Advice to Young Creatives Series Mini Post: Write it down (electronically).

Hi Friends,

Today’s post in the advice to young creatives series will be a mini post. Something seemingly simple that we all need to be reminded of at one time or another:

Write it down. Via email if possible.

You may be reading this wondering….what are you even referring to? What is IT? Write WHAT down?

The answer: all of it.

Every time you have a call with someone giving you a creative project offer, a professional agreement, a work deadline, a gallery show date, a revision request, a quote for paid work–write it down in an email to the other person or team of folks.

Most of us don’t remember what we’ve said on the phone. We think we do, but by writing it down and sending it out it helps keep everyone accountable. When you have clients in the creative field, they also sometimes don’t understand what they’ve asked for in a project or may change their minds once they see it in writing. It saves you ALOT of time in revisions.

A quick list of examples of times you should email the other person after a call or conversation:

  • Project timelines are discussed
  • Payment details are outlined
  • Deadlines are reviewed
  • Revisions are discussed (creatives, I am telling you now this will save you hours of work and ensure your clients understand what they’ve asked for in a project)
  • Expectations/Feedback/Discipline are outlined (this is especially helpful if you have a feeling you’re being unfairly in a traditional workplace)
  • You’re unclear on what is required of you for a project
  • You’re worried someone else on the call did not understand what you were trying to communicate
  • After a difficult conversation (if it’s a professional setting so you can be sure you understood what someone was trying to tell you)

Every time you have a conversation in the workplace or with an employer that feels a little….strange…or inappropriate or off or shouldn’t have happened–write it down in an email to yourself.

Maybe you’re wondering about the ’email it to yourself’ technique and why I am suggesting it. Here’s a quick example. You’ve been working at a company or with a client for a few years. You’re starting to feel like it may not be a good long term fit, but you can’t put your finger on the reason or when someone asks you why, you can’t remember exactly why but you feel it in your gut. If you have emails of small interactions that were not appropriate from the past few years, it’s much easier to see the big picture. Also, if you work in a larger creative professional setting, this is a good way to make a case to HR that you do not want to work with a particular supervisor, client, co-worker, etc.

A quick list of examples of times you should email yourself after a call or conversation:

  • Someone says something that makes you uncomfortable
  • Someone says something inappropriate
  • There is a pattern of something unpleasant (ie. revisions are discussed and never acknowledged, payment is always late, and larger issues like verbal abuse, emotional abuse, racism, sexism, etc.)

I hope today’s ‘mini’ is helpful for any young creatives out there who may feel pressured, overwhelmed, or unsure of how to protect themselves in the professional world.

I wish someone had told me when I was younger that this is a really cheap, really simple way to help protect yourself.

Good luck out there young creatives–it’s hard but I know you’re smart and you’re going to do amazing things!