Create. Share. Sustain.

We used to require permission from others to put our work into the world with any sort of scale. That permission came in the form of getting hired to shoot a news story, a magazine feature, or an advertising campaign. “They” sat up in fancy corner offices and if you were good…no, scratch that, good AND lucky…’they’ would say ‘yes’ and then you’d be permitted to share your work with the world.

Not any more.

It’s the first time in the history of the world that you can share your work with any sort of scale–whether that’s a photograph, a video, a story, or whatever you’re making–without anyone’s permission. What are you waiting for? Spend your own time and your own money. And hit post, publish, share, send, or whatever makes the software push it out into the world.

Create. Share. Sustain.

No, seriously, what are you waiting for?…[click the ‘continue reading’ link below]

Why is this important? Because I think that making stuff over and over is the key creativity. And especially the key to creativity to the next era of media. And especially for creatives. Don’t be fooled. It’s painfully simple. The road may be a long one, but it’s certainly not complicated:

Create. Make something. A photograph, a video, a poem, a piece of software.

Share. Send your thing out into the world. Post it to your Facebook, your blog. Tweet it. (And still share it with your mom).

Sustain. Start out by waiting tables. Or keep your day job. Or sell your spouse’s socks on ebay. Or do something out of the genre of what you want to do until you can afford not to do it. Or do all of these so that you can keep creating and sharing without requiring “permission” from anyone.*

And repeat. Create. Share. Sustain. Repeat.

And soon enough, if you so desire, and if you listen to yourself and your network–your creating and your sharing will become your sustenance. Whether it’s via Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans, or whether it’s some new adaptation of your vision, you will have the ability to sustain yourself in connection with a sea of like minded people.

Never mind the man in the corner office.

[If you give a rip, the first time I formulated this create-share-sustain into any sort of a cohesive thought was here:
Video: Consequences of Creativity and the ADCD. I’ve preached it a billion times since then, but written the words here on the blog, curiously, until now.]

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65 Responses to Create. Share. Sustain.

  1. Emon Hassan December 26, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Well said. Watched this speech 'How To Live Before You Die" by Steve Jobs last night. Inspired!

  2. Anonymous December 26, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Great article Chase!

    Happy Holidays

  3. Bengt December 26, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Check out Story of stuff

  4. Ghislain December 26, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    I needed to hear this Chase… it's hard but we can't just stop. Let's go forward…always forward… No time to be so hard on us huh? :) Cheers Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  5. Rajesh Taylor December 26, 2009 at 7:56 am #

    Let's see how far this takes me in 2010!


  6. John Robbins December 26, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    I agree, however you still have to pay someone to publish your content, for example i have a flickr account yet ive hit my 198/200 limit, i now have to pay $24 to flickr to host any more, even though i have my own server, but no one can comment or critique my photos on my server, to upload my latest pics. Therefore, being broke, i use facebook who now "owns" my pics commercially……. the expense goes on.

    There is nothing available community wise for the amatuer – wants to be proffesional someday – photographer.

    and this sucks.!

  7. Jonny Graham December 26, 2009 at 8:00 am #

    Thanks for the inspiring words Chase. I really hope to do what you do some day :) A creative- not just a photographer/designer/director.
    I suppose its a matter of how you get said fans/followers when you're not Terribly known to begin with though :-/

  8. Scott MacKenzie December 26, 2009 at 8:09 am #

    I've watched your presentation in Denver this past summer many times.
    Every time, I pick up something new. Thanks!

  9. David Redding December 26, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Great article….so many people think creativity is so hard and is only for those with "A Gift"….but

    "Sustain. Start out by waiting tables. Or keep your day job. Or shoot weddings."

    WTF?! You group a perfectly creative and satisfying career in the photographic industry with waiting tables and keeping a soul sucking day job?!

    Wedding photography is a hell of a lot more then something to do till you can get a "Real" job in photography. There are some extremely talented shooters that proudly call wedding photography their calling

  10. December 26, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Chase Jarvis December 26, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    *David: my bad. unclear. it was really supposed to be a "desirable" gig that was still requiring other people's permission. i agree a wedding shooter could mis read that. as such, I've amended the text above, leaving your comment and this note as a reference.

    fwiw. I'm on record all over the place giving big props to wedding shooters. fleet of art directors is no match for mother of the bride. mad respect.

  12. Scott December 26, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    This is great Chase I'd like to add an additional SUSTAIN – i.e., create, share, sustain, sustain the final sustain being sustain others. If you can, help others through the process any way you can.

  13. Felix December 26, 2009 at 9:22 am #

    Great article Chase!

