July 25, 2004

how to be creative


[BIG NEWS: "How To Be Creative" will be coming out as a hardcover book in June, 2009. Titled "Ignore Everybody", you can find out more details 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:

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�d like my crayons back, please."


7. Keep your day job.

I�m not just saying that for the usual reason i.e. because I think your idea will fail. I�m saying it because to suddenly quit one�s job in a big ol' creative drama-queen moment is always, always, always in direct conflict with what I call �The Sex & Cash Theory�.

8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.

Nor can you bully a subordinate into becoming a genius.


9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don't make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.


10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me. Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me.


11. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.

Your plan for getting your work out there has to be as original as the actual work, perhaps even more so. The work has to create a totally new market. There's no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one.


12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

The pain of making the necessary sacrifices always hurts more than you think it's going to. I know. It sucks. That being said, doing something seriously creative is one of the most amazing experiences one can have, in this or any other lifetime. If you can pull it off, it's worth it. Even if you don't end up pulling it off, you'll learn many incredible, magical, valuable things. It's NOT doing it when you know you full well you HAD the opportunity- that hurts FAR more than any failure.


13. Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.

The more you practice your craft, the less you confuse worldly rewards with spiritual rewards, and vice versa. Even if your path never makes any money or furthers your career, that's still worth a TON.


14. Dying young is overrated.

I've seen so many young people take the "Gotta do the drugs and booze thing to make me a better artist" route over the years. A choice that was neither effective, healthy, smart, original or ended happily.


15. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

Art suffers the moment other people start paying for it. The more you need the money, the more people will tell you what to do. The less control you will have. The more bullshit you will have to swallow. The less joy it will bring. Know this and plan accordingly.


16. The world is changing.

Some people are hip to it, others are not. If you want to be able to afford groceries in 5 years, I'd recommend listening closely to the former and avoiding the latter. Just my two cents.


17. Merit can be bought. Passion can't.

The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.


18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

They�re a well-meaning bunch, but they get in the way eventually.


19. Sing in your own voice.

Piccasso was a terrible colorist. Turner couldn't paint human beings worth a damn. Saul Steinberg's formal drafting skills were appalling. TS Eliot had a full-time day job. Henry Miller was a wildly uneven writer. Bob Dylan can't sing or play guitar.


20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

Every media's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Every form of media is a set of fundematal compromises, one is not "higher" than the other. A painting doesn't do much, it just sits there on a wall. That's the best and worst thing thing about it. Film combines sound, photography, music, acting. That's the best and worst thing thing about it. Prose just uses words arranged in linear form to get its point across. That's the best and worst thing thing about it etc.


21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

Diluting your product to make it more "commercial" will just make people like it less.
Many years ago, barely out of college, I started schlepping around the ad agencies, looking for my first job.


22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

Everybody is too busy with their own lives to give a damn about your book, painting, screenplay etc, especially if you haven't sold it yet. And the ones that aren't, you don't want in your life anyway.


23. Worrying about "Commercial vs. Artistic" is a complete waste of time.

You can argue about "the shameful state of American Letters" till the cows come home. They were kvetching about it in 1950, they'll be kvetching about it in 2050.
It's a path well-trodden, and not a place where one is going to come up with many new, earth-shattering insights.


24. Don�t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

Inspiration precedes the desire to create, not the other way around.


25. You have to find your own schtick.

A Picasso always looks like Piccasso painted it. Hemingway always sounds like Hemingway. A Beethoven Symphony always sounds like a Beethoven's Syynphony. Part of being a master is learning how to sing in nobody else's voice but your own.


26. Write from the heart.

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


27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.

This is equally true in art and business. And love. And sex. And just about everything else worth having.


28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

People who are "ready" give off a different vibe than people who aren't. Animals can smell fear; maybe that's it.


29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.

Selling out to Hollywood comes with a price. So does not selling out. Either way, you pay in full, and yes, it invariably hurts like hell.


30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.

If you have the creative urge, it isn't going to go away. But sometimes it takes a while before you accept the fact.


Posted by hugh macleod at July 25, 2004 10:52 PM | TrackBack

Really, really, really, like this thread! ...Thank you.

Posted by: Ben Smith at July 26, 2004 4:59 AM

Agreed. And I agree with most of what's listed here. Judging yourself according to the goals of others is a pretty shallow way to chase happiness.

Posted by: Justin Kownacki at July 26, 2004 10:11 PM

Bravo...these are all great, and spot-on. I used to work in the art dept. of a computer game developer, and watched the creative process (both in an individual and group context) suffer terribly from many of the problems you've listed.

I humbly submit one of my own:

Excessive negative critcism does not equal creativity.

Savaging someone else's creative efforts does not elevate your own creative status. It doesn't matter how eloquently you run down someone else's work- if you can't generate something worthwhile yourself, then no amount of critcism of other's efforts will result in respect for YOUR work.

Posted by: Craiger at July 26, 2004 10:54 PM

Hugh: Fantastic list. Really spot-on. So, ummm, why do you need to be a millionaire? I mean, is making art satisfaction enough? And, if you were a millionaire, would you be MORE creative?

Aside from not having to work for someone you don't like, being able to travel, not having to worry about not being able to afford something, and removing fears about the security of the people you love, what would being a millionaire buy you? Alain de Botton points out that, in most Western societies, the fear of ending up penniless never goes away. So you'd still be anxious--albeit a nattily-clothed, well-fed, well-sheltered neurotic.

Posted by: Jerry at July 27, 2004 11:59 AM

Amen, brotha...

Posted by: Watson at July 27, 2004 11:46 PM

Craiger, thanks for the tip. It informed # 8.

