Dear reader,

Welcome! The Creative Independent is a growing resource of emotional and practical guidance for creative people, published ad-free by Kickstarter, a public-benefit corporation. We produce interviews, wisdom, and guides that illuminate the trials and tribulations of living a creative life, as told by working artists — including writers, musicians, designers, visual artists, and others. Our goal is to inspire and grow the community of people who create.

Choose a path to start exploring our creative resource...

Making time for creative work

Sometimes the body is working for you, you can get your breathing right, and sometimes not. It depends upon what’s happening in your life, but it’s your job to be consistent with the practice.

Writer Jason Reynolds on being human in your work

Set a sleep pattern. Sleep is the parentheses of your day; decide how much you need (I recommend 6-8), then be religious about getting that exact amount. Disable your snooze button and address yourself in harsh terms if you don’t get out of bed immediately.

On how to be a creative person with a job

I’ve had major failures based on an inability to either say “no” or “I need a break” or “I need a pause,” or to just give some indication that I was floundering and that I was not doing okay.

Writer Ashley C. Ford on being honest about what you have the time to do

Things That Are Actually Helping Me Write My Book:

Notebooks. Have several, write in them whenever I want. None have any special reason for being other than I might need a place to handwrite my next thing. But I adore each and every one and care for it as if it will be my last.

Writer Ashley C. Ford on being honest about what you have the time to do
Photo of seahorse

Making a living

I feel like I’ve built up a wall of denial over time where I’m just like, “Okay, it’s worked out for this long. I’m just going to trust that it’s going to keep on working.”

Visual artist Benjamin Kress 
On when your freelance 
gigs and creative vocation are almost the same
Photo of ginkgo

I don’t wanna do anything unless I’m gonna put my all into it and make it the best thing I could possibly make. I can’t do that unless I charge what it’s worth.

Visual Artist Alexander Heir on learning the things they don’t teach you in school

There’s this idea of, “I just want to be able to not have a job and live off my work.” But that mindset can be detrimental to your work, you know? That’s why having a job can be helpful. You don’t want to be scrambling to get some anointed status of “artist living off their work.”

Ryan Wallace on what it means to be a working artist
Photo of ginkgo

You try, and you try, and you try, and you just, more often than not, do not see the fruits of your labor. But it’s important to keep at it. I’m at a place now that I didn’t think I would be several years ago, and I’m sure in many years I’ll be at an even better place, working on bigger and better projects.

Ronan Lynam on learning how to be a creative entrepreneur

Dealing with creative anxiety

The way that I metabolized that internal hell is just by learning to be with myself again in a really decisive way, and by inputting so much more music and doing so much more thinking. I’m still in the throes of doing this.

Tom Krell of How to Dress Well on bouncing back and moving forward

Whether I succeed or fail doesn’t really matter because it’ll be interesting and I’ll learn something from it.

Composer Danny Elfman on not being afraid of failure

If I had to depend on auditions, or if I were waiting for other people to put me in their work, I think I would have a lot of anxiety about that. Making my own stuff has allowed other people to understand how I can be integrated into their work as well. I’m creating a perfect fit for myself.

Erin Markey on trusting yourself
Photo of shell Photo of flamingo

Building a community

​​Nobody knows everything, we’re all constantly learning. I want to be in that space where I’m able to learn from others and then others can learn from me.

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe on embracing the unknown
Photo of coral

It’s important to find people you have things in common with, who aren’t scared to express those shared values; people with whom you can build and create. People you can support and who can support you, in your projects, initiatives, creative practice, and also as humans and family. I think being queer also brings a special way of building community; we have to build community in order to survive.

Artist and arts manager Shey Rivera Ríos on experimenting, failing, and growing
Photo of bird

There are certain themes that keep re-emerging in my work that have to do with what it is to be together with others, what it is to create community in home, what it is to have attachments to people, what it is to have a sense of belonging, what it is to forge some space that you can occupy.

Justine Kurland on solitude and community

My vision is not separate from my community. They both are always working together, nourishing each other, it’s all going in a cycle.

