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Creativity from the Masters, not Our Robot Overlords

Written By Kathryn Millhorn | May 22, 2024

Strap in, kiddos, we’re going back in time.

Timely or Timeless?

In his 1994 book Dave Barry Is Not Making This Up, the famously wackadoodle writer tells a story that rings painfully true today.

People often say to me: “Dave, you are a leading journalism professional and not as short as I expected. What is your secret of success?”

The answer is that, throughout my career, I have always kept one vital journalistic principle foremost in my mind: Try not to leave the house. A journalist who leaves his or her house can run into all kinds of obstacles, including:

  • Editors.
  • Members of the public.
  • News events involving actual facts.

{What does this have to do with finding your next, latest, greatest, or forever creative job? It’s coming, I promise.}

Now we can’t all make a 40+ year career writing about boogers and South Florida shenanigans like Dave. But too many skilled writers remain holed-up in their our (let’s be honest) pj’s, dreaming of a paycheck, a punching bag for the AI Overlords…and occasionally our editors.

So, what can you do instead of arm-wrestling a computer for each new job? Adapt and overcome, my lovelies, adapt and overcome.

True or False?

It’s true you can tell a chatbot to puke out a 500-word blog on why people need more ____ (anything, honestly) and it’ll appear in a poof of digital pixie dust. But is it correct? Tailored to your client’s specific market? Designed to appeal to a regional target audience? Unlikely.

Studies have found bias in up to 38.6% of ‘facts’ used by AI. And many artificial intelligence systems don’t seem able to capture recent or hyper-local info. Duke University even says that AI “has been known to fabricate or ‘hallucinate’ (in machine learning terms) citations. These citations may sound legitimate and scholarly, but they are not real…AI can confidently generate responses without backing data much like a person under the influence of hallucinations can speak confidently without proper reasoning.”

Niche is Nice!

Are you creating blogs, web content, newsletters, or fundraising materials for a local small business, mom-and-pop restaurant, or regional nonprofit, for example? Spice it up with real, lived details (even if you don’t live there). Investigate the hottest local coffee shop, which artisanal brewery holds the sassiest trivia nights, or names of sports teams (if they’re winning or have a cute mascot) and use that info. Mentioning Starbucks in Seattle is one thing, but suggest a coffee date there in Olympia, Washington (home of the divine Dancing Goats) and you’ll be sipping solo.

Adapt and Overcome!

This means different things to different people at different times. You may have to take smaller jobs, but more of them. Or work with industries and topics you aren’t as familiar/comfortable with. Or branch out geographically.

But this is where we in the Creative Party can help! Look at all the different types of creative talent we place, it’s awesome! But look a little deeper and you’ll notice options for cross-pollination. Fill out your details and let’s talk about what you’ve done and what interests you but also about ways to adapt which could turn a temp job into an awfully tempting career opportunity.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Creating may not pay ALL the bills at this exact moment in time but by working together, we can start with just your phone bill. Put in some time and effort to build buzz then *poof* your car payment is covered. Add a few clients and BLAMMO, that’s rent. Then, 40 years later, you’re the next Dave Barry, dictating fart jokes poolside with devoted fans waiting for the next ENTIRE BOOK ABOUT YOUR DOG.

Round and Round We Go

You’ve probably noticed that life is cyclical. We slog through our workday, something new/better comes along, we love it, flaws are discovered, we cringe/mock/redesign, it becomes either better or gets left in the creative dust of memes and social media memory posts.

Look at AI. First, it was a funny tool for making our selfies look even weirder. Then came ‘Wow, this can write/draw/create anything! For free!’ Then Sydney’s marriage woes and Shrimp Jesus. It’s a great tool for spitballing ideas and weeding down big issues into manageable bites (think the robot voices when you call an insurance company) but when it comes to answers and true artistic mojo, there’s no comparison. Writers, designers, builders, and creatives like you are unique and special. So give us a nudge and we’ll start working on a plan today!

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