Visual I.D.E.A.s: The simple shift in my thinking that got me started posting online

In this issue: friendly reminders, the creative gap, growing not grown, and why Derek Sivers is one of my favorite authors.


A large portion of the visuals I create are “Friendly Reminders” to not only the people who support my work, but to myself. They echo ideas we know to be true, but are lost in the noise of everyday distractions.

This piece highlights the 3 areas in Milani Creative I’m focusing on in 2024.

What are you hoping to do less of (more of) this year?


Today’s design tip is more of an encouragement.

An encouragement to remember—we all start somewhere.

For all the aspiring writers, artists, and creators out there: I’d like to share one of my favorite pieces on the creative struggle from the creator of “This American Life” podcast, Ira Glass:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners…

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap.

For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good.

It’s trying to be good.
It has potential.
But it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.
And your taste is why your work disappoints you.

A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit…We all go through this.

And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

— Ira Glass

Which inspired this:

I’d highly recommend listening to the full quote (it’s short) and watching this beautiful short film that visualizes it. I show it to all my high school students who want to step into the creative arena to do battle!


The growth mindset is an infinite game.


In many ways, this visual is connected to “The Gap” idea above.

I procrastinated posting online for over a decade. I kept thinking I’d get started as soon as I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And I didn’t want to post “crap.” I wanted my stuff to be good!

Turns out…this was a great strategy to get older, but not wiser.

I didn’t do anything—for literally over a decade! Because the sad truth was I had no idea what “good” was and what “crap” was.

But then I read a book by Derek Sivers called “Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur.”

And I came across the following excerpt:

“If you want to be useful, you can always start now, with only 1 percent of what you have in your grand vision.

It'll be a humble prototype version of your grand vision, but you'll be in the game.

You'll be ahead of the rest, because you actually started, while others are waiting for the finish line to magically appear at the starting line.“

-Derek Sivers

This one idea became my action manifesto.

Take the small bet version before putting all your chips on the table.

Test first, double down what works.

It lifted the paralysis that kept me from progressing…for over a decade!


I’ve had different versions of this aspirational illustration in my head for over a year and finally landed on a way to communicate it.


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