Turning your creative energy into a successful career can be challenging. Whether you lack a design diploma or fall victim to some stubborn creativity myths, there are plenty of barriers that are trying to stop you from chasing your dream.

This month, we’re featuring 6 great articles from 99U that tackle those issues and offer tips for finding free time to bolster inspiration, pushing yourself to the creative edge and standing out to an employer – even without that formal design education. Enjoy!


7 Pieces of Wisdom That Will Change the Way You Work

Wisdom, in the words of Maria Popova, is knowledge that matters; it has both a practical and moral component to it that enriches our lives and inspires us to act wisely. Because the path to creativity is fraught with uncertainty, fear, and self-doubt, we naturally look to the wisdom of others to stop us from getting off course.

Here are seven gems of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way as a writer, a path that I accidentally stumbled upon and was only able to thrive because of the generosity and admonishments of those willing to share their learnings. (read more)

5 creativity myths you probably believe

Let’s start with a fact: We are all capable of conceiving new, useful ideas. Unfortunately our chances of doing this are hampered by a few stubborn myths.

These misconceptions cloak creativity in mystique and they foster elitism—the idea that the potential for innovation and imagination is a rare gift enjoyed by only a select few “creative types.” Here we debunk five persistent myths that misrepresent the true neuroscience and psychology of creativity. (read more)

How trashing others holds you back

“So pretentious.” “Derivative.” “Ugly – and not in an interesting way.” This is my ever-charming inner critic talking, but for once it’s not talking to me. No, it’s lambasting other people’s creative work – and it has the capacity to be pretty harsh.

It’s rare that I’d say any of these things aloud—well, okay, maybe to a friend, but never to the creator themselves. So what’s a little private trash talk? Pretty harmless, right? Wrong. (read more)


Make Yourself Uncomfortable: The joy of always outdoing yourself

It has been a slow and steady climb for Bradley G. Munkowitz (Gmunk), from the early days and his creation of internet cult favorite Mandingo Immortal to the motion graphics he directed for the box office smash Tron:Legacy.

Most recently, Gmunk has disrupted the internet with projects such as Box, a short film that uses new technology to change the perception of projection mapping, and See, a music video for the band Tycho which leverages both full-spectrum and infrared photography to stay at the forefront of digital techniques. We managed to get him to hit pause long enough to share his lessons from the past and plans for the future. (read more)

The lost art of free time

It was after midnight. I had just spent the day intensely focused on completing all of my book edits to return to my editor, the culmination of weeks of labor. Typically, I would be sound asleep when the clock strikes 12. But instead, due to the huge rush of excitement created by finishing such a major task, I found myself completely reorganizing a storage closet.

If you don’t make a conscious choice for rest, you will find yourself always filling your time by ticking off items instead of giving yourself space to be in the moment—thinking, doodling, reading, musing, or doing whatever fills you creatively. Not only can scheduled rest renew your joy in life, but also, make you more creative. (read more)

Do designers need to go to college?

Formal design education can be an incredibly valuable experience but it doesn’t always make sense for your career or your wallet. This is especially true for designers working in tech because there is a massive gap between what schools teach and what a designer needs to know to build a product in the real world.

If you’re forging your own path as a designer without a formal design education, there are actionable steps you can take to help make the lack of a degree into an afterthought to potential employers. (read more)

What do you think of this month’s 99U article roundup? Let us know in the comments!