Most creative people have this doubt about whether they are ‘artists’ or mere ‘workers’. I would say it is good to have your feet on both sides, but when it comes to your survival and reputation, it’s better to be professional.
Understand that most of your work will be with marketing professionals, and most good marketing professionals imagine themselves to be creative as well (truth be told, we really humor them). Though they do not understand even the C of Creative, what they do understand and demand is that you be professional.
Being professional means:
1. There is a Deadline.
Anything you do in your professional realm will come with a date to finish and hand over the work. You can explore, experiment, doubt and redo as much as you want before that… but value that date. It’s likely that your work will be tied to other events and schedules and upsetting that means upsetting a chain of events. Sometimes understanding this code is good enough to stamp you as professional.
2. There is a Process.
There is always a process to whatever you do, but take care that this process does not become a reason to fault on the deadline. You should not need to lean on your process to explain your failings. Clients do not care about processes.
3. It is about Business.
Your work is always part of a bigger machine; it fits in and does its role. Better understanding of that bigger machine will make you more efficient, as you rework your process and then meet your obligations.
Understanding these three codes will make you professional, and fit for the world you operate in. But you need to remain the artist for your soul to thrive. Do keep that alive as well.
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief