alcramer [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Other motivations

Posted in Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on November 18, 2008

That’s another snap at Mark McGuiness’s blog, which you can find here.
Extrinsic factors may have limited value as motivators but you can’t afford to ignore them — because they make excellent demotivators. Below some of these factors, which you – as a creative person – need to bear in mind, and possibly to implement in your profession.

Money: it is a clearly defined way of ‘keeping score’, measuring how highly regarded you are by your employer or your audience. Violinist Nigel Kennedy writes in his autobiography ‘I think if you’re playing music or doing art you can in some way measure the amount of communication you are achieving by how much money it is bringing in for you and for those around you’.

Recognition: the term ‘egoboo’ is used within the open source programming community, referring to the ‘ego boost’ you receive from being publicly credited for good work. So even though there’s no money involved, it’s not strictly true to say that open source programmers work ‘for nothing’. Poetry, or literature, is another creative medium with very little cash on offer, but which operates on a kind of ‘reputation economy’ — the higher your reputation, the more prestigious your publisher will be, the more magazines will want to take your work, the higher up the bill you will be on readings, etc.

Deadlines: as soon as you make a promise to someone else, you have an obligation to fulfil. Sometimes this can be just the push you need to get you through the wall of resistance that would otherwise lead to procrastination. ‘I know exactly what I need to do, but I’m more likely to do it if I’ve promised you do it by a certain date’. To get you going in the first place place, you sometimes need the extrinsic motivation of ‘deadline magic’.

There are probably other external motivations that come into the picture, but I believe the three above are the most essential ones. Also, very often they are those we encouter first, and only along the path other types of motivation may reveal to ourselves. (Such as those intrinsic, described in the previous post.)

On Project Making

Posted in Tools.Coaching by alcramer on November 12, 2007

I’ll try here to outline a few basic facts for setting a creative project, like an exhibition, a research, or a writing piece. Being just only an outline, each single point has to be developed, broadened and deepened as much as you can, and linked with your attitude and experience in dealing with the subject. Let’s start:

1. Take upon only ONE project at the time. You might have many brilliant ideas, but make an effort in asking yourself which are the more urgent and important for you, and which, for instance, can bring you a financial fee, or a further step in a commission.

2. Once you have chosen the subject and the form your project will have, compare and couple your expectations with A) your budget and B) your deadline. Reverse your idea: money and time constraints are not limits, rather possibilities. They are powerful tools to get you focused.

3. To structure your project, you must go from the simplicity of the original idea (probably just an intuition, or a single-line image), to a whole complexity of inputs: lateral thoughts, external links, people feedback, practical and intellectual consequences, additional researches, etc. This process – to be contained in your time-frame – will make you relatively confident of your knowledge, and will give you different perspectives on the subject. After that, you have to re-compress your material into one, single, high-impact simplicity of expression, in which your work re-gain a goal within a system.

4. Execute your project to a completion, including details, feedback and final evaluation, within the reasonable time-set you planned in advance.

5. In your execution:

– Use simple words, in a direct way. No jargon.

– Be synthetic in your communication to partners and public. Attention requires brevity.

– Make an effort to TELL something, not just to present it. Be sure the structure of your project is clear and follows a logical course, or give the tools to understand if it’s illogical. No concepts or displays understandable only to their creators.

– Do not underestimate your public. Give them a topic which is valid and open to the dialogue, with you and among them. Offer great value for the audience’s time and interest. They could easily not come back if you are delivering poor content and/or form, and you’ll never get them again.

– Offer the audience something to bring home with them. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or cutting-edge: even a well-design leaflet, a postcard, an Internet address, a printed title on a string of paper. A bit of marketing doesn’t harm anybody, without exaggeration.

6. When you approach the next project, understand it as a whole body of knowledge, and not as a task, or assignment you have to make. This is fundamental also for activity like administration, fund-raising, or preparatory work.

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