[This is my latest rewrite of “How to Be Creative” [Older version is here]. 12,000 or so words, plus lots of cartoons. The book’s text will be quite short, divided into four parts, but there will be plenty of cartoons to look at, between 150-300 of them. The book proposal is here.]
“So you want to be more creative, in art, in business, whatever. Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years.”
PART ONE: AN INTRODUCTION, OF SORTS.
Before we get started, three points:
1. “Creative” is one of those annoying words that means little, simply because it means so many different things to different people. I make no claim to have a better definition of “creative” than anyone else.
The best working definition of creative I have is “When work and play become the same thing”.
When that happens, you’re in flow. When you’re in flow, things are created.
Perhaps there are better definitions of “creative” out there. Does it matter? Not really. What matters is that you find your own definition. You don’t need mine. I don’t need yours.
2. The creative drive is like the sex drive. We all have it, and because what we do on this earth affects other people, we have to be careful what we do with it. Because to use it unwisely can screw up your life.
I am not here to tell you how to be more creative than you already are. God/The Universe/Whatever made you creative, just like he/she/it made all of us. Tapping into it is a personal journey- other people can only help you so much. That being said, I think once you’ve gotten the itch to do something creative, there are a lot of land mines and pitfalls that are best avoided. All I can do is tell you what has worked for me over time.
I used to associate “creativity” with all that youth-generated sexy stuff: fun, glamorous jobs, being hip, being artisitic and meeting women. As I get older and I see how the world is changing away from the Big Media Industrial Complex towards something much more personal, complicated and fractal, I start equating it more with mass economic survival.
3. Quitting your job at the phone company to become a musician is no different than quitting your job at the phone company to start your own accountancy firm. It’s just the human spirit trying to better itself. The difference between art and commerce is artificial. What matters is not what individual path you have chosen, but that you stay on it; that you become the person you were born to be.
PART TWO: “HOW TO BE CREATIVE”:
So you want to be more creative, in art, in business, whatever. Here are some tips that have worked for me over the years:
1. Ignore everybody.
The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you. When I first started with the biz card format, people thought I was nuts. Why wasn’t I trying to do something more easy for markets to digest i.e. cutey-pie greeting cards or whatever?
2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change the world.
The two are not the same thing.
3. Put the hours in.
Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort and stamina.
4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.
5. You are responsible for your own experience.
Nobody can tell you if what you’re doing is good, meaningful or worthwhile. The more compelling the path, the more lonely it is.
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, “I