For Teh Lulz (Email Communication)

I know. You’re sick of explaining to your clients what your performance rates are… I mean how many times is going to take for them to realize you are creative professional and that you won’t work for anything less then the cost of the labour and materials?!?

And THAT is for charity work.

If we’re talking about a professional show or a corporate portrait, you gotta get paid, dear readers!

Earlier this month, I committed to the idea that basic communication is essential in all interactions; if you don’t have good communication skills, you are going to struggle with all of the ups and downs of life, from the small to the large ones. Ultimately this means you are moving against the flow of life OR being led by the flow, but never setting up your own course of navigation.

Why Don’t You Write A Book About It?

All great navigators know how to control the movement of their vessel from one place to another, and while navigation is defined by land, sea, air, and space, communication is divided up into 4 main forms – written, oral, non-verbal (gestures, words, facial expressions, body language), and interpersonal (personal relationships). And I’ve chosen to start this topic off right or rather write, with written communication.

But why writing timotheories?

Because writing is the form that I am interacting with you in this specific moment, dear readers. You creative cuties!

After all, true writing (read: contextual and encoded writing) has been with us since the bronze age of history, with proto-writing likely preceding 2000 BC, but definitely in that ballpark of time. Though to be clear, this was not a sudden change throughout the world, but a slow one, which developed from symbols and tablets.

History lesson aside, what that means is that written communication is here to stay, and we better figure out how best to interpret it, less we become even more delayed in our growth. Which would suck.

PC Load Letter, What The F Does That Mean?

Speaking of suckage, have you ever seen the Mike Judge classic Office Space? I’m not going to go into a bunch of detail on the movie, instead, you should wait for our upcoming Watch Culture on it, but I will share this little clip and some wisdom.

Life is already difficult as it is, so leave the jargon at the door! You’ve got memos, reports, bulletins, email, text messaging, and a host of other types of written communication to juggle on a daily basis, and thanks to smart phones, these things pile on quick.

It’s not so difficult to manage though, if you rely on a checklist of etiquette and follow through with it, of course. Let’s use the ever-so-popular email format as a basis in demonstrating the  7 C’s of communication (clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous). And clean language too if you want to emphasise courtesy, unlike what Mr. Bolton just did.

  1. Respond to emails promptly. This is one I personally struggle with, as I want to be attentive in my responses, but responding within 24 hours is ideal, within 8 even more preferable, and within 1 if you want to be a rock star.
  2. Proofread your work, and think twice before sending. It should go without saying, but leaving your emotions out of a response can be extremely difficult, and written communication is so easy to do, you can articulate your thoughts and rearrange them. Also, spend some time reading over your work, typos are the worst.
  3. Know your audience. In case it isn’t obvious, don’t blind copy everyone in a response either. Knowing your audience in every instance is difficult to be perfectly honest, but if you pay close attention, you CAN learn others motivations and keep projects moving forward amicably.
  4. Also, please stop forwarding your junk onto others. For example, if you like sharks, and want to let the world about shark week, but your work buddy lost his family in freak shark tank incident, he probably doesn’t want to deal with your email.
  5. Brevity is king. Keep emails brief. People hate reading long boring things. See?

It’s up to you obviously in how you go about enabling these new habits, but at the very least, you now have some basic tools of written communication that will help you better convey your ideas to others. And just like that printer that Michael hated, people can give messages which just don’t make sense… Frustrating for sure.

 

theories Summarized

You don’t want to be like that printer folks. That printer eventually got taken out to pasture and bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat and a few swift kicks to the paper tray. And yes, maybe that’s an extreme example of the risks of bad communication, but worse things have happened in real life. And unlike a theory, I’ll share some examples in the next post of this series to prove it.

Tim!

Drawn Together (Colin MacIntyre cartoonist interview)

After quite a bit of thought, and just a touch of procrastination thrown in the mix to spark heightened awareness under duress (read:one of the camera angles came out yellow), I think I found another classic pairing that future generations can use, one that just seems to click and is, of course, obvious upon reflection. That said, we already know that certain things in life just pair together well – Peanut butter and jelly, bees and honey, salt and pepper, black and white, dogs and cats, king and queen, socks and shoes, and Laurel and Hardy. All of those choices are great examples of individual items which end up being even better together.

In fact, every romantic couple is supposed to function this way, when it’s healthy. In fact, when you talk with someone after a break up, they will often cite compatibility as a major factor in it not working out. Chemistry in love is a very real thing.

That’s why this month’s interviewee is so special.

He is a creative person who dabbles in a great many different arenas, with his most important asset being his love of drawing. For example, he cites instagram as a major inspiration in getting back on the creative horse, and following through each day. Producing at least one drawing on a lunch hour is quite the feat, but Colin MacIntyre does it with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. The act of making itself is a major reward for him, and given that he has at least three other regular projects on the go at any given time, it’s an impressive thing all it’s own. Colin and drawing.