Jerry, I never said I wanted to be a millionaire. The guy in the cartoon did ;-)

Thanks for the feeback, Everyone. Please, keep it coming =)

Posted by: hugh macleod at July 28, 2004 1:56 AM

Hugh! Bloody brilliant post! I couldn't agree more.

I think you need to add something about not judging your first attempt by other people's finished thing.

Over and again I talk to people (usually writers) who struggle with the fact that their first draft is 'crap' - they compare it to the work of their favourite author without ever realising that their favourite author wrote crap first time round too. The first draft is not the last draft, but may creatives expect to produce instant works of genius, without ever putting in the practice to refine and develop their skills.

It's the 80-20 rule again - 80% of everything you do will be crap, but you have to do it in order to get at the 20% that is worthwhile. And there's no way round that - you can't skip straight to the 20%.

Posted by: Suw at July 28, 2004 8:36 AM

Hugh, I've been silently enjoying your humour and insights on Gaping Void for a while now, and I must say this list is a brilliant one!

I have seen many people fall into pitfalls in how they value their own carreers in respect to creativity. I've been known to plunge in a few of them myself. Reading this list just reminded me of a few things about myself which will help in an almost taken decision on a carreer change. Thanks for the reminder!

Now where did I put those crayons? ...and where are my climbing shoes?!

Posted by: Ali at July 28, 2004 12:17 PM

i love #9, but #10 freaks me out a little. which may be your point. but personally i prefer "the greater the gift, the more likely you are psychotic."

Posted by: cynthia at July 28, 2004 2:08 PM

Cynthia, since your post I've re-edited and re-numbered them. So your last post will no longer make sense. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I decided to keep the list down to twelve. Focus etc.

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 1, 2004 12:30 AM

These can apply to anything. It doesn't have to just be business. I'm in a tough spot right now in my personal life and reading this list is a good reminder that i need to continue doing what i believe in. That as long as i don't give up, and continue doing things with my own twist I'll come out a winner. The outcome may not be what i origionally expected or hoped for, but I will know that I never compramised what i beleive in, and the end can only make me stronger for that.

Maybe i'm taking more away from this list then what is really here but it got me thinking so thank you.

Posted by: troyb at August 1, 2004 6:33 AM

No worries, Troy =)

And yes, it applies to more than just business ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 1, 2004 11:10 AM

Great! Inspiring! True!

Posted by: thestruk at August 1, 2004 4:03 PM

Some ideas that help me.

1. Know what you know; know what you don't know; and know who knows what you don't know.

2. Inspirational dissatsifaction. Thanks to the late Bob Neuschel for this one.

3. Insatiable curiosity: what, why, when, how, where, and who everything.

4. Embrace risk as a progenitor of freedom.

Posted by: James Drogan at August 1, 2004 4:53 PM


Posted by: kamylyon at August 1, 2004 5:01 PM

I found this in the LiveJournal of a friend. It's great! My favorite is #9. That applies to everybody, artist or not.

Posted by: AMB at August 1, 2004 5:39 PM

My comment: DO NOT create to impress your peers. If that's your audience, you're wasting energy.

Posted by: Dave Bush at August 1, 2004 5:39 PM

Hugh - I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on inspiration. Where do you go to find it? Do you actively seek it out? When does it become a hinderance (if it does)? Actually if anyone wants to chime in on these...

Posted by: John at August 1, 2004 6:24 PM

Hugh - I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on inspiration. Where do you go to find it? Do you actively seek it out? When does it become a hinderance (if it does)? Actually if anyone wants to chime in on these...

Posted by: John at August 1, 2004 6:26 PM

#10, heh. Absolutely. Though, I'll tell you something: if I met someone who'd written a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu, I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out he or she had real strong opinions about which deli menus were the best to write on!

Posted by: Brent at August 1, 2004 6:43 PM

Awesome, and so true. I would also add the theory of "baby steps", that if you want to be a writer, start with short stories or essays instead of beginning a novel that you'll never finish. I think it goes hand-in-hand with the sex/cash thing -- it's too easy to say "I'm working on a novel" and shield yourself from feedback and criticism for years.

Posted by: condour at August 1, 2004 7:24 PM

Awesome, and so true. I would also add the theory of "baby steps", that if you want to be a writer, start with short stories or essays instead of beginning a novel that you'll never finish. I think it goes hand-in-hand with the sex/cash thing -- it's too easy to say "I'm working on a novel" and shield yourself from feedback and criticism for years. Same for movies, art, games, what-have-you.

Posted by: condour at August 1, 2004 7:25 PM

creativity and cash are virtually mutually exclusive.you can draw with a stick(free)in dirt(also free).mind you..... money gets the hounds off your tail for a bit and a lot of cash will make the process permenant.
great list.and yes we are all great creators.that`s how we got here in the first place.an interesting book i read recently called "artists,craftsmen and technocrats" shed some light on the plight of the artist in society and corporations in specific.the author`s name escapes me.

Posted by: alistair at August 1, 2004 7:44 PM


Posted by: ratso at August 1, 2004 7:55 PM

Brilliant put!!!!

Posted by: Cathy at August 1, 2004 8:59 PM

Brilliant put!!!!

Posted by: Cathy at August 1, 2004 9:00 PM

Great.. very true.

I'd also add something along these lines:

Being creative in any field will help you to be creative in all fields.

Posted by: Jim at August 1, 2004 9:35 PM

i like this thread as well. nice tone. i'll add:

* make your own tools - chances are thing things you need to reach your potiential have yet to be invented. inventing them on the path to realizing your dream is part of the journey - and the reward.

