5 Things Creatives can Learn from Joey Tribiani

I must be honest with you.

I haven't posted lately because Robin and I have been too busy watching all 10 seasons of Friends. 

The other day a friend mentioned needing to get a massage. I told her one of our friends was a massage therapist but I couldn't remember who it was...  Then I realized I was thinking of Phoebe.  Phoebe, who is not our actual friend or an actual massage therapist.  When we first saw Paul Rudd in Ant Man I leaned over to Rob and said "Can you believe he's married to Phoebe?" In short, we got sucked into the Friends universe for a while. And it was awesome. 

One of the surprising takeaways from binge-watching Friends was a lesson about creativity. And I learned it primarily from Joey Tribiani. So, I have compiled the following for you, dear reader. 

5 Things Creatives Can Learn From Joey Tribiani: 

Own your Craft.  Joey called himself an actor when the only recognition he had were from roles in a few poorly written plays and from a movie where he starred as Al Pacino's butt. A lot of times artists just developing their crafts are too unsure to call themselves a painter or a filmmaker because they aren't a famous painter or filmmaker. Like Julia Cameron, writer of The Artist's Way, said, "Creativity lies not in the done, but in doing." Recognition doesn't make you an artist. Making art makes you an artist. In the words of Susie Davis, "Writers Write!"  If you write regularly, you are a writer. If you love to paint, call yourself a painter! If you scribble poetry on anything you can find, you are a poet. Creation takes audacity and vulnerability, so try being a little gutsy and call yourself an artist. 

Celebrate Progress, Big or Small. When Joey was still acting primarily in theater, the cast got together after the show to read the review of their latest play. It tanked. It got a mean, horrible review. But Joey was happy, because it said that his acting wasn't the worst thing about the play. It was progress! As creatives, we need to remember to celebrate progress. It may be very small, noticeable only to us, but let's tune out the critic that tells us that we're no good and acknowledge that we are refining our craft. 

Keep Doing the Work. After Joey's character on Days of our Lives, Dr. Drake Ramoray, got the {elevator} shaft, Joey didn't give up. He kept going to auditions and accepting whatever creative work he could find, even if it was just selling soup on a commercial. He appealed to the writers of Days of our Lives until they finally gave Dr. Drake Ramoray a brain transplant, woke him from his coma, and put him back on the show. Keep hustling! 

Mourn your Losses, Eat some Food. This one is actually about what everyone loved about "Friends." Joey had good community. When he didn't get a part, he shared it, mourned it, and let his friends take care of him. He ate some of Monica's food, then, he looked for another audition. Don't assume that your disappointments aren't important. Being an artist is vulnerable! So, mourn the loss, then find another audition. Look for the next door. 

Do the Twin Study. Don't be discouraged if your work isn't bringing in any money yet. Joey funded his acting by finding a look-alike for an identical twin study. You may not yet be paid to do what you love, but don't stop doing it! View your 9 to 5 job as fundraising for your EP or for those new acrylic paints. 

So, celebrate your victories, keep doing the work, and when you get discouraged, remember what Joey said, "You can't just give up! Is that what a dinosaur would do?" 

driving the getaway car