Now by chance, are you wondering what those other projects he does could possibly be? Heck, you haven’t even seen his art yet, but I have a direct line to everything. Which is why I recommend you get right into the video below or hit the jump for the Youtube express train.

What a great topic dear readers! I’m still smiling and all fired up after all of that talk of Beeverine, Winter activities, and the many shades of Batman. And those were just tangential points to be made in this down-to-earth interview about the life of a salesman.

But what did you think folks?

Did  you like it? Did you hate it? What part of the interview inspired you to get back to making art – when you heard those answers on how Colin deals with the challenges of life? If you want to see more of those kinds interviews, then please, please, please subscribe to the mailing list. We need your comments and shares in order to grow. And to know. If the interviews flow.

And special thanks to Colin for being cooperative, capable, and charged up during this entire process! His enthusiasm knows no bounds; at least, that’s my theory.

Tim!

Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy (Colin MacIntyre, cartoonist preview interview)

Well, fuck. I guess I should just give up the chase then. No more interviews.

At least, thats what I thought last Sunday, when I didn’t post this months preview post.

I made a mistake, doing this crazy venture, yet again. I thought I was going to make this awesome interview with a local cartoonist, a first for me on timotheories, and everything went to plan… right up until diving head first into the editing process.

You see dear readers, I brought in Colin MacIntyre of @thecolinium instagram fame with the intentions of revealing his secrets for you. Secrets about making artwork every day. This dude is insanely committed to sharing at least one drawing each day on his instagram feed. And he damn near does it at least five days a week. So that was my intention. To share a cool story with you, about a cool artist, and the awesome conversation we had.

Then I learned that somewhere along the line, his closeup video came out super yellow – I don’t know if it was the tungsten filer on my LED lights, or the warm tube bulbs hidden behind the chairs, but somehow, he ended an incredible shade of yellow and orange, like an Oompa Loompa. And so I messed around with Lumetri Colour settings in Adobe Premiere to correct my problem. Turns out that once something has been over-exposed, video or photo, it’s quite difficult to correct.

Lesson learned I guess! But you know what creative cuties? The results aren’t so terrible, and they work on two levels I think.

1) Colin is a cartoonist, so that resulting video has an illustrated feel, and

2) Pushing through with this interview is definitely in the spirit of Colin’s deeply held mantra of making art no matter what

Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy, as the great Mrs. Frizzle used to say, amirite? That said, Colin is  is a full-time communicator. He works in sales by day, and freelances as a cartoonist, podcaster (I Have Some Notes), and blogger (The Long John Index) who makes art every day. In this preview clip below, he and I discuss why making a commitment to art is difficult.

And humour conveniently plays a factor into his response.

theories Summarized

Does it really surprise you though to learn that television, smart phones and overcommitment can play a huge role in why we don’t make art? This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg on why Colin is awesome and why making art is so important, even if you fail in the process.

So watch the clip, leave some comments, subscribe to my channel if you haven’t yet, and enjoy the process of watching me learn the ropes of this social media thing too, because surprise, I’m not an expert either. And it hasn’t stopped me from continuing this dream. Never give up, never surrender. That’s my own theory for success.

Tim!

Jumping Jehoshaphat! (timotheories June 2017)

June always reminds me of my grandpa.

This is because when I was very little we would always get together as a big family and celebrate Father’s Day with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my dads side of the tree. Speaking of trees, whenever I think of my grandpa I think of Disney and in particular the films of the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

I may have mentioned previously that I love movies? Like, a lot? Well what I may have neglected to mention was that not only did my dad and I bond over movies when I was growing up, but that my grandpa had a sizeable movie collection of his own, and he almost religiously recorded movies on the regular. It amazed and inspired me from a very young, and impressionable age.

This is back when VHS tapes were a thing. If you don’t know what VHS tapes are my many millennials, look them up, because the first time I watched Disney’s animated classic, The Sword in the Stone, it was on VHS.

That’s where I got the Jehoshaphat reference from. Also June bugs. But enough of that, let’s get to the June calendar.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – June

Stimulating Sundays – (06/04) Colin MacIntrye preview interview, (06/11) Colin MacIntrye interview, (06/18) Cross Talk Ep. 27, (06/25) Cross Talk Ep. 28
Melodic Mondays – (06/05) Paramore, (06/12) alt-J, (06/19) Sufjan Stevens, (06/26) Royal Blood
Theatrical Tuesdays – (06/06) Wonder Woman (2009), (06/13) Beauty and the Beast, (06/20) John Wick: Chapter 2 (06/27) The LEGO Batman Movie
Wisdom Wednesdays – (06/07) Communication Basics, (06/14) Email Communication, (06/21) Verbal Communication, (06/28) Meeting Communication
Timely Thursday – (06/01) timotheories June, (06/08) Siblings, (06/15) Watch Culture Ep. 1, (06/22) First Day of Summer, (06/29) Weddings

This is going to be a month of firsts – it’s the first time I release an episode of Watch Culture, and the first time the world get’s to meet Colin MacIntrye’s Beeverine. Colin is an Edmonton based illustrator, and my featured interview for June.

