How to Be Creative :: Sections 25/26

MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative.

Read the sections from Mr. MacLeod’s manifesto on how to be creative. Then meditate on what you read and post your own, well crafted reply about what you have learned from the two sections, highlight some key words & post any questions you may have.

Blog about: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED? MAIN IDEAS/KEY WORDS/QUESTIONS, etc.

25.You have to find your own shtick.

A Picasso always looks like Picasso painted it. Hemingway always sounds like Hemingway. A Beethoven Symphony always sounds like a Beethovenʼs Symphony. Part of being a Master is learning how to sing in nobody elseʼs voice but your own.

Every artist is looking for their big, definitive “Ah-Ha!” moment, whether theyʼre a Master or not.

That moment where they finally find their true voice, once and for all.

For me, it was when I discovered drawing on the back of business cards.

Other, more famous and notable examples would be Jackson Pollack discovering splatter paint. Or Robert Ryman discovering all-white canvases. Andy Warhol discovering silkscreen. Hunter S. Thompson discovering Gonzo Journalism. Duchamp discovering the Found Object. Jasper Johns discovering the American Flag. Hemingway discovering brevity. James Joyce discovering stream-of-consciousness prose.

Every artist is looking for their big, definitive “Ah-Ha!” moment, whether they’re a Master or not.

Was it luck? Perhaps a little bit.

But it wasnʼt the format that made the art great. It was the fact that somehow while playing  around with something new, suddenly they found themselves able to put their entire selves into it.

Only then did it become their ʻshtick,ʼ their true voice, etc.

Thatʼs what people responded to. The humanity, not the form. The voice, not the form.

Put your whole self into it, and you will find your true voice. Hold back and you wonʼt. Itʼs that simple.

26. Write from the heart.

There is no silver bullet. There is only the love God gave you.

As a professional writer, I am interested in how conversation scales.

How communication scales, x to the power of n etc etc.

Ideally, if youʼre in the communication business, you want to say the same thing, the same way to an audience of millions that you would to an audience of one. Imagine the power youʼd have if you could pull it off.

But sadly, it doesnʼt work that way.

You canʼt love a crowd the same way you can love a person.

And a crowd canʼt love you the way a single person can love you.

Intimacy doesnʼt scale. Not really. Intimacy is a one-on-one phenomenon.

Itʼs not a big deal. Whether youʼre writing to an audience of one, five, a thousand, a million, ten million, thereʼs really only one way to really connect. One way that actually works: Write from the heart.