it out and write on stage, which writing on stage means making mistakes in public.

It means having a creative practice where everything that you post in that Instagram project, hopefully it's. But it's not all gonna be great, and sometimes it might not even be good, and you have to get comfortable with that because it's the only way that you get to know what were the things that led me?

What did, what did it feel like when I was making something that wasn't going well? and get familiar with what that feels like in your body, in your process, so that you can work the most important creative muscle, which is that discernment of what energy do I need to bring to this phase in the process?

And I, you hear even comedians talk about when they haven't been in the club. On a regular basis, they talk about it exactly like not being at the gym, not being at practice for the game, like being out of practice because you have to be working that muscle. And it, the only way to do that is a creative practice.

And that's why I made it the second p in this episode.

All right. The. Final one, and I'll try to make this one a little bit quicker, so just apologies. Sorry for getting so excited. I don't feel like creativity, there are rights and wrongs necessarily there. It, it, it's your creative journey. There's mo, there's so many different ways to get there, but I do feel really passionate about the fact that if you have these three things in your creative practice, it is going to be really additive.

I've seen it so many times and it's been so helpful to me that I'm just getting excited. Talking about talking past Andy just being like, Hey, man, really consider these three things. You can forget almost everything else if you, until you get these three things going, because they really are essentials.

All right. Number three is a product, develop a product, and we talk about a lot of the people that listen to the show are trying to make a career out of this thing. That is part of it, and I'll get to what I mean by that or how that relates to career. But I ultimately, for me personally, in my creative practice and in my creative values, and, and you don't have to share this, meaning, you don't have to have the same opinion as I do on this.

That's totally fine. But for me you know, I feel like, well, no, I don't feel like I know that we are social animals as, as humans, and, and, and that just means that we don't exist very well. We don't survive very well without other people and sure. That seems a little bit covered in the first p that we talked about, but the reason why it applies here is, is I think you, you need a product for your an end goal a, that this really is that creative jug for the juice.

In mind as a regular part of your process because I think the shipping of your product is an essential part of the creative process in order for it to be finished, in order to have closure. You don't have to sell it, but I think you have to make it, and you have to have an idea of what it is because it gives you all the constraints creatively that tell you what this thing needs to be and where this thing is ultimately going.

And it, it's just really essential, I think, to wrap your head around. , what is the end product? What is the end result? You know, we've done whole series about the creative journey being like the hero's journey, and there being these two phases. In the hero's journey, there is the going out and getting the creative elixir, the cure for your creative tribe, and then bringing home is the second.

There's a whole cyclical thing where once you have the cure, once you have the elixir, you can bring it home. But guess what? Nobody at home might want to take it. Like, why do they trust you? Why do they believe you? There's so many stories where the hero goes and gets the cure, gets the elixir, and brings it home.

But nobody trusts them. Nobody believes them. You see this even in real life with different cures that we have found. Throughout time, you know, there were doctors that found these cures for stomach ulcers, and nobody believed that what they found was the cure, and so they gave themself the disease and cured it to prove it, like bringing it home.

Was as important as discovering the the cure itself. And so this notion of how does it filter back into what matters most in this life, which is our relationship with others, what is the point of it? How does it serve? How does it bless other people? How do you get other people to interact with what you're doing?

For me personally, I've even found that a lot of my obsession with story is being an ADHD person that felt like I wasn't able to explain my experience or feel understood. And I think part of my obsession with story was just getting some tools to help this chaotic brain to have some framework for how I'm going to communicate how I'm feeling, and then I've.

I've done, I've been working on some creative projects that I'm not sure I will even put out in the world because I've been making them. And the end product was something I shared with just a few family members and sh and showed it to them and said, Hey, this is, this is the story. This is the thing that's been on my heart.

And, and, and you know, we shed some tears and we connected and that end product did. What I needed that creative work to do, which was connect me to other people. And so it's not j Having an end product I think is essential whether you're selling it or whether you're trying to make this a career or not.

