How to Be Creative :: Sections 5/6

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 summarize the main point of the today’s section. 

Summarize the main point of the article.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

Nobody can tell you if what youʼre doing is good, meaningful or worthwhile. The more compelling the path, the lonelier it is.

Every creative person is looking for “The Big Idea.” You know, the one that is going to catapult them out from the murky depths of obscurity and on to the highest planes of incandescent lucidity.

The one thatʼs all love-at-first-sight with the Zeitgeist.

The one thatʼs going to get them invited to all the right parties, metaphorical or otherwise.

So naturally you ask yourself, if and when you finally come up with The Big Idea, after years of toil, struggle and doubt, how do you know whether or not it is “The One?”

Answer: You donʼt.

Thereʼs no glorious swelling of existential triumph. Thatʼs not what happens.

All you get is this rather kvetchy voice inside you that seems to say, “This is totally stupid. This is utterly moronic. This is a complete waste of time. Iʼm going to do it anyway.”

And you go do it anyway.

Second-rate ideas like glorious swellings far more. Keeps them alive longer.

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.

Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, “Iʼd like my crayons back, please.”

So youʼve got the itch to do something. Write a screenplay, start a painting, write a book, turn your recipe for fudge brownies into a proper business, whatever. You donʼt know where the itch came from; itʼs almost like it just arrived on your doorstep, uninvited. Until now you were quite happy holding down a real job, being a regular person…Until now.

You donʼt know if youʼre any good or not, but youʼd think you could be. And the idea terrifies you. The problem is, even if you are good, you know nothing about this kind of business. You donʼt know any publishers or agents or all these fancy-shmancy kind of folk. You have a friend whoʼs got a cousin in California whoʼs into this kind of stuff, but you havenʼt talked to your friend for over two years…

Besides, if you write a book, what if you canʼt find a publisher? If you write a screenplay, what if you canʼt find a producer? And what if the producer turns out to be a crook? Youʼve always worked hard your whole life; youʼll be damned if youʼll put all that effort into something if there ainʼt no pot of gold at the end of this dumb-ass rainbow…

Heh. Thatʼs not your wee voice asking for the crayons back. Thatʼs your outer voice, your adult voice, your boring and tedious voice trying to find a way to get the wee crayon voice to shut the hell up.

They’re only crayons. You didn’t fear them in kindergarten, why fear them now?

Your wee voice doesnʼt want you to sell something. Your wee voice wants you to make something. Thereʼs a big difference. Your wee voice doesnʼt give a damn about publishers or Hollywood producers.

Go ahead and make something. Make something really special. Make something amazing that will really blow the mind of anybody who sees it.

If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.

The wee voice didnʼt show up because it decided you need more money or you need to hang out with movie stars. Your wee voice came back because your soul somehow depends on it. Thereʼs something you havenʼt said, something you havenʼt done, some light that needs to be switched on, and it needs to be taken care of. Now.

So you have to listen to the wee voice or it will die…taking a big chunk of you along with it.

Theyʼre only crayons. You didnʼt fear them in kindergarten, why fear them now?

5 Comments

  1. What this means to me is that, no one can tell you what you are good at. Yeah, its true that everyone have their own opinion but at the end of the day, your the only person that knows what you can actually do. This section make me feel as though we were born with an imagination and to be creative. So we have to use it. Its never bad to express your feelings through some crayons and a piece of paper.

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  2. What can be learned from this section is that never reject your ideas because of fear. Mainly this is shown when he talks about how your adult voice instills fear in your creative voice and that next best idea is on a path of loneliness. This means that your outside fears are what are stopping you from bringing your ideas on to paper. It also shows that your next great ideas are the ones you fear most to put out. So, at the end of the day you decide whether the idea is worthy of being put on paper, nobody else.

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  3. To me, these sections means that you are responsible for what you learn and what you create and that you are born creative and with an imagination. You’re responsible for what you take in because you as a person need to know what you’re doing and what you’re learning/creating. You’re born with an imagination, which means you can create anything you put your mind too; so you shouldn’t need anyone to tell you have to create something.

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  4. How to be creative means thinking of a idea and putting it down on paper because to make something you have to draw it and plan it. Don’t be afraid to express your idea on paper, nobody can tell you its wrong or right you have to decide and make it a thing.

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