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.

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?

Why We Fight!

We don’t just fight for survival, we fight for meaning and self-worth. We want to know why we’re here, and we want to know that we matter. Life is a quest for truth. We’re all waiting for life (or death) to reveal something to us. We’re waiting for the truth to reveal itself.

Even if you believe that Jesus is the truth or that a particular religion represents the truth, your knowledge of truth is still incomplete. Questions remain. The ultimate truth is a mystery. Life teaches us more about it, if we remain open, but it’s still just a shadow. Like Plato’s cave or Paul’s “dim mirror“.

Our disagreements are a way of trying to call forth the truth, and a way of expressing our frustrations about it. Sometimes we express it in constructive ways and sometimes in destructive ways. The destructive way, is a result of lying to ourselves about the best way to express it.

Author(s). “Why do we fight.” LivingWithConidence.net. Sent by Medium, 799 Market Street, 5th floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.