Now, if you are trying to make it a career or you are trying to make it additive in your financial department to justify the time that you spend, hopefully to some degree if you are doing that, one of the biggest mistakes that I did early in my practice was I, I, I loved the idea of something like a thousand true fans, which we we're gonna talk about that we've talked about it a million times.

We're gonna keep talking about it a million times because it's such an essential idea. Because when you go to create, it's so easy to get in that industrial mindset, that industrial revolution that was just a small blip in the history of creativity. You know, it used to be, You had a few patrons, just a few people that you were actually making stuff for that was true before you had to have millions of sales as a musician to survive.

Like this is, this idea of a thousand true fans is not a new thing. And I feel like when you go to make stuff for the masses, you water down who you are and what your creative offering is, and it's, and it's just such an abstract target. It becomes impossible. But if you have a product and you have a few people in mind, probably you're one of those people or past you as one of those people, it gives you all the things you need to know on the particulars of what would do it for these people.

What is their taste? What are they like in the stuff, and how can I surprise them? Even like having a target is such a useful creative constraint. But so I love the idea of a thousand true fans. All you need is a thousand people that will spend a hundred bucks on your work. Like love your work enough to spend a hundred bucks, and that's a hundred thousand dollars before taxes.

Right? But you don't even need a thousand true fans. You, you, you could just have a few. But the most, IM, it's, it's not enough to be excited about that idea and theory. The big mistake that I made early on was realizing I don't have a creative offering worth $100. You can be a musician and completely survive with the idea of a thousand true fans.

If you have enough merch and vinyl in ticket sales to add up to a hundred dollars. And by the way, once you do that, it doesn't seem that crazy because you know, if you go on tour every other year and you have 2000 true fans and you know, you're alternating back and forth. I could spend a hundred bucks on my favorite band pretty quickly between ticket sales, t-shirts and, and vinyl records at the merch table.

It, it's not a crazy idea, but if you don't have, we went to a. We went to a gig the other day with a friend's kid for this kind of underground musician, and it was kind of cool to see Gen Z an expression of what they wanna see at a concert. And that person didn't have any merch. And look, that's a creative decision.

Totally fine. It's up to them. Maybe they, maybe they're a trust fund kid. They don't need any money that whatever it, there's no judgment there. But I did think about this idea of you can have a thousand true fans and crush it as long as you have a, an offering worth a hundred dollars that one person would want.

Now, that could be true. If you are a picture book author, illustrator, you only need. Three true fans. Three true fans. That'll give you a book advance for 30 K each, right? Like, it doesn't matter what the offering is, but you need to put that equation together that says, I need this many people giving me this much money per year to add to, to equal the desired salary or the desired amount of money that I wanna make for my creative work.

And that also is going to help inform. What that product is because you, you know, one thing I see a lot of is like musicians getting frustrated that people don't pay to listen to music anymore. I'm frustrated about that. I wish that like the book world, that there were, there were more like unionization where.

Authors are protected. You know, if you, if you go try to buy an audiobook, it's really expensive. Like, they had all these, the, I'm assuming, some kind of mechanism to protect authors in this way and music didn't, didn't really have that so, I, I wish that you could sell your music and make your money on your music, but I think it's not helpful to just take your ball and go home and say, well, I'm not putting my stuff anywhere out there, because now you're not even ma having a chance to connect.

And so once you realize like, okay, I can't make all my music on digital music, then it means that, what are the products? That equation then tells you what product. Are people spending this amount of money on? You can't say, oh, I'm a painter and I want three true fans a year, and I want them to buy my three paintings that I produce for $30,000 each.

Like, that's very unrealistic. You gotta make sure all of these things match human behavior because you're not going to. Change the market. Like the things that change the market are things like Facebook. That's why they call 'em unicorns cuz they're they're non-existent virtually. And so you can't just go in and change the market's behavior.

You have to set up this equation that says, this is my desired amount of money I wanna make. In a year, and this is the amount of people I think I can get to do that. Therefore, I need to charge this much per item or whatever. All you have to be informed by all those different pieces, but ultimately I think having an end result in mind, having an end product, knowing where this stuff is going, is gonna help you.

