Their Way Is Not Your Way

May 23, 2011 - By 

Jonathan Coulton wrote about the way he makes a living.

If you are Steely Dan, you will not want to record onto a Mac Mini through an SM58. If you hate writing, please don’t set up a blog.

When deciding what path your creative career will take, do only what works for you. There are tons of articles and people trying to tell you the right way to do it. I’m sure they are trying to help. But, be careful. It might be THEIR path that they are describing, not yours. Sure, get tons of advice, read plenty of books, and ask everyone’s opinion. Take what works and ignore the rest. When it comes to doing what’s right for you, nobody knows that but… you.

Trust yourself.

Posted In:  Ideas
  • So very true.

  • Wise words.

  • thats very very true..

  • Great advice man, creatives from Philly appreciate you!

  • Dude well said.

    I struggled with this idea forever; seeing what my heroes did to get where they are only to realize that no matter the road, we all travel it differently.

    Thanks Nick

  • Man that’s so true… I made the experience long time ago… and the best decision was to find my own way and walk him along…!!!

    Thank you Nick…

  • Exactly what my wife told me 🙂 so true!

  • Like many others, I completely agree with you, Nick.
    Furthermore, I tend to think that as long as I make a choice that makes me happy, it must be a good one. And if it turns out to be a mistake, well then at least I did what I believed to be the right thing. I tried.
    To me personally, that’s all that matters.

    And I won’t mind if I go with my gut feeling and it turns out to be a bad idea. You can’t get everything right from the start. You’ve got to make some mistakes in life in order to learn, right?

  • Sorry for any mistakes I will make 🙂

    Hello GSG-Community,

    theres one thing that I think is missing here. It’s simple but I am sure it will lead to a successful career in whatever industry: honesty. It does sound simple and maybe stupid but have you guys (beside of Nick) read the whole article from which Nick got the quote? This guy is not only doing good work but he is also honest. He is brave enough
    to be weak. That’s one very important part of his success.

    We are living in a time where people are not going to keep on tolerating lies. Call it evolution if you like. But I think real business models with a real value based on honesty are the successful ones. Everything that is trying to maximize profit without giving a fuck about people in general deserves to fail. And I am sure it will.
    Make your business honest so that you never have to think about if it’s okay that you make a living from it cause people trust your products or services.

    Beside of the fact that your business is going to be more solid you will have more fun running it. And at the end of the day it even leads into a better future for everyone.

    Thanks for reading,

  • Hi, Nick.

    Short, but oh so very sweet and true. Thanks for the advice. Because I love writing, I am headed at the right direction when I started blogging then. 🙂

  • I think – the only truth in the world. I’m saying that thing everytime some students ask.s me about starting a blog, frelance job or own small companie.

  • This is my 1st time to comment here!
    Thanks heaps Nick!!!! for the tips! thank you.

  • Words of wisdom Nick. Words of wisdom!


  • Hi,

    I agree with Boris, if you have not read the full article do yourself a favor and give it a once over.

    For me, the hardest part is to trust in myself. That I am doing the best work possible as well as trusting in my abilities as an artist. At the end of the day I have to be satisfied with my work and not get lost trying to compare myself to others.

    • Kind of right. One doesn’t have to be always comfy with the work one has done. Sometime the main thing just is this: your client must be comfortable with it, because he is paying you the bill, not you.
      Just had this poster to design and wasn’t myself comfortable with it, but the boss wanted it that way and so I stopped worrying about it in the end and did the job he wanted. That’s life and thats part of it.
      I see this “being crative” a bit hyped here. Sometimes you have to make some adjustments to it or forget the creativity for a moment, because otherwise you don’t get the job done. I don’t care about the “be yourself, dont let everybody tell you what to do” stuff, because that is in my opinion a bit simplifiying things, gloryfying things. When no strings are attached and you have total control, then heck yeah, I am with you on this. But where in life do you have that total control and the freedom to things the way you like it? Be you….What else would one be?
      Just my two cents…

      • Of course the client will dictate much of how you will work & we all run into “just get it done.”

        But I was speaking more to the self confidence to do “your thing” which is very much what the blog post was all about.

        • Wasn’t critizising you, just made a comment:) In my opinion this “your thing” is something everybody should do…but, that is an optimum which one can’t reach all the time. The are to many side effects which have to be taken into the equation. That’s why I posted the example with the boss and the poster etc.
          I just quite don’t see the big message in saying “be you”, “do your thing”, “tshaka you can do it”. This is said often and over and over and…Sometimes you have to make a detour and do things you don’t like and where you can’t be you, and that includes your life as a whole and what you want to do with it. I would’nt have the job I have now, if I hadn’t done some technical studies first, pushing me in a totally different direction. But, and that is part of life: you learn from it and you gain experience from it you can use. So “when deciding what path your creative career will take, do only what works for you” isn’t it in some cases. I just find it a bit easy to say that and too simplyfied because life is not that simple…:)

          • Doing things that others want you to do can definitely be a big part of your career. But, if you wake up and dread the things you are doing more than a few days in a row, try to take a step back and ask yourself what really makes you happy. Then, do that.

          • I have to agree with Nick. If you keep on doing the things that feel right (and that are always the things you like to do) and you are a bit sensitive you can feel that you get pulled in the right direction. It’s a stream that you get into. And it isn’t true that life isn’t easy. It’s just hard to realize that it’s easy cause there are so many people telling you something different.

    • Ponyack and Michi both presented very valid arguments…but i’m gonna go with Boris on this one.

      Just my 2 cents (it’s called kobo where i come from): It’s not always about paying bills. I mean, sure we all need the money to run the business and spend on a few every now and then, but, like Nick said, If i’m doing sumthing that makes me dread any other day more than Monday mornings (Yes, i believe Monday Morning should be a day on it’s own), then i’ll stop doing it…regardless the financial losses.

      Hope i made some sense here…..

  • Perhaps I am to old for this…:) Sentences like “And it isn’t true that life isn’t easy” or “It’s just hard to realize that it’s easy cause there are so many people telling you something different” don’t get to me. Tell that to people who struggle to make a living and see what their reaction is…and live with it.
    All I am saying is, that there are two sides to every story. Nick makes a good point about stepping back and asking onself what is right and what is wrong. That’s what I am doing from time to time to get new energy and love in what I am doing. A good point.

    • I believe I know how you feel about my comment.
      I think you got me a bit wrong here. I also don’t run around the whole day thinking “Wow, this is easy” – What I mean is that everybody who is honest to himself is able to see where you are doing things wrong. So whenever you are unhappy you know what to do to make you happy again. So at the end of the day I would say life is “easy” for everybody who is in the situation to be able to comment on to name an example. We are lucky enough to be able to choose how we want to earn our money, where to live and so on. I agree that it ISN’t easy to live with all these opportunitys and choose the right one. Your name sounds german, or am I wrong?


  • Ok that’s awesome advice

  • Steely Dan gargles my balls

  • Very Bruce Lee / Jeet Kune Do! With an extra layer of music nerd on top. This is great – many thanks!

  • Amen to that …

  • great message, with constructive comments.
    I to over come peer pressure and do what i like and how to accept failure and non-awesome works. i don’t post my works and waiting until i make awesome work to post 🙁
    definitely this will kill me, but how can i over come this.

  • Your blog is incredible dude. i love to take a look at it everyday. very great layout and content material “

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