I worked either out of my apartment in L.A. or from a cafe. I tried to keep an 90/10 split between creative generation and admin work. I got my best work done in the morning, so in the afternoon I would go for a hike or hang out at the bookstore across the street. I found that I was always working, though – I got inspiration for projects from signs around my neighborhood, conversations, art books, or from song lyrics…anything really.
Wynne Renz is a writer, namer, and copywriter. With her company NŌM, she has worked for over a dozen independent clients and advertising and branding agencies. Wynne has provided creative work to HBO’s Girls, Ubisoft, Discovery Channel, Planet Green, TLC, Animal Planet, and PBS. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, Nobody Loves Nobody; and she co-wrote the feature film, Bedrooms, which aired on Showtime Networks. Wynne lives in Brooklyn, New York.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on a novel.
Where did the idea for NŌM come from?
One of my former clients suggested I start it. It was also inspired by a friend’s naming company: In addition to naming, she also curates art shows, hosts film festivals, and publishes books under her company’s moniker. I’d been thinking about starting a “creative entity” since I’d started as a freelancer, so forming the company was a logical progression.
How do you make money?
I no longer do NŌM full time, so I don’t make any money with it currently. When I was working, I had different pricing structures grouped by client type and project needs. I charged by the hour or by the day, depending on the client, the needs of the client and my availability.
What does your typical day look like?
I worked either out of my apartment in L.A. or from a cafe. I tried to keep a 90/10 split between creative generation and admin work. I got my best work done in the morning, so in the afternoon I would go for a hike or hang out at the bookstore across the street. I found that I was always working, though – I got inspiration for projects from signs around my neighborhood, conversations, art books, or from song lyrics…anything really.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I write fiction longhand, then put that longhand scribble into Word, print it out, and circle lines or passages that I want to push further. I then take that material and write longhand again from there. I repeat this process until I feel like I’ve fully fleshed out an idea or scene. I don’t start writing a script until I have a solid outline, and I work scene by scene off of notecards. Poetry usually starts with a single line and is revised until I feel like the rhythm and concept is complete. I read everything aloud, acting out the characters. With naming and copywriting, it’s hard to say – every project is so different, so my approach is never the same.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Minimalist living. I find having less material things allows me to focus on what really matters to me.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked as an assistant for a production company. This wasn’t a “bad” job by any means, it just wasn’t the right job for me. I remember making two columns on a piece of paper: Writer or Development Executive (as these were the two paths I was working towards at that time) and writing what I liked about each, trying to figure out which path I wanted to focus on. Obviously, one eventually won out.
From this job, and other experiences, I’ve learned that I don’t have to do something just because it is an “opportunity”; I will only be successful in the things that align with my larger goals and personal values.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I’d have engaged designers and art directors at the very beginning. NŌM started as a naming company–then grew into naming and copywriting–but I always intended it to operate as a full creative house. If I’d engaged designers at the outset, I would have been able to have a more robust catalog of deliverables. My goal was to grow the company enough to hire other creatives.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I try to never have a “process” and to approach every client project differently.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I underestimated my prospective client base. I offered services for the clients I currently had versus the ones that might walk in the door. I remember thinking, “What business isn’t prepared for all its clients, present and future?” So, I adjusted my services, and when those clients showed up, I was ready to work with them.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Kickstarter for college tuition. (Though by the time this is published, I’m sure that will already have been done!)
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
The homogenization of cities. I try to buy from independent businesses that are unique to NYC; when I travel, I try do the same with those cities.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I love to draw and seriously considered becoming an illustrator.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
The David Foster Wallace Audio Project – Anthology of audio interviews with writer David Foster Wallace. A solid dose of literary-philosophy.
Paris Review interviews – I learn a lot from other writers; these interviews are a great source of inspiration and encouragement.
Marc Maron WTF Podcast – Interviews with pretty much all of my favorite comics and musicians.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Gift by Lewis Hyde. A thoughtful read for anyone who combines creativity and commerce.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I don’t use Twitter, but I recently visited Louis C.K.‘s account while watching a stand up special of his. I noticed he had millions of followers, but he only followed one person: Colin Quinn. Which is pretty romantic–or arrogant–depending on how you look at it.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
A couple of weekends ago. I was listening to Maria Bamford’s stand up album, Ask Me About My New God.
Who is your hero, and why?
The writer Roald Dahl was always my childhood hero. I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was about six or seven, and he was first the author I recognized as a writer-writer, as he wrote books for both children and adults. His books never made me feel marginalized as a child, which some children’s books are capable of doing.
Right now my “hero” isn’t anyone famous or known per say. Honestly, I’m really just in awe of people. I’m impressed that we all get up and do it every day. I admire my family, friends, colleagues–people who showcase a lot of courage and authenticity. I’d say my heroes are people who have encouraged me and believed in my writing over the years – people like my parents, members of Lab Twenty6 (a writer’s lab I was in in L.A.), and my literary manager.
What project have you always wanted to do?
Write and direct theater.
What’s one thing about you that’s helped you be successful?
I think I have a healthy balance of rational thinking and optimistic thinking, which allows me to know what it will take to achieve a certain goal and to stay excited about it in the process. I think if I was too rational, I wouldn’t be able to think of possibilities; and if I was too optimistic…well, that wouldn’t be that bad, actually!