George G Smith Jr. | The words and works of George G Smith Jr
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The Work and Words
of George G Smith Jr

Confidence and Creativity and the Process.

The writer Chester Himes once said “A Fighter Fights and A Writer Writes.” The emphasis is on doing, on the process, on the ability to accomplish what that takes. Henry Miller, in the first passages of A Tropic of Cancer, already declares himself an artist and proceeds to produce one of the masterpieces of modern literature (at least one of the most legally controversial). The balance between producing and confidence is an interesting one – one that I’ve been thinking about a lot.

There are certain things that I have a lot of confidence in. Trying to figure out how to gain confidence in some other things – such as design work, visual arts, coding, and video/music production. Perhaps these are just personal projects. Perhaps they will shape part of my career. But these are things that, even if I don’t do them professionally, will help me get a better understanding and allow me to make better decisions when I do have to make choices around them.

Also, in the process of thinking about this, I’ve discovered a book to add to my reading list: Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley.

Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley

Is Instagram the New Creative Portfolio?

Excerpt via Fast Company:

“In creative fields, having an impressive portfolio of work to show off at interviews or to HR managers is no longer necessarily the key to landing a job. Instagram and, in some fields, Pinterest, have become an important marker of taste and talent alike. “You don’t need a portfolio anymore. You have an Instagram feed,” Bradford Shellhammer, the Fab cofounder and BackCountry creative director told Fast Company. “You don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands producing this work; it’s all in your hand.”

When ‘Liking’ a Brand Online Voids the Right to Sue

The gray area of law and internet – especially in terms of marketing – is something I am so incredibly interested in. General Mills did a bold move (that they’ve already pulled down due to the public uproar). It’s so interesting – here’s the original article from the NY Times:

General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, “join” it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.

Instead, anyone who has received anything that could be construed as a benefit and who then has a dispute with the company over its products will have to use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief, according to the new terms posted on its site.

Visualize…

I’ve been thinking a lot about things lately. The things that motivate me and fulfill me. I feel underwhelmed with things lately. Looking for creative inspiration or something to change up the mundane in my world right now. It’s a visual solution. Something something photography, perhaps? Something something film? Perhaps painting? drawing? Comics? I don’t know. I know that it’s not words. If it was words, I could communicate it easily. Words never really have failed me. But now, I see something. Or maybe just feel something. Building up inside of me. Hopefully I can bring it to life soon.

Matt Fraction – The Man Behind the Comic Book That Finally Got Sex Right

Excerpt of an article that originally appears in Wired:

“Then again, so is Fraction: an A-list superhero comic book writer whose work transcends the typical creative ouroboros of the genre. While the biggest influence on most Iron Man comics, for example, is other Iron Man comics, Fraction’s work feels both interdisciplinary and scalable; his comics can be read and enjoyed as simple, superpowered pop confections that require little to no prior knowledge, or as intricately patterned narratives infused with the aesthetics of decades of film, music—and yes, comics—that are both literate and literary. And Sex Criminals is the culmination of a much longer meta-critique that has threaded through Fraction’s work—both answer and antidote to mainstream comics’ long history of treating sex as something you exploit, not something you talk about.”

Emotional Intelligence Predicts Job Success: Do You Have It?

Excerpt via Fast Company (h/t to Alana Marie for the link)

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who coined the term emotional intelligence, recently talked to the Huffington Post about the many characteristics of emotional intelligence. Lets go over a few here, so that we can know what to train in.

1. YOU’RE CURIOUS ABOUT NEW PEOPLE
Do you ask a lot of questions when you meet someone? Do you actually listen to their answers? Then you might be a highly empathic person, someone attuned to the needs and feeling of others, and you may also mark high on openness to experience–a trait correlated with creativity.

2. YOU’RE SELF-AWARE
To be emotionally intelligent, Goleman says, you need to have confidence. To have confidence, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses. Then you work from that framework.

Coffee and Coding

For most people, holidays and vacation days are a time for relaxing. For me, I like to “relax” by trying to teach myself something new. This site felt a bit neglected, so I revamped it after a marathon coffee and coding session at Why Not Cafe on Orchard St in the Lower East Side.

GeorgeGSmithJR_coffeeandcoding_whynotcafe_NYC

The coffee – Blue Bottle, of course – is probably the reason I am still up at 2am trying to troubleshoot some small, pesky things that are left to do on the site. It’s ironic – a very intense 12+ hours of work – and yet I feel more relaxed. I think the singular focus is nice. Being able to dive into one project instead of juggling many is a nice change of pace.

Daily Rituals

So apparently the key to successful daily rituals is to be in the position where you don’t have to make “ends meet” – only Kant seemed to have a day job.

Seriously though, I started to create mine before I got frustrated with the elliptical tool in Photoshop, and I spend the majority of my day “making ends meet.” That being said, I have a few things built into my daily routine that I think are important.

I usually spend the first 30 minutes in the office reading work-related articles from Ad Age, Behance, Digiday, and many others that are on my Flipboard or bookmarked in other places.

Except on Mondays, I spend the first 30 minutes outlining my week and reviewing any outstanding todo items. I recently adopted the Bullet Journal method and modified it to my habits and needs. It’s been pretty good at making sure I don’t miss anything – although I need to be more diligent with it.

I like to take at least an hour out of each week and brainstorm on my projects – usually grabbing one or two people that I either have had good discussions with during the preceding weeks or I feel have a unique perspective on something I want to try to figure out.

I spend Wednesday evenings reading any comics that came out during the day. This is important “me time” and helps me recharge during the week.

Below are some daily rituals Via the Daily Mail courtesy of of the new book by Mason Curry called “Daily Rituals”. What’s your daily ritual?

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