Q&A On Creativity: Nick Daws (The Creativity Series)


It has been a pleasure being a Writer Warrior on Triberr. I’ve connected with a number of really wonderful people. Many in the group responded to my call for articles or interviews about Creativity.

Here, In this Q & A, British freelance writer and editor Nick Daws reveals why creativity is important to him both personally and professionally…

The Creativity Series: Nick Daws on Creativity

 

Q. What do you do that is creative?

A. As I am a full-time freelance writer and editor, some would say that everything I do is creative. Personally, however, I feel that some of my work is more creative than others.

Sometimes I’m hired for my creativity – this applies especially with copywriting work. At other times, such as when I’m editing a book, the scope for creativity is less.

Even so, there are often many possible ways to edit a text, and creativity still plays an important role in achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned.

Q. How do you use your creativity?

A. I use my creativity in my work, as mentioned above, and also for coming up with ideas for new projects of my own. Although I write for clients to pay the bills, I enjoy fiction writing when the time permits, and always have a few short stories and other projects on the go.

Another area where I have to be creative is in marketing myself and seeking out new outlets and opportunities. Being a freelance writer is a tough gig at times. You have to be creative in how you present and market yourself. And sometimes you may have to reinvent yourself entirely!

Q. Why is creativity important to you?

A. Creativity is essential to me partly because, as I said above, it’s one aspect of what my clients pay me for (and sometimes the main thing).

Beyond that, though, creativity is what keeps me excited and motivated by my work, and always trying to do better. I’d hate to have a job that offered no scope for creativity. I’d soon go mad from boredom!

Q. Who or what has been a creative influence on you?

A. There are numerous brilliant creative writers whose example has inspired me – just a few examples would include the British poet and novelist Laurie Lee, science-fiction author Roger Zelazny, thriller writers Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and fantasy author Robin Hobb.

There are also some brilliant bloggers whose creativity (and productivity) never cease to amaze me: Darren Rowse of Problogger, for example, and Joanna Penn, of The Creative Penn.

More generally, the Internet itself has been a huge creative influence on me. It’s an endless source of creative ideas and inspiration.

Q. What do you feel your creativity does for others?

A. For my clients, I hope my creativity helps them to produce the very best work they can – be it a book, a website, a blog, an advertisement, or whatever. And I hope that, through my work, my creativity inspires readers to try new challenges, to take on projects they might not otherwise have considered, and to find new sources of fulfillment and creative satisfaction.

 

Byline: Nick Daws is a professional freelance writer and editor, living in the English county of Staffordshire. He has a blog at www.mywritingblog.com and a homepage at www.nickdaws.co.uk. His publications for writers include the CD-based Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Kindle Kash, a downloadable guide for writers who want to publish their work for profit on the Amazon Kindle platform.

 

Save The ARTist (Creativity Plus)


There is a great deal of concern and hand wringing over saving the arts. Recently, the Westchester County Arts Council sent out a plea for us to write to our congressmen about major cuts to the arts. I did is they asked, knowing that in even the smallest way our voices have to be heard.

I got an answer back not from the congressmen but from his assistant. there was a lot of blame and finger-pointing in this letter, it still talking how great Westchester County is in comparison to other locations. I will copy and post her letter, but before I do: I have something to say. Yes, big surprise.

With all the talk about saving the parts one very important component seems to be forgotten:

WHAT ABOUT THE ARTIST?

I am a performing and teaching ARTIST. I make my primary living from working in the Arts. My discipline is Theater/Drama, Storytelling and Creative Writing. I do not create “lasting” art in Fine Arts, but I DO perform a service in the Performing Arts.

When you cut the funding for the arts, you are not just cutting out a sculpture or a painting, or a dance or theater piece, or a choral work, you are taking money out of reach of PEOPLE who are trying to pay their bills and survive. by making these budget cuts to save organizations, you are also then putting more people on unemployment. This fall, I have been unable to find a job, mainly because in my field there’s much less work. There are also more people out looking for any work, so even jobs that I could fit into are inundated by other people looking for work.

Where would we be without ones like Van Gogh?

Is it just me, or does this just not make any sense? A good friend of mine has put it  very simply: at this point in time, if everyone across the board and that means the big boys in the middle management boys played fairly, more people to keep their jobs. It’s part of what I’ve been saying in that we need creative solutions and problem solving in place of the reactionaries.

I do not want to be on unemployment. I want to work. I feel there are ways that more people can work and keep their jobs. Today on the news from NPR I heard that more than 28,000 postal workers will be laid off soon. What jobs will they be able to get to support their families?