* friends. you'll get by with a little help from them. that doesn't mean you have to listen to them when they think your idea sucks, but having them there to fill in the gaps in your thinking/piss you off/frustrate you enough to keep working, get your ideas out of your head, etc is great feedback.

*make mistakes. learn from them. use what you learned to make twice as many mistakes in half the time. repeat.

*stop what you are doing. go join the fire department, work in a day care facility, take a non white collar temp job (if you have a white collar one now), join a random club or organization. pick up an instrument you know nothing about. make horrible noises with it, especially if that instrument is your own voice. talk to strangers. pick up trash. volunteer at a hospital or youth mentor organization. take a long walk with a relative and actaully talk to them. see bad movies, live performances, and expensive art - get frustrated and make a plan to create something that you would rather see. get on your knees and play make-believe with a preschooler or younger age child - forget what you know. learn to be something other then you are right now.

*publish or perish - keeping all your creativity to yourself is boring. output output output. show and tell. share and collaborate. make whatever you do available for others to enjoy, work off of, and be inspired by. know that whatever you do is already copyrighted and is not to worry about. don't be afraid to embrace creativecommons.com licenses. think of your art as a gift you have been asked to give to someone else.

Posted by: sean at August 1, 2004 9:43 PM

(continued...and slightly off topic, apologies)

Also, while I think about it...I like to think that to really make the most out of any work that I do, it needs to involve three things in roughly equal proportions:

1. Creativity
2. Social benefit
3. Personal reward (money, status, reputation etc)

If I can get all three, then I'm more likely to enjoy the work and be successful in it.

Posted by: Jim at August 1, 2004 9:44 PM

Holy shit man... I don't know if you realize this, but you may have just saved my life.

Posted by: Will Felix at August 1, 2004 9:48 PM

Thanks for all the feedback, Everybody =)

Man, it'll take me weeks to absorb all of it properly... but I'll try to blog as much of it as I can later.

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 1, 2004 10:04 PM

A couple of my own... (from a writer)

# Done is good.
Whatever it is, get it done. A finished production is it's own reward. Call it complete and move on.

# 1000 words a day.
Without a daily quota, nothing realistic happens.

# Never settle for 'good enough'. Do your utter, complete best.

Realistically, the competition is all the great stuff out there that the Internet makes available for free and easy.

Posted by: Tony at August 1, 2004 10:30 PM

Great great great stuff!

Check out my site if you get a chance - http://www.andertoons.com

Posted by: Mark Anderson at August 1, 2004 11:22 PM

'Pay Attention'

Failure to do so triggers ugly cascades.


Posted by: Kaden at August 1, 2004 11:29 PM

I just want to give props to my main man Hugh Macleod. Word up dog!

Posted by: shizzle at August 2, 2004 2:04 AM

Wonderful words - I'll be printing these out for my desk at work (and at home!)

Posted by: Jason at August 2, 2004 2:26 AM

Outstanding...keep up the good work!

Posted by: jeff at August 2, 2004 3:01 AM

Hemingway is said to have said "There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing". And that feels so true of all creative endeavours.

Posted by: Terence at August 2, 2004 3:48 AM

Thank you. Really.

Posted by: Julie at August 2, 2004 4:07 AM

13. Listen to the music of Ween.

Posted by: js at August 2, 2004 4:17 AM

13. Listen to the music of Ween.

Posted by: js at August 2, 2004 4:18 AM

I love this thread. Not just the way it encapsulates so many good ideas but also the sense in which it is a 'living' thing, none of these ideas are 'finished', just staring points for even further thought. Brilliant post!

Posted by: Faith at August 2, 2004 8:14 AM

Great, but -- Is there any way to get this as one whole document rather than 12 separate ones?

Posted by: M o I at August 2, 2004 8:54 AM

Great, but -- Is there any way to get this as one whole document rather than 12 separate ones?

Posted by: M o I at August 2, 2004 8:55 AM

Great, but -- is there any way to get it as one whole document rather than 12 separate ones?

Posted by: Moi at August 2, 2004 8:57 AM

My apologies, Firefox kept timing out on me. ((dies of embarrassment))

Posted by: Moi at August 2, 2004 8:59 AM

i love this - very insightful!!

Posted by: Jem at August 2, 2004 9:52 AM

Many thanks for the frank kick in the ass I needed. I'd like your permission to print it large and put it on my studio wall.

Posted by: yoga at August 2, 2004 12:52 PM

I find it interesting that you couple pain and suffering as a requirement for creative breakthrough. I have to agree, based on observation that the most creative people I know are ugly or socially disfunctional in some way (and thus probably experience a lot of involuntary time away from crowds, joy, companionship, comfort) and create as a way to escape that.

How many artists do you know that peaked and fizzled away their talent after they got happy?

Posted by: Horrible at August 2, 2004 3:30 PM

Ive interpreted your aphoristic dozen in quotations. I'm glad I found your site.

1. "When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new." Emerson

2. Years and years to waken from that sleep in which the others loll; then years and years to escape that awakening. E. M. Corian (The Trouble with Being Born 1973)

3. I have less need of company than of furiously hard work, and that is why I am boldly ordering canvas and paints. It's the only time I feel I am alive, when I am drudging away at my work. Vincent van Gogh (letter to Theo van Gogh, 1888)

4. Success is more of a process than an event. Napoleon Hill

5. To you, bold explorers, experimenters, and whoso embarketh with cunning sails on terrible seas To you that delights in riddles, thy love of twilight, whose soul is lured as by flutes to every labyrinth (For ye love not with coward hand to grope your way by a thread; and where ye can divine ye scorn to deduce.) To you alone I tell this riddle that I saw a vision of the lonliest one.... Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathrusta 1891)