Also, we have some fun Cross Talk episodes coming out – but I’m not going to share too much more about them, because I don’t even know what the topics will be, yet. But I do know that our first ever female guest will be featured on the show. Her stage name is Alice Creed, and she’s intensely interesting.

But you want to know more.

Okay, well I’m focusing a lot of attention on communication with the Wisdom Wednesday posts, and heck, I have some timely thoughts on siblings, summer, and weddings. You’ll see what I mean soon enough.

theories Summarized

June should be a great month to continue this years theme of campfire stories. Especially those upcoming posts on communication. And pay close attention to that first episode of Watch Culture, you aren’t gonna believe what I decided to start the series of with. Well, I have theory you won’t. In fact, I’ll bet a quarter mile at a time that you can’t guess what it is.

Tim!

Art Tricks, Money Traps (Work-Life Balance)

We did it dear readers. We finally got through it.

We made it to the end of my series on the Wellness Factors of Life, AKA addressing the OECD index, or if you prefer, the Postconsumers series. What started out as a wild bid on my part in considering how to live a life with less and yet fuller than you could ever imagine, is now closing out with a topic more then fitting – work-life balance. The last factor that can directly effect your over-all state of being in this world of ours.

Because let’s face it, the average global citizen doesn’t even realize they have a creative component of who they are. Creativity that should be nurtured like all of the other things.

Your creative spark absolutely needs to be considered, and it connects quite well with areas of health, spirit, work, family/friends, environment, and personal fulfilment. When all of these things come together, your life will sing with excellence. Or maybe it’ll all fall apart if you ignore any one of those things for too long.

Yikes, that is a depressing thought to fathom. But I’ve been there creative cuties, and yes I may share that story in full one day. The story which led to one of my greatest theories on the importance of pursuing your purpose, it could be a campfire theory even, but not today is not that day friends.

I’ve got a different kind of wisdom to impart.

But first, let’s put a cap on that pen, and bring out the fundamental of life once more.

The Bare Knuckle Necessities

I’m going to make a bold statement.

You cannot achieve the perfect balance of life:
career (work),
spirituality (spirit, creativity),
space (home, studio, environment),
relationships (romantic, family, friends),
health (exercise, meditation, reading),
and fulfillment (hobbies, recreation)

All of these are noble pursuits, and completely attainable, but most definitely not all at once, and never more then two or three at a time. I know you’ve tried to accomplish this on your own, and you may have even fought against the theory because you wanted to disprove it. But like many idioms, adages, and metaphors of life, life hits back, over and over.

It’s not about besting life friends, it’s about taking it all in, giving it your best shot at a few areas at a time, and then continuing onward.

So for you that might mean getting a grip on health, and career for quite a while. At least until you’ve seen some positive gains and have set up some new healthy habits for yourself. I’m not going to devolve this post into going over theories I’ve discussed before on health, productivity and habit setting, but those topics do exist on timotheories.com. This is about you being okay with striving for progress in certain areas, and then moving into progress in other areas.

Automation Station

Effectively you are creating rhythms and routines for yourself that your body, mind, and soul will be grateful for. Think about it for a minute, we are so comfortable falling into the same shitty habits every day after work? Ever wonder why we do that? Hint: it’s not because we want to.

Instead of beating yourself up because you didn’t do everything on your list today, focus on a few things to accomplish each day and follow through on them. Once the systems are in place to make those good decisions a reality every day (usually after a 90 day commitment), you will eventually create your own ideal, and balance will now have a new meaning.

It becomes less about having everything in equal measure, and more about shifting attentions on these areas of wellness as needed. So put the time in, build your lists, schedule tasks, and make one concrete action towards your area of focus each day. As Rocky says, that’s how winning’s done.

For me, what that means right now is making art every week, and marketing my business. Those are two simple things, but I’ve been neglecting them for relationships, work, and health. It’s time to focus back on the art and my own purpose.

theories Summarized

Artists of all stripes have to face the same pressures of work-life balance as do those that ignore the creative path. There is nothing wrong with going one way or the other, but when you make art, never assume your failings at balance are due to the pursuit of creativity – we all struggle with this. Skill, determination and a commitment to improvement are essential in moving towards success within the arts, as is true of any field.

The difference is that your path is not set in stone, therefore the risks and rewards are much greater. But I have a theory that you already know what you need to chase.

Tim!