Today’s beacon of Imposterousness was helplessly stalked and taunted for years by this guy. He’d critique all of his work, make him doubt his ability – or complete lack of it – he almost made him give up entirely. That was until Dan Nelken gave the guy in his head a name and a face (which just so happened to be a 6 yr old who often wets himself).
Camilo Suarez, Head Visual Scientist at Imposterous Labs Inc., has utilised Ai and machine learning and crayons to make a faithful recreation of Alan here:
Many of you might already know Dan from his book and weekly newsletter ‘A self help guide for Copywriters’, in our conversation we talk about just why we lowly creatives need to learn to help ourselves. Fundamental to this is the insight that, as creatives we spend almost all of our time suffering under the weight of unresolved problems in our head. Think about it, we all celebrate that breakthrough moment, but nobody talks much about the 98% of the other time when it was uncracked…it’s that ever present threat that makes us all work so hard.
So Dan’s mission is to help us all somehow codify that ‘cracking’ moment to get better at it. The reality is that most of us all have amazing problem solving skills that are subconscious – we don’t know how we do it. But maybe, if we were a bit more aware of the mechanics – we could get more efficient at doing what we do. Because that inner critic won’t ever really shut up, but Alan can be shushed with a bit of personal acceptance that you might know what you are doing from time to time.
Dan has a healthy perspective on the obsession with confidence within creativity. That the opposite of creative self doubt is not confidence, but acceptance. As soon as you can accept what you are good at (also not good at) you can stop obsessing about your failures and get on with what you can do. Because we all place too much value on creativity. The real joy comes in the making, not just the thinking. If we could all just get on with it and actually make things, we’d all have more evidence to believe in.
Dan Nelken is a Creative’s Creative. Saying this exposes the fact we haven’t read Dan’s book, ‘A Self-Help Guide for Copywriters’. If we had we would have written something far more original and spent a lot less time sweating the unavoidable mediocrity of it. Dan’s work has appeared in award shows nationally, internationally, and on his mother’s fridge. He’s spent many years winging the creative process and is now dedicating his life to understanding it, so he can help creative companies and creative people think faster and healthier (and that includes himself). His weekly newsletter hits 6000 Creatives’ inboxes and is saving a bunch of us from feeling totally lost for words and confidence. His online learning course, ‘Writing Under Pressure’ is proving the difference between – ‘the client wants more options and the client can’t pick a favourite’ – Matt Cascarino CCO, FARM.
Listeners of The Imposterous and readers of these words can get a special discount for his course Just use the code – THEIMPOSTEROUS
With a new episode every week, The Imposterous is hosted by Michael Knox (ECD, Think HQ) and Graham Drew (CCO, Grey Malaysia) and as has been created to explore the theory that even the world’s most respected creative professionals suffer pangs of inadequacy that either stifle their potential brilliance or protect them from mediocrity. Tune in to find out how Imposter Syndrome might just be a thing that you don’t have to run from.
Andrew Stevenson’s inner voice is a small horse, that whispers the sweet tones of audible condiments at We Love Jam Studios – coincidentally the makers of The Imposturous podcast. Cohan Banfield doesn’t have an inner voice he has an inner eye shaped like a dodecahedron that enables him to visualise unlike anyone else. The Imposterous is available now on itunes, Spotify, Google Play or imposterous.com
Listen to previous season two episodes with Jeff Goodby, Valerie Young, Damon Staplton, Mietta McFarlane, Brent Smart, Peter Nankervis, Pum Lefebure, Paul Middleditch, Gus Worland, Natalie Lam, David Smith and Anouk Jans here.