Because if you're writing a story and it's for tv, it's gonna look very different than it is. At the movies because we come to those things with different expectations. And so those are the three Ps. Number one, people find your people. Number two, cultivate a practice. Make it a habit. Make sure those muscles are working day in, day out, or week in and week out.

Have an idea. Of how, what are you, what is your creative montage? How are you pump an iron in the gym? Creatively speaking. And then the third one is have a product. Know what this thing is, know what the offering is, make sure it's an equation that makes sense. Those are the three essential creative journey things that you need,

Start that sentence before I knew where it was going. Those are.

All right. Here's your call to adventure real quick. This is your cta, your call to adventure for the week. You can write down a number one, a number two, a number three, and the whole idea is that you can write down who are your people. What is your project? What is your practice? I guess it could be project or practice.

And then the third p is what is the end product? Where is it all going to? Because the practice is you working out the material in the club, but the product is your comedy special. Right? Okay. So here's the three and the, and, okay. The practice. What's cool about that too, I'm just adding a little bit, is that puts less pr pressure.

Having an end product puts less pressure. On the practice and okay, so here, those are the three. And what I want you to do is get a piece of paper, write one, two, and three. The first one, who are your people? And it might take you a little time to think about this, but for me, I started thinking about how.

The, the phrase that I like is philosophical fiction, kids book makers. Now, philosophical fiction is something I've heard on a different podcast, but it's essentially someone who approaches story through the lens of having a point story as a kind of. Proof of this is something I want to say, or this is something I believe that's the way I approach story.

It's not the right way, it's just the way I like to approach it. And when you write that number one down, don't just say editorial illustrators. Don't just say you know, chill, pop. Musicians or whatever. Don't just say pop musicians. Make sure you add chill pop is what I was trying to say. Make sure that you add a qualifier, not just to the greater, because what you're doing there is you're getting three things at once.

You're getting the the industry, the market, and the niche or the niche all together there. Because when I say philosophical fiction, kids', book writers, you have or kids' book. Creators. You have kids', book creators, you have, illustration is the market you have, or illustration is the industry. You have kids'.

Book is kids' books are the market and the niche is philosophical fiction. And so make sure you have some qualifiers, an adjective to describe the type of creator that this is within the greater thing. It's not just musicians, it's not just. Filmmakers, it's something, it's philosophical horror filmmakers like Jordan Peele, like, what?

What is it that you're getting at? Make sure you have at least three words there. If you have that, you can move on to the second one and say, what is your creative practice? What are the things that you're making on a regular basis? It might be that you have, you write five days a week on that film, but you have to have something that you're doing.

Now, preferably I would say something you're doing in sharing with some amount of people, even if it's behind the scenes, but I favor ones that are out there in public that you can really get. The full expression of the whole creative process all the way from the coming up with the idea to refining it, to publishing it.

What is your creative practice? What is the thing that you do week in, week out? And it could be the name of the project, it could be the Creative Pep Talk podcast. That's what I would put there. And then the third one is, what is the product? Now I've got a few. It could be client illustration, it could be doing talks, it could be selling kids books or selling merch.

There's a bunch of different things I can put there for different parts of my practice, but you have to have something that works with that a thousand true fans or a hundred true fans or or whatever equation. And so those are the three, number one, two, and three. Wherever you stop, that's what your creative practice.

And I would encourage you to focus on not moving on until you have something to put in that blank.

All right, that's it. My voice is nearly gone. So it must be the end of the episode. Thanks for checking out the episode. If you got something from this, share it with a friend. That is the, the most essential way to support this show. We are partially listener supported, so massive thanks to those of you.

That have signed up recently for the Patreon. We had a big influx of that recently and it really, really helps not make this a financial burden. You can go sign up at pep talk if you are able to support in that way. Massive thanks to Yoi Wolf and the band. Why for our theme music?

Thanks to Conner Jones of pending Beautiful for. Editing the show and for sound design. Thanks to Ryan Appleton, Katie Chandler and Sophie Miller for creative support and podcast support of all kinds. And until we speak again, stay pepped up.