7. We have first to win fame elsewhere before we go to court. Cervantes ("The Adventures of Don Quixote" 1604)

8. Talent likes to be flattered. Napoleon

9. Hell begins on the day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts which we have wasted, of all that we might have done which we did not do. Gian-Carlo Menotti

10. The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs. G. K. Chesterton

11. If you decide to wage a war for the total triumph of your individuality, you must begin by inexorably destroying those who have the greatest affinity with you. All alliance depersonalizes; everything that tends to the collective is your death; use the collective, therefore, as an experiment, after which strike hard, and remain alone! Salvador Dali (The Secret Life of Salvador Dali 1942)

12. In the fullness of artistic life there is, and remains, and will always come back at times, that homesick longing for the truly ideal life that can never come true. And sometimes you lack all desire to throw yourself heart and soul into art, and to get well for that. You know you are a cab horse and that it's the same old cab you'll be hitched up to again: that you'd rather live in a meadow with the sun, a river and other horses for company, likewise free, and the act of procreation.... I do not know who it was who called this condition being struck by death and immortality. The cab you drag along must be of some use to people you do not know.... I am inclined to believe, nearly so close to death, we nevertheless feel that this thing is greater than we are, and that its life is of longer duration than ours. We do not feel we are dying, but we do feel the truth that we are of small account, and that we are paying a hard price to be a link in the chain of artists, in health, in youth, in liberty, none of which we enjoy, any more than the cab horse that hauls a couchful of people out to enjoy the spring. Vincent van Gogh (letter to Theo van Gogh, 1888)

Posted by: Nik at August 2, 2004 4:56 PM

Excellent stuff! You just cleared up some of the issues I have been trying to deal with over the past year. Keep going!

Posted by: Bert at August 2, 2004 5:24 PM

i got my first solo show the other day. rather, my girlfriend got it for me. i've been waiting to be discovered all these years but i believe i am now going to be forging my own future as the miracle isnt happening.

Posted by: pthree at August 2, 2004 6:13 PM


Posted by: optimus chris at August 2, 2004 6:59 PM

Great list and comments, especially the "Cash & Sex," as that is currently my all-absorbing obsession. Sometimes I think that our daily lives make us think that we can't do it - the process of working the cash job, taking out the trash and listening (or watching) the world's business can make one feel downright unimportant. Turn it off, leave the job at work, and make your art. You have to be a little vain to beleive that you can do it, and then you have to just do it.

Posted by: Hunter Clarke at August 2, 2004 7:16 PM

oh! the P A I N... ouch! ouch!

Posted by: roland at August 2, 2004 8:17 PM

cash and sex....the best get more of both if you hit the sweet spot.

Posted by: Carlos at August 2, 2004 8:39 PM

Absolutely fabulous. The more raw the word, the more valuable the message.

Posted by: Tonya at August 2, 2004 8:43 PM

Yes, don't quit your day job but realize that 80% of your day job is done with 20% of the time at work. If you can concentrate on this 20% it frees up 80% of your time at work to try and somehow, albeit at times in an impeded and possible covert manner, still put time in towards your creative efforts, art, etc. Whether this is research, thinking, actual art, etc. use this time, don't waste it. Some day jobs that allow more freedoms, outside sales, jobs where the value of your work is subjective etc. even allow more possible opportunities to develop your art while on the company clock.

And I do agree with that one posted comment about listening to more ween.

Thomas Hawk

Posted by: Thomas Hawk at August 2, 2004 9:10 PM

Great! Along the lines of your point #1, a creative work grows from conception like a child, and the nearer one is to its birth, the more it looks like a mess of sweat, slime, odd-shape, and screaming.

When we look at the "great works", we are seeing them in their mature--all cleaned up and grown up, forms. And, so, it doesn't work too well to think / talk about newborns like their grown-ups.

Posted by: Jay Fienberg at August 2, 2004 9:22 PM

I agree with, like, nearly everything. But, like, does reading this list mean I'm not creative? Or are we, as a People, past a priori creativity. Was such a thing ever so?

Posted by: Ry Rivard at August 2, 2004 9:34 PM

I read this and I reacted the same way I usually do to really good advice... "Ok, but what if---"

What if I keep my day job, ignore everybody else, put my hours in, work really really hard, and then my creation turns out to be the biggest pile of crud since the Big Bang?

What if I try to write War And Peace, and end up with Where's Waldo?

I spent all this time thinking of myself as a writer... And then I try my hardest and fail miserably?

I know that if I don't ever try, looking back on that would be horrible... But how do you deal with the possibility that your creative endeavors might be a failure of monumental proportions?

And please realize that I'm not talking about money here... So my book doesn't sell, so what. What I mean is, I write a book and maybe I'm the only one who ever sees it... And when I'm done, I look down at the pages in my hands and I realize that I failed. Not the publisher, but myself.

How do I deal with that?

Posted by: Doug at August 2, 2004 10:17 PM

Doug: Your first (few) effort(s) probably will be big piles of crud. You have to generate work and want to generate work even though generating it can be painful. I generally like my current work better than my last and my next work better than that, and don't like my old work very much and am slightly embarrassed by my very old work.

Posted by: james at August 2, 2004 10:39 PM

I might submit a point raised by author Stephen King: Get your thousand pages of crap out as soon as possible.

With sincere effort and work, if your talent is developing, you only have so much crap to work out of your system before you start to find your groove. This relates to why output can be so important. It's related to why in painting, they teach you not to fixate too much or too long on throwaway paintings. Work fast, fluid, and let yourself go; get all the "bad" paintings out of your system as you pick up a little bit from each quick draft and move on to the next one.

1 leads to 2, 2 leads to 3, and eventually you hit your 1000 (or whatever particular number). And you take a look and realize you're putting out good stuff.

