The Autonomous Creative

How do they really do it?

So, are you just supposed to quit your dayjob? How do you actually make a living? Where do paying fans magically materialize from? Join Jessica Abel as she dives deep into the reality of life as a creative pro— the stuff no professional practice class ever really prepares you for.

Featuring cartoonists, writers, podcasters, small-press publishers, and creative professionals such as Tom Hart, Alexander Chee, Gene Luen Yang, C. Spike Trotman, Tomm Moore, and many more. Listen, learn, and collaborate with us to make something great.

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There's no magic creative career fairy

You've got the creative skills, and you've got the ideas. How do you translate that into actually building a sustainable career?

Enter The Autonomous Creative: A talk show where we dive deep into the unseen reality of what it means to be a professional creative and to build a life around creative work.

"Such an informative and enriching conversation!
– Crowdcast user APetty

  • Tom Hart
  • Alexander Chee
  • Robbi Behr & Matthew Swanson
  • C. Spike Trotman
  • Sarah Firth
  • Tomm Moore
  • Gene Luen Yang
  • And many more!

Don't wait to get discovered

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You've quietly invested years in the work that's most important to you.
Now find out how to get it into the hands of fans and paying customers—without selling out or setting yourself up for failure— with this free, on-demand masterclass.

If your best creative work is languishing unseen, you'll love finding out:

  • How building an audience can stop feeling excruciating and start feeling aligned, awesome, and even (dare we say it?) fun
  • Why you don't need to splash your whole life all over the internet to build an amazing fanbase
  • How to control your own message and impact
  • The one thing you need to do to make an impact on the world with your work

PLUS: Walk away with a brand new social media bio that will turn heads and make fans!

Browse by topic
All Podcast Episodes and Show Notes
how to finish your novel with alexander chee

How to finish writing your novel: don’t write for free, with Alexander Chee

Listen to the episode: If you haven’t finished writing your novel yet, you could lay the blame on any of a myriad of reasons. You’ve got too many commitments, your day job or freelance work sucks up all your time, you’ve got kids, a spouse, friends (never mind your own physical and mental health) competing…

When to (or not to) quit your day job with Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson

When to quit your day job (or when not to!), with Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson

Listen to the episode: Quitting your day job — That’s billed as the final frontier for artists. Proof of success. And if someone tells you not to? Generally an insult. But the reality of being a successful creative professional isn’t so black and white. Quitting your day job is a laudable goal (by all means,…

How to make a career out of art with Tom Hart

How to make a career out of art, with Tom Hart

Listen to the episode: It’s no secret—building a career with your creative practice is difficult. But for those of us who value autonomy, freedom, and making room for passion (and who doesn’t??) building a career out of art can feel like a necessity. My guest for this episode of The Autonomous Creative, Tom Hart, is…

Why being multi-passionate is your strength, with Sarah Firth

Why being a multi-passionate creative is your strength, with Sarah Firth

Listen to the episode: “What theories about myself and my creativity am I willing to test? Am I willing to fail?” Sarah Firth is an awesome cartoonist and graphic recorder, among many other things. Sarah takes a bit of a mad scientist approach to her creative life. She embraces experimentation and testing to try to…

The Autonomous Creative with Martha Rich

Navigating the midlife pivot to a creative career, with Martha Rich

Listen to the episode: Martha Rich is commercial and fine artist who took a long and circuitous route through many day jobs (Workman’s comp insurance. Hotel front desk clerk. Repo woman?) to pivot to an art career at the age of 37. Now Martha makes a full-time living as an artist making work that brings…