Annika Hansteen on joy, communal care, and designing liberatory futures

In the spirit of circling back we created this time capsule that displays artifacts from TCI’s not-so-distant past…

TCI Time Capsule

On this day 2 years ago we published:

We thought this might be a good moment to bring you some of our readers’ voices. After all, they (you) make TCI what it is today!

Anonymous Snail
Jacksonville, FL
Anonymous Snail
New York, NY
Anonymous Snail
Bay Area, CA
Anonymous Snail
Denver, CO
Anonymous Snail
Mumbai, India
216 words
Happy Birthday to team creative independent! I hope you guys are all safe and doing well! I have been following your page for about a year and I really look forward to your posts. The past year and a half has been really difficult, but reading and learning from and about other creatives through your page has been incredibly comforting and reassuring. I especially love theatre artist, Kaneza Schaal’s post dated 04.05.2021 and author and illustrator, Johnny Sun’s post dated 23.06.2021. I have them written and highlighted in my notebook and use them to help me clear my head during my spells of severe anxiety and panic. Thank you so much for all your work! It really means a lot! And good luck for your future!
Anonymous Snail
New Hampshire
Anonymous Snail
Anonymous Snail
81 words
Happy Birthday!! Birthday twins! September 26 🤙 This bday, my family is coming to town to visit… so in preparation i’ve been doubling up on my therapy ~ *actually* therapy… and all the creative iterations i’ve cultivated as practices in between 🌀 TCI has been such an important resource for me over the years… too many important convos, essays, advice, etc that have shaken me up inside to count. Thank you so much for this community and happy HAPPY birthday! 💛
Anonymous Snail
18 words
Hello! This is the first TCI interview that I've read all the way through and I loved it!
Anonymous Snail
New York
187 words

happy happy birthday!!!!

these past few years, celebrating my birthday has been very calm. just spending time with loved ones and eating good food. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by so much love on my birthday.

I take a little bit from every interview tbh! But I really liked Jenny Zhang's interview. I love her perspective on embarrassment and how it's so normal to feel that way. It SHOULD be normalized and accepted as a feeling that comes up when you're doing something new. I also loved when she said "It's very American to not want to address the body." It really is! Especially in terms of periods and even pooping! We could really be using human excretion as fertilizer but this stigma against it limits us from creating better soil. It's pretty wild. So yeah that interview really resonated with me. Even bought one of her books after reading it.

Thank you for doing this work! I look forward to reading the daily interview and I love sharing with anyone I know. I wish you many many many years of success. Keep being you!!

Anonymous Snail
31 words
Happy birthday Real Snail! It’s an honor to watch you grow. Our creative community is so lucky to have you. To many more years of learning together. All love, Mikki (Bklyn)
Anonymous Snail
Ontario, Canada
17 words
Happy 5th Birthday TCI! I enjoy reading a new interview each morning. Very inspiring and helpful <3
Anonymous Snail
New Zealand
77 words

Happy birthday TCI!

I hope you're celebrating your birthday with a big dinner with loved ones, candles, and good food.

I always think about the interview with Sarah Nicole Prickett, particularly when she said: “Generally I’m attracted to glamour, because I had a totally unglamorous childhood, which I deeply resent.” I feel the same way.

Many of Thora Siemsen’s interviews have really affected me and my practice.

All the best for the next five years and beyond!

Anonymous Snail
Minneapolis, MN
Anonymous Snail
New York
6 words
Happy hatch day, 🐌. Stay slow!
Anonymous Snail
West Virginia
Anonymous Snail
West Virginia

We’d also like to share some music with you. Many of the artist’s we’ve talked with have some sort of connection with music. They say music can get your creative juices going. Our friends and collaborators made us these playlists, and we hope you’ll give them a listen.

tomberlin <3 tci
Rainbow in the Dark: I See Good Spirits, I See Bad Spirits
Happy birthday tci!
playlist for tci
music from the silver couch

Did you know that TCI is not just website? Many people enjoy TCI as a newsletter. You can also follow us on Instagram, or learn more about us.

Sprial on,
Real Snail

Producer/Editorial: Brandon Stosuy
Design: Mikki Janower, Elliott Cost
Illustrations: Oriane Brunat
Development: Elliott Cost