Fresh Take Friday: Doc Waller

FRESH TAKE FRIDAY IS A BI-MONTHLY SERIES SPOTLIGHTING CREATIVES OF COLOR AND THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON CREATIVITY, POSITIVITY AND GETTING SH*T DONE.

I'D LIKE TO PRESENT TO SOME AND INTRODUCE TO OTHERS, INSPIRATION ARCHITECT DOC WALLER.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DOC’S WORK, BE SURE TO FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM.

 Photo: Doc Waller

Photo: Doc Waller

You recently launched your newest platform called "Honor The Day" which once was known as "Becoming Possible." What inspired you to make the shift, and what have you learned about yourself and your creativity during this process? What did you require of yourself in order to make this transition, and what are some things (if any) did you have to let go in order to get to where you are currently?

DW: It’s odd to say this as someone who revels in the world of inspiration (and even calls himself an inspiration architect), but I don’t believe this move to a new platform/name was about being inspired at all. I think it was about acknowledging a necessity as a professional. I think it was a practical shift in my perspective as a creative entrepreneur, and realizing what kind of foundation my future creative objectives needed to be built upon. Before Becoming Possible my platform was called Getting Antigravity, and that came to me in a blood rush while listening to an Incubus song during a morning run. My transition to Honor The Day was much more stoic. That’s what happens (or should happen) to creative people as we get older, our inspiration graduates into a more mature movement. Our muse becomes more subtle and focused. Our decisions become more red wine than red bull.

Silence helped me discover the Honor The Day direction. I’ve largely been quiet since May of 2016 after leaving my old East Alabama downtown studio. I tried to make a few new creative moves earlier this year, but immediately felt a push-back in my gut; and I always trust my gut. That’s my superpower - trusting my gut at every turn. So, I got quiet again. I stopped absorbing so much. I stepped away from social, stopped watching so much of the creatives or companies that I admire, and just lived in my own head for a while. I think creatives (and people in general) underestimate just how strong the influence of the content/visuals/media we scroll through everyday has on our psyche. We become mimics rather than authentic creatives. We start thinking and creating in these super common parallels that don’t allow us to establish or develop our own professional visions. We become the Stepford entrepreneurs/creatives, and I just didn’t want to fall a victim to that.

All in all, this new wrinkle of mine, is just me waking up to the impact and scope I want my platform to have over the next few years. I have a very bold vision of creating one the most embraced media and product lifestyle platforms in the world. Honor The Day is the new skin I’m living in to make that happen.

 

From serving in our country in the Air Force to working in theater to running your own nonprofit organization, your career spans a variety of incredible experiences. How have they each shaped your creativity? For creatives who may feel stuck in a particular career path, what advice do you have for them in order to overcome any adversity they may be facing professionally?

DW: At 35, the one thing I’m probably most thankful for is my background. Yes, I’ve been lucky (and diligent) enough to have lived through a rather unique variety of experiences via the directions I’ve chosen to take. That said, the one thing that stands out in each of them - is the people and interactions. The people and interactions, alone, have shaped me more as a creative (and just a person) than anything else. I think it’s the ability to observe personalities and process conversations that can add valuable layers to a person’s creative potential. I’ve always been rabidly intentional about getting new layers by 1) being present in these moments/interactions, or 2) taking time to process the memories of these moments/interactions in retrospect. I love my layers, and can mentally pinpoint the personal moments and conversations from which they came. These layers help me creatively through storytelling, and knowing how people process words/imagery, and understanding how content and an articulated perspective works with human emotion.

As far as creatives feeling stuck in a career path - it’s very simple. You’re either afraid to sink or you’re not. And the reason creatives (or people in general) are afraid to sink in their ambitions/pursuits is because they’ve been taught to fear it. They’ve either been conditioned by their families to fear the scorn of falling short on their dreams, or they’re currently surrounded by a batch of gutless friends/colleagues who haven’t experienced following their own hearts and can’t offer any valuable encouragement to that end. There are those rare people who don’t need reinforcement from others, but most people need to be in a positive environment to make the bold decision to switch career paths. The sad truth is, later in life, most people will come to realize that sinking was never the thing to fear, and that the personal scorn of [not attempting] is heavier than any opinion anyone else could have laid on them.

 Photo: Doc Waller

Photo: Doc Waller

In a 'perfect' world, what does a day of productivity look like to you? What tools are you using to get sh*t done, and what are major distractions you do you best to avoid?

DW: Simply put, a day of productivity is when I give myself something to be excited or scared to do tomorrow. Period.

My new favorite tool is Milanote. I love it because it works like my brain works. I’d also be nothing with my Adobe Creative Cloud & Google Drive subscriptions. The following aren’t exactly tools, but also are my must-haves:

  • I’m constantly on Siteinspire, because knowing what’s stellar in web design is just essential.
  • Also, any creative or business person who isn’t keeping up with Webby Award winners and nominees is losing out.
  • Lastly, creative professionals should constantly be watching interviews from people who are doing great work in their field.

When you find yourself in a rut, (emotionally or creatively) what are some things that you do change your mood? Who (or what) do you turn to for encouragement, and how do you persevere, even when you may want to remain stuck in your feelings?

DW: Running is my saving grace. Putting on a pair of sneakers, throwing my headphones on, and hitting the road - always does it for me. There, honestly, is nothing more freeing than endorphins. Honorable mentions are dancing, listening to jazz, and cooking.

How would you describe your 'fresh take' on creativity? What keeps you inspired to develop new ideas and collaborate with other creatives?

DW: To be honest, as of late, my fresh take on creativity is the desire and obligation to counterbalance the infinite amount of sensational garbage content being pushed in front of our eyes on a daily basis. We’re becoming both lazy and less critical as to the quality of what we consume daily. I’m not talking about fictional/scripted content (ex: Netflix). There’s some great work being done on that end. I mean the low-brow, casual content (mainly coming from personalities and internet platforms) that reflects society and the real-world human experience. It’s more farce, and drama, and negativity - than any real value. We are a society that is deteriorating by way of ruinous content consumption. Our diets are made up of crap. As a modern creative, I want to serve good food that nourishes and manufactures good humans.