    Sustain. So important! Hard work boosts your creativity so much. Three days without creating somethings seems like eternity to me…

    btw: merry xmas and a happy new year!

  14. jerseystylephotography December 26, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    Thanks much, Chase!

  15. MJ December 26, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    I'm glad to have read this. It calmed and inspired me. Just the other day I was worried about getting "their" permission and how long it would take. Thank you.

    -Miranda E.

  16. Nightwhisper December 26, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Oh yes keep your daily job, or make it part time. Because gear costs and you need it after all.

    Sharing works but oversharing can hurt yourself.

    The reality is that a photographer is half a business man. He needs to sell his "products" to live.

    100% artists starve… as always!

    Happy new year man!

  17. Cinghialino December 26, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    great article

  18. Jeff Zimmerman Photography December 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    Hey Chase,

    I have been following your blog for a while now. Continue to look to it to keep me going. What I have noticed is that your public speaking is about as amazing as your photography. I would think that this has helped you grow just about as much as your creativity has. Have you alway had this ability or has it grown along with your photography. Also how much time would you put in to preparing for something like this? Thanks for putting it all out there.


  19. Arpad Ronaszegi December 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Inspiring blog! Very true that what used to be only possible for large outfits is now available to anyone and it is creativity that often makes the difference. I teach architecture to graduates in an art/ design school and as these students face a challenging job market creativity that they can explore/ apply/ share, is their greatest asset. Sustain can also mean (and not only when times are difficult) to simplify life and focus on what one's passion is, rather that seeking only financial reward.

    Thanks for your thoughts, I will share it with my students. Happy New Year!

    Arpad Ronaszegi

  20. André Weigel December 27, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    Great blog post, thank you !

  21. Gabriel December 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    Thanks again for sharing this. It's hard to remember the mantra, but I've been working at it. Growing things. Creating, sharing. It takes a lot of work. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

  22. Jason Lindsey December 28, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    I agree completely. It is freeing. I have several personal projects in the works and my inspiration to shoot them comes form knowing I have places to share them. It is freeing creatively even if all of them do not get shared. Just having the outlet is so powerful in and of itself.

  23. Ellis December 28, 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    This struck a chord with me when I saw the lecture.

    I need this as my wallpaper or something to remind me daily of it.

  24. Dwayne Tucker December 29, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    I love reading your blog Chase. Great article.

    Nassau, Bahamas

  25. Bruno Axhausen December 29, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    Thanks for that Chase!

    For someone like me, standing at the crossroads trying to decide between a "safe" career (lawyer in my case) and diving headfirst into the rather misty gun-for-hire photography business this is very important and encouraging to read!

    Right now I'm finishing my education in law while trying get this create-share (and maybe) sustain cycle going. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to sustain myself someday by creating and sharing, maybe I'll sustain myself by working in an office and create and share in my free time. I don't know what's going to happen, but creating and sharing gives me so much, I'll be happy even if the sustain part comes from somewhere else….

    All the best,

  26. Photobby December 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    More creations feeding the creative beast within? Are you Mad Chase? Probably not. I did a little stint in the art program at a decent college, their basement was FULL of student and teacher art…. Jammed to bustin' full.

  27. mightymattp December 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    Loved the read. Here's my share – a teaser for my Nikon short in the finals

  28. Nathaniel Rosa December 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    Got two words Chase,

    Word up.

    This is just the beginning, and I'm excited!

    Nathaniel Rosa,
    A teenager with a dream.

  29. Sebastien D'Amour January 1, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Thank you for the words of advice. I always try to achieve such a thing but it's not always possible. It's hard when you begin especially in a new city :/

    Create, share, sustain. Sustaining is the most scary part since we can feel so lonely sometimes…

  30. Nica Guerrero January 2, 2010 at 12:27 am #

    Gracias desde Venezuela por esos artículos y videos, realmente consiguen motivar, voy a tansitar ese camino a ver como me va a partir de este año que comienza.

  31. girlshawn January 2, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Every time I get stuck I just read your blog and I'm inspired all over again.


  32. Jakob Ebert January 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts … Its realy fantastic!
    Best from Berlin,

  33. Michael P August 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    I don’t care what anyone says–“Create. Share. Sustain.” is the key to success in any creative endeavor. This is the formula that, paired with faith in one’s own self, is the path to victory.

  34. John Nelson February 15, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I keep coming back to this particular blog post for inspiration. It is the best advice I’ve ever received for advancing my career in creativity. I share it with all of my photog friends.

    Chase: Thank you.


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