Posted by: Kaijima at August 2, 2004 11:37 PM

Most of this is broadly good advice - assuming you are clever and creative. But it's disingeneous to pretend that everyone - and it's just as well that they're not: as Chevy Chase said in Caddyshack "the world needs ditch-diggers, too."

Posted by: rhymer rigby at August 2, 2004 11:39 PM

Oops. Missed out an is after "everyone."

Posted by: rhymer rigby at August 2, 2004 11:42 PM

Rymer, it depends what your definition of "creative" is. I prefer the word as something universal in all of us, rather than the domain of a lucky few.

But, like I said, they're just tips that have worked for me, for better or worse. It's not like I'm carrying the word of God down from the mountain, conveniently etched on stone tablets.

Wow. Lots of you guys commented. Thanks =)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 2, 2004 11:50 PM

Hmmm...probably the narrow one: I'm afraid I'm of the "Of course you're different and special - just like everyone else" school. That said, I do think your advice is good stuff - although that may be because I'm terribly clever and creative myself.

Cheers, RR

Posted by: rhymer rigby at August 3, 2004 12:23 AM

I love it. I'm there, in a way. I've got the fire but not the drive, I've got the 'cash' job but so burnt out that I've not got the 'sex' to balance it out.

I would like to add/recommend somethings:

So many friends I've talked to have had the fire and not the training. They'll tell me things such as, "Oh, I can't draw," or "I'm horrible at X."

I'll ask, "Have you taken a class in it?"

"Oh, no, I'm horrible at it." or "Just once, and I've got no talent for it."

For every prodigy out there, there are 100 regular joes with an itch to create without the natural gifts. Please remind people that if you are stalled in your art, if you haven't found your 'nitch' style, if you know you want to paint but don't own brushes...

Take a class. Learn something new. If the teacher isn't right, try again with a different teacher. If you don't feel the connection with paper try clay. If you have the fire, find your nitch. Don't settle for someone else's nitch!

Always keep in mind that just because one person accomplished X, Y and Z in two years doesn't mean you will.

Keep in mind that you might never be the best. Or second best. You might not be anywhere in the top 100. But if you get a joy out of it, if you make people happy, if you bring something beautiful into the world... it really does make it worthwhile. :)

Again, thanks for the list. :)

Posted by: saratoons at August 3, 2004 12:37 AM

Thats brilliant, very true

Posted by: Najessa at August 3, 2004 1:18 AM

Very much like your list, Hugh. I can only think of one more: Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Take it from someone whose songs were ripped off and marketed. Gotta let it go or it will feed on you till you drop dead.

Posted by: Sloo at August 3, 2004 3:25 AM

Oh, this is getting printed out, bookmarked, etc.

To me everything is a potential tool to draw with - the first thing I think when I get something new, computers, PDAs, gel pens, anything that will make a mark is 'oooh, how do I draw with this?"

Posted by: Scott McDonald at August 3, 2004 3:27 AM

The meaning in life is found in the pursuit of the goal, not the achievement of the goal. I think creativity would be included in the pursuit. I need to read more.

Posted by: scott at August 3, 2004 4:05 AM

This is amazing. (^_^)

Posted by: Zelnox at August 3, 2004 4:35 AM

Good soup for the soul. I can only add to what You've already said,by putting it into these few famous words of insperation.


Posted by: Girard LaVeaux at August 3, 2004 5:04 AM

Good soup for the soul. I can only add to what You've already said,by putting it into these few famous words of insperation.


Posted by: Girard LaVeaux at August 3, 2004 5:05 AM

#12 hit the sweet spot for me. Keep up the good work hugh...

Posted by: Bing-Howe at August 3, 2004 5:12 AM

As a writer, an aspiring writer, a writer who should have produced far more by now work than he has, a writer who has read some literary theory, some how-to literature, joined some online writing communities and attended some real world writing classes, this thread probably contains the most useful and down to earth advise I have ever seen.

I think I'll print it out and re-read it when I get confused about what I should be doing.

Thanks, fella'.

Posted by: Steve Kane at August 3, 2004 9:17 AM

Guys, Am a newbie to this site and what I saw got me hooked. Now I am here coz I have this great brand that suffers from a 'awareness' problem so I thought of you guys to help me come out with some creative solutions, if you dont mind pitching in and helping me out.

Mimi is a high end boutique located in a premium shopping mall in the Kingdom of Bahrain selling shoes, bags and accessories. It stocks 16 different brands of shoes which is being pared down to 8. The brands featured include Jimmy Choo, Alexandra Neel, Boccaccini, AEFFE, Les Tropexiennes, Pollini, Botticelli, Ileana & Jane Brown. All these brands are premium top of the line names in footwear in Europe, US & UK. Unforttunately, nobody in Bahrain has heard of them ( I Myself only knew of Jimmy Choo's). The average price of footwear at MIMIs is about BD 150 or rather US 400 and goes upto US $ 3000. Now thats more than my monthly paycheck!!!

1) The Mall where the store is located - Al Aali Mall is a high end mall which houses some of the most premium stores anywhere. Unfortunately, it is a dead mall and just does not get shoppers

2)Although MIMI was opened in April 04, it did not have a ad launch. So if you told people, MIMI, they would probably say MIMI who?

3)Almost the entire stock of the last season is in store and we are almost into the new season. So I need to get rid of all stocks of the previous season to make way for the new.

target Audience:
Fashion conscious women , expatriates and nationals with high disposable incomes (bahrain has a large expat population as well as western expats visiting from Saudi Arabia). They are well exposed to international fashion trends and travel frequently to Europe and elsewhere
While these ladies are savvy and aware of therse brands, they are not aware of the fact that these brands are now available in Bahrain. Many prefer to fly to UAE to buy them or buy them when they travel to Europe or UK.

