[irevuo] You Either Die an Artist or Live Long Enough to See Yourself Become a Creative Entrepreneur

A couple of years ago, Damien Hirst shocked the art world by painting his own canvases.

Much like another of his contemporaries, Jeff Koons, Hirst is quite infamous for hiring teams of artists to work on his collections of art under his supervision.

On the other hand, Vincent van Gogh, universally acclaimed as one of the greatest artists of all time, sold only a few paintings while he was alive. Even though a prolific artist, he only found fame after his death.

The stereotype of the starving artist is romanticized to this day. The artist as a solitary genius, the creator of beauty so sacred that we can’t help but love and fear at the same time.

“He’s a true artist,” we find ourselves saying, and it’s these words that conjure up the vision of someone whose inexorable destiny has always been to create, even at the expense of having to endure a lifetime of poverty and frustration and social alienation…

The true artist is often misunderstood. They’re utterly and inconsolably alone with their art.  They hide behind the walls of their studios and offices, refusing any sort of contact with the outside world.

But times are changing.

[irevuo] 5 Shopify Alternatives You (Probably) Never Heard Of

There’s no doubt about it. If we want to monetize our blogs, one of the best ways to do so is by starting an online store.

Whether we want to sell our services, our digital products, online courses, or even merchandise, an online store is a must-have.

And Shopify is the undisputed king of online commerce.

Yet, the platform often falls short when it comes to certain features. It’s notoriously counter-intuitive when it comes to selling digital downloads, which is how most creative entrepreneurs choose to monetize their audiences these days.

Also, when it comes to selling memberships, subscriptions, or services, it often falls short.

And even though there are a lot of platforms trying to challenge Shopify’s domination of the online world, most notably WooCommerce and BigCommerce, there are some interesting underdogs that might do the trick if you plan on opening an online store soon.

[irevuo] 10 Powerful Frameworks To Help You Punch the Damn Keys

Writing is a simple process. It’s writers who make it seem so terrifying.

After all, we stare at a blank page long enough that we feel this inexplicable urge to transform it, and we do so through sheer power of will.

But what if the will isn’t strong enough? What if we get lost along the way? What if we somehow succumb to the critic within, or worse, to friendly advice, and we’re tempted to give it all up?

The following frameworks will be more than enough to help you punch those damn keys and never worry about going creatively bankrupt.

[irevuo] How the Art You Consume Determines the Quality of Your Work

In 2009, during an interview, radio host Ira Glass shared rare insights into what it means to be creative; he managed to pull into focus the kind of insights that are just at the edge of our mind’s peripheral vision.

What drives us to create in the first place is not a desire to play god, but rather our hunger for art.

[irevuo] Hello Rejection, My Old Friend

Whenever we submit a part of our soul that we translated into words, we do so armed with nothing but the hope that the person reading our work will understand it.

Sometimes they do. Most times they don’t.

Rejection scrapes the heart. But, well, there’s nothing to do about it. In fact, rejection is as much a part of being a writer as punching those damn keys. It’s as much a part of being a writer as the edits and the rewrites and the social media marketing.

[irevuo] Should You Self-Publish? These Questions Will Help You Decide

So, you have a finished manuscript, and now you’re ready to share it with as many readers as possible.

In order to do that, you must choose one of two paths: either self-publish your book yourself, or go the traditional route and try to find a publisher.

Deciding on which route to take means that you’ve got to figure out a couple of things about yourself first, about your book, and about your ability to effectively market (and enjoy the process) both yourself as an author and your book.

Now, let’s discuss the essential questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to decide if self-publishing your book is the best available option for you.

What Do You Want?

What’s the difference between working for a major corporation and being damned to Hell? One is a series of unending tortures inflicted upon you by sinister forces who delight in your pain and the other is run by Satan. The other thing they have in common is both inspired this story.

So, you’re the Devil?” Jordan asked, “I thought that the Devil was… male.”

First, I am a devil,” corrected Marchosias, “Secondly, the Devil, the undisputed ruler of Hell, is known as Lucifer Morningstar.”

Jordan took a sip of coffee and pondered this new information.

So there’s more than one Devil?”

Lower case devils, yes. Uppercase, only the one.”

Does that mean the bible is right? There’s a God and Heaven? The Earth was created in seven days?”

Marchosias pushed her golden hair behind her ears and smiled. Most mortals found it disarming. She had honed this combination to perfection over centuries.

Some of it is right on the money, but consider the source.”

What do you mean?” 

Well, imagine you had a fight with your girlfriend or boyfriend,” began the devil.

Girlfriend.”

You’ll find Hell is surprisingly tolerant, so no worries about that. Back to this hypothetical. After the fight, you go to your friends and talk about what happened. She is doing the same thing. However, you are both telling different stories.”

So the bible is a lie,” stated Jordan.

What I’m saying is everyone is the hero of their own story,” suggested Marchosias.

Even fallen angels?”

Especially fallen angels.”

Marchosias reheated her coffee with a gesture and took a sip. Delicious. A quarter’s worth of coffee for four dollars was one of Hell’s best ideas. 

I have so many questions,” Jordan blurted out.

Clearly!” the devil replied with a laugh, “But let’s get back to why we’re here. What can we do, to get your soul?”

So souls are real?”

She smiled as if she meant it. Why did everyone want to talk so much these days? 

Jordan, if souls weren’t real, this would all be a waste of time.”

Makes sense.”

Excellent! Now, what do you want? Anything and everything is on the table!”

Fame?”

