by Joel Friedlander on The Book Designer site:
This year I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity, and I’m getting ready to publish a small book on this subject, something that has occupied me for many years.
It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I realized I was working as a creative professional. Even though I’ve often made a living designing, writing, and managing the production of other creative artists, for some reason I still thought that that life was an aspiration, even while I was living it.
These days my creative output is based around my writing, but also includes book design, product development, business strategies, as well as my explorations of more visceral creative output—in the kitchen.
That’s why I’ve come to appreciate and rely on tools that help me in my creative pursuits. We live is such a great time to be a creative artist because of two huge changes that are still underway in our culture:
- The gradual democratization—by way of digitization—of the tools of production from large, capital-rich companies, to the individual. In our own field, just think about the evolution of typesetting. 15 years ago, most typesetting was done by typesetters on dedicated typesetting equipment. Now, anyone can do it on a laptop, and that’s just one example.
- The rise of the social web, allowing any creator to identify and aggregate a community of like-minded people. Whether you think of this as “aggregating a community” or “creating a market” or “building your platform” the real power here is the ability to come in direct, large-scale contact with your own audience.
Both of these historic shifts in society have created the opportunity for individual actors—like self-publishers—to take control of their own creative destinies, and some have gone on to achieve wealth, fame, and even publishing contracts.