An advertising strategy and campaign ideas that will address the issues of:
- creating brand awareness of the store & its offerrings
- drive shoppers to this 'dead' mall and generate footfall into the store that translates in to sales.

I need to revert later this week and would appreciate your inputs, suggestions and advice. Plz feel free to email me on thinkersblock@yahoo.com

Thanx & regards


Posted by: rodin at August 3, 2004 9:29 AM

Your f*cking kidding, right?

Posted by: Nick at August 3, 2004 10:31 AM

Nice reading, I cant stop reading.

Posted by: Rajsamand at August 3, 2004 1:21 PM

All a bit common sense non? Why is this top link of the day on popdex?

Posted by: Folkestone Gerald at August 3, 2004 4:02 PM

brilliant stuff... :o) very cool

Posted by: vehicle tracking at August 3, 2004 4:20 PM

Hugh, this is great. I've just been in the beginning stages of starting up a design agency and the first months have been hard as hell, but you know what? It's all worth it. This list has clarified a lot of my thoughts about it, both good and bad. Still worth it, and as far as I can see, even to fail will be outstanding. We won't of course ;)

Posted by: paul pod at August 3, 2004 4:28 PM

Good stuff! Thanks ;-)

Posted by: RealityBlogs.com at August 3, 2004 5:25 PM

This thread is excellent. It gave me more than one good thought to play with. In fact I quit my job because of that constant feeling of not doing what I really should do.

Posted by: SUB at August 3, 2004 9:24 PM

Clearly, you've hit on something that is a struggle for a good many of us -- and *that's* why this is the top link of the day on Popdex.

Posted by: SB at August 3, 2004 9:26 PM

"3. Put the hours in.

Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what ****seperates**** successful people and failed people is time, effort and stamina."

And spelling!

Posted by: jim at August 3, 2004 11:02 PM

This one was sent to me when I needed it. Thanks to you for putting it together and everyone in the blogsphere passing it around so that it made its way to me!

Posted by: John O'Loughlin at August 3, 2004 11:39 PM

The small beautiful kernels of experience in your list have merit, but the "concept" of a 'How to be Creative' list is deceptive.

A friend sent me the link to gapingvoid.com and I really liked your drawings. When I saw the How to be Creative link on the right I purposely ignored it. Then my girlfriend sent me the url straight to the how to. I figured, what the hell, I'll read it.

So after reading the list I was reminded of the phrase, "If you see the Buddha: kill him." In this case I see the knowledge contained in the How To as a kind of "truth" or living Buddha if you will. To list these truths about something as spiritual and individual as creativity seems to me an lie. Thus when I see the so called "truth" I am naturally skeptical and initially want to remove it from my mind. (or kill it...not literally of-course)

Yet if nothing else your list reminded me that the only way to know TRUTH is to go out and experience it for yourself, not by *just* reading anything.

Much Respect & Thanks!

Posted by: Brian R. at August 4, 2004 1:09 AM

I have to say, this essay-construct-thing and all the resulting feedback has made for a far more inspiring night of reading than my usual zone-out in front of Slashdot. The only thing /. has over this is the ability to read comments at +4. That's okay, though; I can survive the occasional fart.

Posted by: AcouSvnt at August 4, 2004 3:33 AM

"10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props."

Remind me to tell that to my senior. He drives an SLK while I drive a battered pile of crap :-)

Posted by: Rob at August 4, 2004 11:16 AM

"10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props."

That's why I drive a battered piece of shit and my senior drives an SLK.

I guess some people need expensive status symbols to feel accepted and bolster their self confidence. Sad, really.

Posted by: Rob Shields at August 4, 2004 11:36 AM

Nice and interesting thread. I enjoyed it completely. Thanks.

Posted by: Rama at August 4, 2004 2:35 PM

Thinking about Item One above, I heard the following this morning on the Writer's Almanac (http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/), a quote by Percy Bysshe Shelley:

"Do it now--write nothing but what your conviction of its truth inspires you to write .... Contemporary criticism only represents the amount of ignorance genius has to contend with."

Posted by: Allan at August 4, 2004 8:15 PM

As a full time sculptor who came up the hard way--with a hig school diploma and a welding school certificate and 24 years of practice, I agree!!! Persistance is far more important than talent and degrees---the art school grads have been working for me, not the other way around. If you like this site, read a great short book called ART & FEAR.

Posted by: Joel Haas at August 4, 2004 10:26 PM

While I agree that friends and family don't make optimal sounding boards, what are your ideas, Hugh, about feedback? I think that some degree of feedback is essential, but of what kind and how much? Creative people are formidably innner-directed, but they don't live in vacuums. I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about this.


Posted by: RJ Keefe at August 4, 2004 11:33 PM

While I agree that friends and family don't make optimal sounding boards, what are your ideas, Hugh, about feedback? I think that some degree of feedback is essential, but of what kind and how much? Creative people are formidably innner-directed, but they don't live in vacuums. I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about this.


Posted by: RJ Keefe at August 4, 2004 11:36 PM

Brilliant! Fantastic! Incredible! Oh, God! I'm coming! ourrrrgghhh!!!!

Posted by: stephen hatchett at August 5, 2004 4:10 AM

hi Hugh,

Attempted to send twice and bounced back as 'spam'?!?!?

I guess one of your reader sent me a quote yesterday - which I though was very sweet and added a link to your page - stating that I could get 'more'.

I actually read quite a lot of pages - laughing and wringing inside. You may or not know about netdiver but I'm one of those crazy people who started on web 10 years ago - with a 'long term' vision - thank God - and still has a passion for building this industry - most importantly promoting the community that makes the core of the industry.