Very popular!”

Jordan tapped his fingers on the table.

And you’ve done this before?”

Many, many times.”

Anyone I might’ve heard of?”

If I told you, you would be shocked!”

Can you give me one name?”

With a wicked grin, she leaned in and whispered into his ear. Jordan’s eyes went wide.

NO!”

Absolutely.”

It doesn’t make sense!”

With a shrug, Marchosias smiled.

But they’re so talented! Why would they do this?”

The universe is full of undiscovered talent. Getting your break, that’s something else entirely.”

Wow! I mean…,” he grasped for what to say but ended up just saying wow again.

Also anyone who gained fame on the internet, that’s us.”

Ewww! People sold their immortal souls to be internet famous?”

As I said, we don’t judge in Hell.”

Huh.”

Not everyone likes the spotlight. But there must be something you want? Riches? An endless supply of gorgeous lovers? Power?”

Superpowers?”

Why not? You could be the world’s first Super-Hero! Or Super-Villain!” the devil offered.

So, you can offer me anything? Anything I can think of?” 

She held her arms wide open and uttered, “Literally anything you can dream of!”

Jordan looked her straight in eyes and said, “I want you to release all the souls you tricked into signing contracts with and to stop the business of tempting people, whoever or wherever they are. Universe wide.”

Silence of a sort followed this. The sounds of people ordering coffee, eating scones, enjoying free wifi, working on novels and screenplays filled the cafe. Then, an explosion of laughter. Marchosias had not laughed that hard in centuries. When she finally stopped she said, “Thank you! That was hilarious, really. Now, what do you actually want?”

I just told you.”

No, you didn’t.”

Yes, I did.”

She smirked but then looked at him. Not joking.

You would sacrifice your soul for strangers? Greedy, stupid strangers?”

No-”

Aha!”

-because of the terms of my wish, everyone who signed a contract will Hell would be released.”

That’s not how it works.”

If you fulfill my wish, then that’s exactly how it works.”

 

Marchosias was about to counter but stopped and thought. A moment later, she replied, “We can’t do that.”

I thought you said anything?”

Hell is not a charity!”

If you don’t have the power…”

Her eye twitched and her fangs began to protrude, ever so slightly. It was not going the way it usually did.

Power? Would you like a demonstration of the infernal power of the underworld?”

Okay…”

Crack! Marchosias transformed into an enormous, fire-breathing wolf with griffin’s wings and the tail of a snake. Panic ensued in the cafe. 

BEHOLD ME IN MY TRUE FORM! LET TERROR BE YOUR ONLY COMPANION! FEAST ON FEAR AS YOUR BLOOD BOILS IN YOUR FETID BODIES! THIS IS BUT A TASTE OF WHAT IS TO COME!”

Fire erupted and oily smoke roiled from jagged rents in the floor and walls. Marchosias reared back and breathed a gout of hellfire that engulfed everything.

And then it was over. All traces of Hell vanished. People shook their heads and slowly returned to what they had been doing, the brief, waking nightmare fading.

Powerful enough for you?” asked Marchosias who returned to her human form.

Jordan was pale and sweaty. He picked up his cup with both hands and drank.

Impressive,” he finally said.

Just so we’re clear on things.”

Very.”

So, what do you want?” she asked.

He took a deep breath and said, “I told you what I want.”

Are you shitting me?” sputtered the devil.

I am not.”

That’s not going to happen. Pick. Something. Else.”

He took a moment.

I’m going to pass.”

You can’t do that!”

Why not?”

We’ve had a meeting. You’re committed.”

I didn’t sign anything, we don’t have an agreement.”

That’s not how it works!” she hissed.

Isn’t it? From all I’ve read, Hell is big on rules.”

She frowned and her eye smoldered a dark crimson.

Why in the name of all that is unholy are you doing this?”

Honestly, curiosity.”

That is new,” the devil growled.

I always wondered why someone would sell their soul. It seemed like an obviously bad deal, like subprime mortgages.”

We’re very proud of that one,” she said with a wistful smile.

That tracks. But I wanted to see if it was real. Hell, Heaven, all that stuff. And now I know, so thanks for that.”

You are not at all welcome. By the way, I left out a lot of details so you actually don’t know the real deal with the universe.”

I know more than I did before.”

Marchosias stared at him, then asked, “Did you think Hell would grant your wish, did you?”

It seemed like a long shot, but you miss all the shots you don’t take.”

Fine, if you’re not going to play ball, get out of here before I drag you back to perdition,” she snapped.

If you could do that, you’d be scooping people up with, I don’t know, monster trucks? Rules are rules. Even for devils.”

Have a terrible life, knowing that your wildest dreams will go unrealized,” the devil churlishly spat at him.

We’ll see.”

With that, he left. Marchosias thought to herself, ‘We have to stop recruiting through LinkedIn.’

[irevuo] 19 Must-Read Books That Will Help You Bridge “The Creativity Gap

I’ve always believed that consuming a lot of content is a surefire way to develop the creative muscle. The more we feed our brain, the more we get this itch to create something of our own.

But there’s an issue with this. As Ira Glass so eloquently stated, we have developed taste, but there’s this disconnect between the quality of the content we consume and the quality of the content we produce.

That’s why I also believe that creatives have to feed their brains with other types of content: the content that teaches one how to be creative, how to develop the proper mindset of a content creator.

That’s why today I’m sharing with you a list of must-read books if you want to become a better content creator, whether you’re an artist, a writer, a blogger, or a vlogger.