profile

Autonomous Creative

Are you exploiting yourself and your own creative labor? with Tara McMullin

Published about 1 year ago • 2 min read

Pre-s: If you’re struggling to write a book, you don’t want to miss this.

My friend and colleague, Gabriela Pereira, the creator of DIY MFA, is hosting one of her amazing, FREE Writing Sprints this weekend, and you can click here to sign up!

This is a free virtual writing retreat where writers can create their own goals and build their community by connecting via social media.

Once you sign up, you’ll be invited to the secret headquarters, where you’ll get access to a series of videos to guide you through the sprint, which starts on February 4th. You’ll also get a downloadable schedule that has options to make this a 1 or 2 day event, so that you can customize it to your, no-doubt, busy schedule.

Sounds awesome right? Check it out here → DIY MFA Weekend Writing Sprint


​This week on The Autonomous Creative:


“Self-actualization is not more important than feeding yourself.”

Our guest on this week’s episode is Tara McMullin. Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st century…

…with your humanity intact.

Sounds like something we all need, to be honest.

Tara used to primarily be a business strategist—in fact, she was my first business coach, back in 2015, and is an immense influence on me.

In late 2021, she stopped—hard—and pivoted her focus to what had been her ancillary creative work.

From then on, her pragmatic and grounded coaching and her focus on strategy over flash has become part of my business’s DNA. If you ever wonder how I got to be the kind of coach and thinker I am, Tara is a big part of that story.

She has a new book out called What Works, a Comprehensive Framework to Change the Way We Approach Goal Setting…which is not actually about goal setting at all.

She’s also been sharing ideas that derive from her research for that book over the last year on her podcast, which is also called What Works.

Some of those ideas have totally cracked open new vistas for me, and transformed how I’m working (ever-evolving!).

…and I think they might do so for you as well.

In this episode, Tara McMullin helps us understand why solving for your needs first is essential to running any creative business (with your humanity intact).

She also delves into:

  • What’s the Passion Paradigm, and how does belief in passion-driven work contribute to labor exploitation?
  • How the starving artist myth functions more like religious belief than you might expect, and what effect that has.
  • How acknowledging your limitations is actually the key to feeling more capable than ever.
  • How did an adult diagnosis of autism, and the emotional labor required to support her clients, play into Tara’s pivot?
  • What leads to chronic under-commitment, and how can we become less tied to validation and achievement?

Ready for more?

Listen to the full episode, check out the transcript, and learn more about Tara's work here.


Autonomous Creative

With Jessica Abel

For creative iconoclasts who want to pay their bills AND do the work they love, get insights, ideas, and next steps from a graphic novelist, author, & business coach. Find out how to build a balanced and productive creative life, and to thrive financially with simple, sustainable business foundations—without creative compromise.

Read more from Autonomous Creative

Ever since I named our monthly free coaching call the “Simplify to Amplify Roundtable” I’ve been questioning my own overly-complex working life. How can I counsel others to simplify, and talk about how powerful that can be in amplifying their ability to reach their goals…when I myself still juggle so much stuff all the freaking time? I’ve been teaching this concept for years: One thing at a time. That’s how you get things done, and that’s how you unleash your full potential. Yet, ever since...

26 days ago • 3 min read

I went through most of my career feeling like success was just…one…step…away, around a blind corner, and that all I needed to do to get there was… More. More work, more marketing, more income streams, more…everything. At some point—or really, over and over again—I did so much more I almost broke. I know I'm not alone. I constantly see other creatives trapped in the same cycle, which I’ve dubbed “Cyclical Burnout.” The truth is, most of what we’re taught about having a creative career (when...

7 months ago • 1 min read

I’ve been talking a lot over the past year about one of the biggest contributors to the painful income gap most creatives experience: relying on selling low-cost products via a LOT of marketing, especially social media. There isn't anything inherently wrong with that approach, if you love producing content for Instagram and marketing 24/7. But if you don’t? The best way out of that crunch is to design a high-ticket offer that you can sell to just a few clients. The number one thing I hear...

8 months ago • 1 min read
Share this post