It’s very easy to cast blame and point fingers. As a country, we seem to excel at that.

Wouldn’t we be better off if we were creative problem solvers?

As stated above, here is the letter I got today:

Thank you for writing to County Executive Robert P. Astorino regarding funding for the arts.

Please be assured that Mr. Astorino has read your message and he has asked me to respond to you on his behalf.

The county executive understands and appreciates your concern for the arts.  While developing the proposed 2012 county budget, Mr. Astorino and his administration have given the arts the same consideration accorded to every program, service, agency and facility supported by county government.

As you know all too well, this is a very challenging economy.  There is a critical need to balance a $114 million county budget deficit with a responsibility to provide essential services and property tax relief, protect Westchester’s neediest residents, promote structural financial reform and reduce government spending at all levels.  One of the major roadblocks to maintaining the funding level for Arts Westchester and many other worthwhile programs and services, is the failure of the public employee unions to agree to make a reasonable contribution to their healthcare premiums.  Westchester County’s union employees are one of the few groups left in the nation that contribute nothing to their healthcare costs.  This ever-increasing financial burden necessitates reductions in other portions of the county budget.  The county executive, since taking office two years ago, has attempted to get county workers to agree to the same level of healthcare contributions state workers make.  While there is a reduction in the allocation to arts programs, the County Executive’s proposed budget includes funding for the arts at $750,000.  This action is in no way a reflection on the outstanding quality of exhibits and performances presented by the arts community nor the talents and efforts of all who labor to bring these offerings to fruition.  It is instead, a part of many across-the-board measures which must be taken during these difficult times.

Your views and those of all who live and work in Westchester are very important to the county executive.  Your input is both welcome and valued.

Again, thank you for writing.

Sincerely,

Janet Lokay
Assistant to the County Executive
148 Martine Avenue
White Plains, New York 10601
(914) 995-2127

Here was my response to Ms. Lokay:

Hi…
it’s not just the exhibits and performances.

You forget a very essential part: the artist has to live, pay bills, and be part of the economic structure. By cutting the arts, it’s not just the end product but the people who live through the process. Two very different things.

I am a Teaching Artist and a performing artist. My entire life is creative and my livelihood depends on schools, libraries, community centers and more have funds to hire me and others like me. I live for the educational process that is part of the learning process…and it does not seem politicians realize this.

Schools may not hire a full time Theater Teacher anymore (I have my NYS Certification in Theater), but they SHOULD hire me as a consultant, which is what a TA (teaching artist) really is. I integrate my work into the school core curricula, and it enhances, not wastes, the teachers’ lessons.

I would love to have a conversation  about this. Yes, many of us produce art that is seen; there are many more of us who produce art that is part of the educational process, for ALL ages, and we’re hurting, trying to make a living.

My thing: instead of telling me why something isn’t working, why are we not doing problem solving around the negatives out there. I’d rather know what has been attempted, or will be, instead of what is not working. I  work a lot with my students, when I get them, on problem solving.

I’m serious about talking with Mr. Astorino.

She gave me her phone number. If I don’t hear from them, and if you know me at all, they will hear from me. I will let you know what happens next. I’m tired of the excuses. Let’s get off of  unemployment

Band Groupie: The Whispering Tree (w/music videos)


Music, like books, play a very important part in my life. I cannot imagine a day going by that I don’t listen to a CD, or my new fix of Pandora. When I drive, I usually  will have WFUV (90.7 in the NY area or you can listen online streaming here) playing…unless “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” is on NPR.

The Whispering Tree is a group I’ve written about before (see Interview with Eleanor Kleiner). I worked with El as library clerks awhile ago now. I saw her in her first forays into forming a band. She went to England for a bit, met this guy (Ellie, now husband, and a really nice person), and they now are touring in an Airstream (you can read about their travails on their blog on their website The Whispering Tree) and have already had some great (and not so great) experiences. Where else but on the road can you meet someone who was “forced into cannibalism”? Yes, cannibalism; I’m not making that up.

Why this blog now? I’ve been talking about marketing lately, how to sell ourselves as artists without selling out. I know that blogging is a big deal with the MLM and SEO people, and it’s a numbers game to them. Me? I’d rather turn you onto a group I think you should get to know; one that I feel should “make it.”

Check out their blog. Look for them on their tour. I am a Whispering Tree groupie. Below you’ll find some of their videos, and I hope you’ll become one too. A fan, that is. Groupies are cool. We get to toss  our undies up on stage. 😉

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