I have to admit my time is very scarce - juggling in the big pounders every day (12-14h) to manage both client and the magazine + tons of other stuff. It was a delight to read how much we have in common. Your wit is refreshing - I am a direct person and keep telling clients or others (yepp for the past 10 years) that 'bullshit, jaguar, pinstripes are out. get a life'.

Anyway Netdiver has now a loyal audience and I have posted a link back to how to be creative. So this may send a little traffic your way.

Interestingly I write (coach and speak) about 'creativity' too. What a topic to juggle. And you should definitely look into turning your talent into a profitable business. (book, postcards, Ts) More and more of 'us' are going the 'independent' way (self-publishing) so that at least in one place in our life we do get rid of the blood sucking middlemen.

If I can help - like sharing my research and my take on this - let me know. Attached a sneak peek of an article that is going to be published in the next couple of days. I think you will appreciate our likemindness.

"Creativity (unrelated) edges" - if you are inclined - I would luv to hear your comments. (well your server deemed me spam with attached .dod file for the article) - if you would like to read it - let me know.

.carole guevin.
Netdiver digital culture magazine
& international design portal
+ http://netdiver.net

Posted by: carole guevin at August 5, 2004 11:54 AM

Great post and many great comments! Thanks to hugh and others for sharing your insights & experiences!

In reading this, I kept thinking about an inspiring quote, from Marianne Williamson's book "A Course in Miracles" that I wanted to share in this thread:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Posted by: Joe at August 5, 2004 2:46 PM

Hugh, super job and better than most of the purported guru's on this subject matter. ( I stopped reading their drivel books 12 yrs. ago )

I've been a solo independent consultant for a decade ( mainly bus dev for software startups ) and your "Hughtrain Manifesto" on How to be creative is some very sage advice. I've worked for CEO's

What I resonate with most and have experienced numerous instances ( trials and tribulations ) are your comments under Point 1 - Ignore everyone


Good ideas come with a heavy burden. Which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.

Secondsly your comments in Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity are also spot on.

That's why I work with emerging software startups where ecology still thrives is most instances.

Lastly your absolutely right about the need to acceopt the pain and learn from it. " No pain - no gain " but try and not repeat the same mistakes.

Once again well done !

Posted by: standa at August 5, 2004 7:00 PM

I love this thread. So much more real than a lot of advice one sees. If I read all the sub-threads right now, I'd know I was wasting work time, and I know that already thanks.

Posted by: David at August 5, 2004 7:34 PM

I am in the middle of plotting a massive career change and this really shook me up! I'm not an artist but simply a somewhat (hopefully) creative person that needs to finally use that creativity again. It gave me hope.

Posted by: amondt at August 5, 2004 9:33 PM

Thank you! I have bookmarked this page, and I will come back and read it again when I start to get worn down. And again. And again. Especially that bit about companies needing creative types like us. Do you know any that are hiring? :-)

Posted by: NKM at August 5, 2004 10:19 PM

I've been wanting to break out and do something creative for some time, but the fear of the variables puts me in depression. Your words are like the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks.

Posted by: Rohit Khetan at August 6, 2004 9:26 AM


Posted by: Jon Silpayamanant at August 6, 2004 9:40 PM

Anyone who dug this post should definitely check out the book Art and fear http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0961454733/

It's a short set of essays about why people fear creative work, and how to come to terms with it. My wife read it getting her MFA, and I've found it entirely relevant to any kind of creative pursuit. Highly recommended.

Posted by: Scott Berkun at August 7, 2004 9:00 PM

spot on. keep 'em coming.

Posted by: stephen shields at August 8, 2004 4:17 AM

Hmm, okay ... now, why don't you just start a new thread like "how to be creative millionaire"?

Posted by: Raqueeb Hassan at August 8, 2004 11:01 AM

Hmm, okay ... now, why don't you just start a new thread like "how to be creative millionaire"?

Posted by: Raqueeb Hassan at August 8, 2004 11:02 AM

This is some inspiring and motivating reading. I have to bookmark it to read over and over.

Posted by: fyrfli at August 10, 2004 9:47 AM

Creativity is shouting in your ear.

You are so excited when you think about your passion. Creativity for pleasure.

Then you hear the 'look at XX they are getting paid for their creative output - why don't you have a go - you might even get well-known as an artist instead of being just a housewife and mother'

The heavenly sound of Creativity becomes drowned by the chorus of envy, comparison and frustration.


Thanks for putting so much commonsense in one accessible place.

Posted by: UTHOM. at August 11, 2004 9:47 AM


Posted by: Adnan at August 11, 2004 12:46 PM

Not many sites get perma-links from my site. This is definitely one of them. Wow, what a great list.

Posted by: Joe at August 11, 2004 6:06 PM

Hugh, THANK YOU for this gift. I'm just on the last pages of the first draft of a novel that I've been working on for 9 years, on and off. Suddenly, it all looked like crap to me, and I whined to a friend. He sent me this link.

You've helped me put things back in perspective.

Posted by: Lloyd at August 12, 2004 1:58 PM

Very nice. I would like to point out, though, that the maxims in your list are not necessarily restricted to 'art-ee-ists'.

Posted by: waldo the wanderer at August 12, 2004 9:58 PM

Yeah well, Waldo, I did stipulate "...in art, in business, whatever" at the top.

e.g. covered my ass ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 12, 2004 10:46 PM

It's really awakened me from my laziness in writing. From now on i'll spend my time as well as I can as God has given so many talents to me. Thanks for this, I'll be creative again in facing my old age.

