Why I decided to build a passion project on Ghost.

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Passion projects take the longest to build. A wicked voice inside your head — RuPaul Charles calls it your inner saboteur, Stephen King in Full Dark, No Stars calls it the Conniving Man––nags at you and deters you in every step.

Popular lines include: you’ll never be good enough; just kill your dream; others are better than you, and they are miles ahead; they’re bigger, faster, and they will always beat you. The last one’s so good a legend of Joan Crawford’s stature realized it in cinema.

This writer, a Filo whose job is no more than battering keyboards, is familiar with the same beast. Though I gratefully make a living as a writer, I’m not exempt from what self-help books call The Imposter Syndrome. Chronically, I create something to tear it apart, sculpt it, scrap it, distort it, or maim it, sometimes to no end. Hover a UV-ray light over my keyboard and you’ll see the key I touch most — the ‘delete’ key. …

How saying “yes” keeps you closed to a lot of opportunities

“So…is that a yes?”

How many times have you befallen into this pit of resigning to the default affirmative? It’s alarmingly common, being that society has positioned “yes” as your right answer to any opportunity or “should I or shouldn’t I?” quandary that comes your way.

For creatives, it’s even worse: “Can you write 10 kickass articles per week?” Okay, sure. “Will you just reshoot the photo? Something about it feels off.” Oh, okay, I guess. “Want to skip work and procrastinate with friends instead?” Heck, yes!

“Down to make yourself feel further entrapped in your own creative life?” Uh…

The curse that afflicts us humans is our inability to say “yes” to ourselves first and say “no” to other people. …

Some real-world examples of freelance websites to get you inspired.

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This post is cross-published on my own blog, armanddc.com.

After a handful of design iterations, I’ve finally settled on one.

How I’ve gotten to that finality is an entire journey. I’ve had plenty of factors considered, from UI to aesthetic, but mostly I’m trying to emulate two of my favorite freelancers right now: Jason Zook and Paul Jarvis. They have great-looking websites, and there’s plenty to take from both. The former, I like the use of typography; the latter, I’m completely enamored by its minimalism.

Here are their sites.

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The “hustle” culture demands sheer hardwork and cultivates a simplistic and often dangerous notion of success.

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Today’s musings originally appeared on my blog — Just A Quippie!. Be sure you check it out for more posts like this one.

The word “hustle” is tempting. If it had taken human form, it’d be the coolest jock propped against the locker at the end of the hallway — zippy, high-octane, always-moving, the coolest person in school. And chipper high schooler you, you long for a nod. A smile, dare you.

You want its affirmation more than you care to admit. Because when you hustle, you feel good. And when you hustle hard, you feel like a superhero.

But only after a short while. …

An incredible find: Stupidly simple and seamless invoicing and contracting

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Freelancing isn’t a hall pass for mediocrity. Your clients expect a packaged service that renders as pleasurable an experience as one that they’d have with an agency. As a freelancer, you must provide a first-rate job if you intend to keep for yourself a steady flow of work.

However, as companies of one, we often hit speed bumps and get stuck in a rut, looking to our robot overlords for any solution at all. Which is what this post is about.

Meet Bonsai.

It’s an all-around suite of tools designed with freelancers in mind. It’s got a host of great features, including project management, billing document creation, time tracking, and more. These are all areas in which the unknowing freelancer will look like a million-dollar hotshot to any prospective client. Bonsai is free, too*, making it an ideal solution for freelancers who are just starting out. …

You don’t need to get in the “zone” to create great work.

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Still from Sean Byrn’s ‘The Devil’s Candy’ (2015).

Author’s Note: This story first appeared on my blog, Quippie. It’s where I post stories about culture, media, the arts, productivity, and creative work. I’ll see you there!

The idea of “flow” isn’t foreign to many. Mystical as it had been when it was first presented by Hungarian professor and author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his first book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, the idea has stuck with the world all the same. He defines it as a gratifying, hyper-focused state in which a person is put when engaging in an intrinsically valuable, challenging task.

In a 2004 TED talk, he shared an anecdote from a leading composer who claims to have had experienced what we know today as creative flow. “You are in an ecstatic state,” says the composer. “To such a point that you feel as though you almost don’t exist. My hands seem devoid of myself, and I have nothing to do with what is happening. I just sit there in a state of awe and wonderment. And [the music], just flows out of me.” …

Hopper standing broodily in a flood of rotting squashes alludes to what’s in store for the children in Hawkins.

Photo from the poster.

Author’s Note: This post is cross-posted from my Creators account, where I mainly post pop culture stuff including this one. If you’re ever on there, come say hi!

You can’t miss that the second season of Stranger Things is forthcoming. Even if you tried. Netflix has been churning out teaser after teaser since its announcement, and to say that they’re doing it well would grossly understate the work their putting in.

So far, we have: a bunch of character posters redolent of Suspiria’s iconic poster; a series of 80’s horror movie-inspired posters; and a deftly crafted trailer released at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con featuring a fun repurposing of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. …

There has never been a better time to revisit the work of Stephen King whose smaller stories like ‘1922’ leave terror just as lasting as his epics like ‘It’.

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Thomas Jane in ‘1922’.

Author’s Note: This post is cross-published from my blog, Quippie. If you like talking about culture, the arts, and creative work, you owe it to yourself to take a look around. See you there!

Netflix is lifting the Stephen King novella “1922” off of the pages of the acclaimed collection, Full Dark, No Stars, and translating it into a film. Set in the early 20’s, the film is — -in essence — -a confessional of a husband who murders his wife by manipulating his son to connive with him in the crime.

The new film is directed by Australian filmmaker Zak Hilditch, known for his apocalyptic lo-fi drama, These Final Hours. It premieres on Netflix, October 20th. …

In which I share all the tools and resources I use for my everyday creative work.

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Peggy Olson has her own. Why don’t you?

Every creative I know has, in one way or another, admired Peggy Olson. She’s persistent, ever-curious, and skilled. Screw the haters: her fashion sense is unmatched too. Don Draper looks at her with genuine awe and regret. The former because she’s incredible and the latter because the time they live in isn’t exactly forgiving.

Of course, not everyone is a Peggy Olson. And we’re all slaves to our mediocrity, passivity, and disillusionment. We can’t just strut around the hallways of our office, box at hand, cigarette in mouth — we’re no Peggy Olson!

What I’m trying to get at: we take all the help that we can get. …

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Photo by Jeff Sheldon

Until recently, I have held on to the privileges a traditional job offers: a decent list of benefits, a handsome salary at the end of each month, and so on.

My passion for stories, however, has nudged me to seek for a freer, more flexible working schedule. I was missing the good ol’ days of freelancing.

Make no mistake: freelancing is difficult — perhaps more difficult than, say, a job in a traditional setting. …


Armando Dela Cruz

I write about culture and creative work. Read more: armanddc.com.

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