I was recently on a podcast with an agency here in Los Angeles called Matte Black. They asked me to bring five things that I thought made the difference for artists and creatives looking to build their project or discover their path.

These have been some things that have been consistently there in the background for me that have helped me as an artist, that I wanted to share with you, too.

5 rules for my creative life.

1. Give Where it Hurts.

The idea of"give where it hurts" (h/t, Chris Mcalister) is that you can always others in places where you needed help in the past.

Chances are you've been through a struggle, or had to figure something out the hard way. It took a lot of stress, but ultimately you got through the problem better for it.

Wouldn't it be great if you helped OTHER people get through that same problem with less pain? Or help them have an easier time getting through it? Or figure it out faster?

If you don't know where to start, start by helping someone through something that you've overcome in the past.

2. Act Natural

Often when we are just starting, we find it easy to put on a front. We like to say "we" even though it's just "I." I think this is because we're afraid of being someone who is just starting out, so we feign credibility.

But instead, I find it's better just to be natural and honest with people.

So if you're new to starting a podcast, why not say on your first episode "I'm new to this, and I'm learning a lot right now, here's what I'm learning."

Or "This is my first photo shoot, so I'm still learning, but I'm excited, and I'd love to work with you."

Once you realize this, you're freer to be a beginner. And people accept you for it.

3. Set a Consistency Schedule.

Every month for the last 4 years I've put out a photo pack through Death to Stock.

Now, next month I know we're going to put out a photo pack. What will it be? I don't know yet, but I know I'll figure it out.

In fact, it wasn't creating photo packs that drove our growth. It was creating a schedule and then working backward to always to fulfill it. I'm going to send you something next week, although I'm not sure what it is yet. I'm excited to find out!

4. Get Good.


What’s the thing in your business/project/life that you need to develop to get good?

It's easy to get stuck worrying about details that don't matter ultimately for what you're trying to build. We make things complex. We focus on features that aren't impactful, often to hide from doing the work that's emotionally hard, like calling a potential customer.

Get good at the one thing that makes the difference.

5. Do Things That Don’t Scale.

Every personal email, each card sent, friendly message, unexpected response – they all add up. If you want to build community, take care doing the things that make small impacts along the way over always looking for the big lottery win.

When people talk about you, they'll remember the small interactions you had with them over the major ad campaigns.

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I'm still learning all the time, but these seem to be patterns that have helped me over the past 4 years.

What's worked for you?

Back with more soon,

David