All posts in Inspiration

The Rejects

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I love character design.  It’s the most fun part of the job next to crafting the action script.  It’s a great challenge to find the right design that the story (and client) wants, while keeping it fun and interesting for the audience.  Along the way a lot of iterations get tweaked, changed, dabbled with, or down right thrown out the digital door.  Here’s a little love to my “Rejects”.  Maybe they’ll find a home in another story?  :^)

-AI

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Things I Do When I Should Be Writing

Clutter Cat

  • Eat a snack.
  • Organize MailChimp lists.
  • Write long and thoughtful Facebook comments on posts that are three months old.
  • Go through all our Asana projects and come up with GREAT IDEAS for how other people should get their work done.
  • Eat a snack.
  • Pluck my chin whiskers. Variations on this include: filing my nails, clipping hang nails, and Googling eye shadow tutorials.
  • Declutter my desk.
  • Eat a snack.
  • Mark a bunch of Asana tasks complete to see how many unicorns I get.
  • Write a GREAT post… for my personal blog.
  • Oh look! It’s lunchtime!

Oh, but I’ve TRICKED you! These aren’t distractions, but participants in the mystery of creative inspiration and the writing process.

Jack Donaghy calls it The Shower Principal.

Dennis Palumbo — a Hollywood screenwriter turned psychotherapist — writes about this phenomenon in his book, Writing From the Inside Out, and in this article, In Praise of Goofing Off.

It’s during activities like the ones above that allow our thoughts to “percolate” or “simmer,” as he puts it, which is just as necessary as actually writing. “Think of it this way,” he writes. “You’re not watching the entire first season of Mad Men merely to avoid working. Rather, you’re allowing the part of your brain that creates to labor away unconsciously, filtering and sorting, selecting and discarding.”

I often forget this in the middle of a constipated effort to create something out of nothing. But the moment I throw back my chair in frustration and find something else to do, inspiration comes.

For this reason, I agree wholeheartedly with Palumbo when he says, “The creative process is goddamned mysterious.”

Character Design

Just a little something-something for an upcoming project.

 

Don’t Forget to Doodle

One of the most important parts of my job is to warm up my creativity by sketching whatever comes to mind… Today?  A scale armored spearman.  I think I’ll name him Fredrick.

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Daily sketch. 09.15.14

Screw This Game of Thrones

I am a mother.

And I’m a small business owner.

There are days when I manage my creative projects like a U.N. Ambassador while making sack lunches and folding laundry — as if I had six arms and spoke five languages.

And then there are days when the kids are late to school, I work in my pajamas, and I wonder if I will ever write anything that makes sense ever again.

At my core, I wish I was more like Daenerys Targaryen.

Dany 500

She remains calm at all times, even when her dragons are kidnapped. She is confident and knows what her purpose is and doesn’t seem to doubt she can fulfill that purpose.

And she always looks amazing.

But deep down I wonder if I’m more like Cersei Lannister.

Cersei 500

Do I play my children like they’re puppets of power? Do I love what my heart wants to love, no matter the consequences? Do I destroy anything and anyone that won’t let me have my way?

I’ve read many articles about how you can have it all, or you can’t have it all; that running a business is like raising a family, or maybe having kids will drive the nail into the coffin of your career. There are tips to succeed as a woman in business and tips on what every woman can learn from men.

Well guess what. I don’t want to be successful like a man. I don’t even want to be successful as a woman. I want to be successful in the purpose that is given to me, which can’t be compared to anyone else, man or woman.

One of the most poisonous habits I’ve carried over from mothering into business leadership is that of comparing myself — successes, failures, opportunities, whathaveyou — to other people in our industry.

Why can’t we do what they’re doing? is the same poisonous discontentment as Why can’t my kid behave like her kid? and will kill the creative momentum of my team as much as motherhood jealousies stole my joy as a mom for a season.

In the recent weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, I woke up to the reality of my own strengths, and instead of lamenting All The Things I’m not good at, I started to make a plan for how to fill those gaps.

I’m learning how to be me.

Jen Idea

Finally resting in my purpose and not taking on someone else’s purpose was the best gift I gave myself and my team this Mother’s Day.

I encourage you, whether you’re a man, woman, mother, father, employee, business owner, student or [fill in the blank], know your gifting, your calling, your purpose — and follow that.

2014 Annual Client Gift (or How To Avoid Workplace Communication Disasters)

Our clients trust us to tell their stories, and we’re grateful for the opportunity. So this year we sent a very special thank you card.

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We know it can be difficult, sometimes, to express to co-workers what kind of day you’re having… particularly if you’re hungry or stressed or asleep during your morning staff meeting.

2014 WNE Client Gift - pic02

The key to averting relational work place disaster before it strikes is a pre-emptive warning regarding your state of mind.

For this reason, we created a custom 11×17 What Now? Exactly! mood poster inside our thank you card, featuring the many faces of our creative team.

2014 WNE Client Gift - pic02

A strategically placed mood poster — in your cubicle, on your office door, or perhaps even taped to the back of your chair — can help your co-workers prepare for how to approach you —

  • exhausted? bring coffee;
  • stressed? back away slowly;
  • drunk? take an Instagram photo.

If you’d like to download your own mood poster, we converted this to an 8.5 x 11 you can print yourself. Just click here for the download!