After finalizing two projects this week and sending out a submission project, I felt the craving of sitting down and writing a long post or journal to process the last week and to get my brain ideas on paper. While i sat down and started to writing, Daphne came in my mind and it was the perfect reminder to finish her piece today.
Daphne is a self employed creative strategist and copywriter who moved 2016 from Omaha, Nebraska to Portland, Oregon in 2016. I am very honored to feature her and grateful that she shared her journey with us and that she shared her thoughts on two topics that should be more openly shared- Age- Support from Partner. Grab a coffee or tea and pause for a moment in your day to get inspired by her words as I am.
Curious about her work
Daphne, thanks for taking time and being a part of this project. Can you give us a little insight of your life and what you doing for a living?
Thanks for inviting me to participate in this! I’m a self employed creative strategist and copywriter. I’ve been doing this for about 8 years. I started my business in Omaha, Nebraska, and moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2016. You can see some of my work at daphneeck.com.
You moved not long ago from Omaha to Portland. What is the most challenging aspect you have run into starting as an independent creative in a new city?
I started my business in Omaha, and lived there for 14 years. I had deep, long-lasting relationships there and also people just knew about and respected me and my work, even if we didn’t work together or hang out socially. Being in a new city feels a bit like starting from scratch again. Nobody knows you. Your portfolio, your personal presence, your ability to show up and connect with people—that’s what you have.
Could you always solely make a living from writing or did you have times in your career where you had multiple side jobs until you could full rely on the writing?
In the beginning, I did have a part-time job. I worked at an architecture firm, helping with their marketing and also the front desk. I also had the support of my husband, which meant I didn’t have to fully support myself. I’m really grateful for that.
Your clientele is mostly in the non-profit industry. Can you give us an insight why you choose this field and how did you grow over the years as a writer?
I worked in nonprofit communications for ten years before going out on my own. So it was a natural fit because it was what I knew. I am also an idealist, so I fit in with dreamers, do-gooders, and mission-minded folks.I studied marketing in college, but don’t have a formal writing education. I mostly learned by reading, practicing, and trying things that I wasn’t necessarily qualified to do at the time.
As a writer, we always have the imagination of someone is sitting at home or in a coffee shop and has only a couple of hours to write and is able to enjoy the rest of their day. What does the "real" day of a writer look like?
Ha! I do work from a home office. And sometimes coffeeshops, too. And I typically work fewer than 40 hours a week. So I guess I’m your stereotype. But I think that’s more because of my personality than the fact that I’m a writer. I see other writers who are more Type A doing it differently than me. Also, I spend as much time on business admin, communication with partners and clients, creative direction, content strategy, and project management as I do on writing. That might surprise some people. I try to start every day with “morning pages,” which is a personal writing practice that I learned from Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. It helps to prime the pump. Every workday is a bit different, but it’s usually a mix of admin and writing. I travel for work fairly frequently and those times are for strategy and meetings. Then I come back to my office and do the writing there.
Where do you seek the inspiration for your content and what are your resources?
I usually interview my clients, their employees, and their customers to get inspired. The goal is to find out the truth of what’s going on—what is. Then to create an authentic expression of that. The deeper I can go into their organization, the more connections I make, the more truths I discover, and the more inspired I get. Personally, other writers inspire me. Cheryl Strayed, David Whyte, Mary Oliver, Joy Harjo, Naomi Shihab Nye, Maya Angelou, Pablo Neruda, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Jhumpa Lahiri, Elizabeth Gilbert, Billy Collins, Patti Smith. Oprah Winfrey is a big inspiration to me too, just her power, her spirituality, how she chooses to be and live her life.
How have you found your community - fellow creatives?
My community is a mix of people in the design and advertising field, other writers, people who are spiritual seekers, social workers, activists, and nonprofit people. I tend to connect deeply with a few people at a time. As far as how we find each other, who knows? It’s probably a mix of shared interests, travel, being open to making new friends, and nice gifts/surprises from the Universe.
How important is it to have support and a good network and how can creatives benefit from good networking in your opinion?
A broad network is great. But I think it’s even more important to have a deep one, a few people you can go to with the hard stuff. I’ve been lucky to have that from the beginning. I got some business coaching when I first started my business and have always had a few women business owners who are right there me (we’re there for each other, actually). Having those supportive relationships has made being self-employed possible for me.
What are you missing when you see how women support each other and what do you think are still taboo topics especially in the creative world which should be more openly discussed?
I’ve been incredibly fortunate with this. I’ve had so much support and other women have been my biggest cheerleaders, supporters, and fans. I think there’s at least a conversation happening about sexism in the workplace, so it’s not taboo. The taboos are perhaps more around that undeniable privilege there is in being independent. I am a white, straight, cisgender woman with a husband who helped to support me while I got started. That made it easier for me to take the risk. I think it’s much harder for women of color to work independently in my field – I don’t see it very much. There’s also an ageism in certain creative fields. I’m 43 and am often the oldest person in the room. I don’t see a lot of people in their 40s, 50s, 60s doing what I do. If you are, I want to meet you. Say hello!