Posted by: Sri Winarti at August 13, 2004 1:31 AM

Thanks for your great advice - we all have something God-given to do in this life - thanks for having the courage to take a step towards that thing, and encouraging others to do the same!

Posted by: Jim Black at August 13, 2004 5:10 PM

One I don't see here -- find community -- you can't do what you're doing in a vacuum. Find people (even those who are not in the same field but share the struggle) who you can walk shoulder-to-shoulder with and may have some insights.

Thanks for such an amazing list. I needed to hear all this today.

Posted by: daphne gottlieb at August 14, 2004 7:01 PM

Thank you Hugh.


Posted by: Mick at August 15, 2004 11:50 AM

Was forwarded this by a friend, and I'd like to say THANK YOU. I have had the Sex bit, but the cash is threatening to kill me, and it will one day! But you've put things into perspective, so I thank you for that. I am now looking for another job that pays the bills too, as well as gives me time to be the artist I think I am hehhehe. All the best

Posted by: Dina at August 15, 2004 3:41 PM

i couldn't disagree more with daphne's post above; though i respect that it may work for her.

i find commmunities of "artists" the most abhorrent perpetuators of mediocrity around. the only communing i need can be achieved through the artists' work. those with integrity. i rely more on flaubert's opinions in his novels, letters, and journals than those of friends or family. also - it's not fair to them to ask their opinion on something so dear to me.

i just read hemingway's _moveable feast_ and while i enjoyed it - and think him a great writer - i found it sad the way he bandied about other artists' names and talked about their mannerisms; moreso than his own family's.

i much preferred salinger's take. he hated the hives of writers that he found everywhere.

Posted by: matt at August 15, 2004 4:52 PM


Posted by: numele at August 15, 2004 9:30 PM


Posted by: numele at August 15, 2004 9:33 PM


Posted by: u at August 15, 2004 9:35 PM

Valuable Advice. The United States was founded on the creativity, enterprise, and imagination of its people. From our first days, we experimented with a brand new form of government, one that gave folks a greater chance than ever before to fulfill their potential. Now, though, too little focus in paid to encouraging creativity, imagination, and curiosity.

Posted by: Mark Harm at August 16, 2004 2:20 AM

Why is it that some people choose careers that the better they get at them the less they do them. (Chef, Lawyer, etc.)?

Posted by: Mike at August 16, 2004 12:37 PM

Excellent words! Can I translate it into Chinese so that more people may share it?

Posted by: Clark at August 17, 2004 4:32 AM

Clark, yeah, that would be awesome! I'd love to see it Chinese =)

*Ahem* this doesn't affect my copyright and authorship schtick in any way, of course...

Can you send me a link when it's done? Or if you e-mail it to me, will I be able to post it? (Not sure how this Chinese writing stuff works...)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 17, 2004 12:32 PM


I have isolated all of your published thoughts and alphabetized; then sorted them according to character length. Then re-sorted based on alpha sort of primary adjective usage. Then same for verbs. Man, that felt good. Custodial creativity.

Posted by: Teb De Sciotto at August 17, 2004 4:27 PM

i thought i commented on this entry (perhaps it was deleted) but the first rule is sooooo true.

Posted by: d1rge at August 19, 2004 12:53 AM

I loved your thoughts a lot and it has inspired me to do better in the future. I promise I will be back for more soul curry :-)

Posted by: Bhooshan at August 19, 2004 5:23 AM

This is the best site about creativity that I've found in a long time, and I hope to add some of these ideas into my own working process. I'm a potter and web developer, and most of these seem equally applicable to both areas.

Not to take anything away from Hugh's list, but this also reminded me of "An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth" by designer Bruce Mau (http://www.brucemaudesign.com/manifesto.html). It too is a great grouping of recommendations and warnings about how not to pollute your creativity.

Posted by: scottcooper at August 19, 2004 4:59 PM

Scott, I've read Bruce Mau's Manifesto.

It's wonderful.

Thanks for the tip/reminder, though =)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 20, 2004 2:41 PM

Thankyou hugh, and also a thanks to Joe ( aug 05th 2004). Just what i was thinking!
I teach dance and movement to the challenged, and dance to the elderly...also challenged!!
Every day i want to be creative, to excite the passion of living, loving, and being healthy, and still being curious and mischievious every day...in others and myself. Choreography...and hell ...even living every day and not being disallusioned.......takes effort!!!!!
Creative flow/juice...whatever you call it ..is elusive...at times.....and can land like a butterfly or ladybird when you least expect it..often at inoportune times.......sometimes something someone says will inspire me ...an advertisement , a book cover, art, the written word, poetry...... for me they are all the one thing!

Posted by: Olwyn-Australia at August 21, 2004 12:25 PM

Thanks for your ping about my language. I really used the wrong language to say that I disagree with what you, but I think you're leading people who don't think about creativity into thinking about it, and I appreciate that

Posted by: Nik at August 22, 2004 10:31 AM

This is the first edition of my Chinese translation, please comment as you like:
1. 走自己的路
2. 想法虽不起眼,但它却能改变全世界
3. 投入时间
4. 千里马常有,而伯乐不常有
5. 你的经历由你自己负责
6. 创造性是人的本性
7. 保持日常工作
8. 唯有有创意的公司才能生存
9. 每个人都有自己的生存目标
10. 成大事者不拘小节
11. 与众不同
12. 期望越大,失望越大
13. 不要互相攀比
14. 书山有路勤为径
15. 区分你喜欢做的事和你不喜欢做的事
16. 世易时移
17. 黄金有价,激情无价
18. 远离失败的人
19. 要有自己的个性和风格,哪怕是缺点
20. 形式并不重要,重要的是内容

Posted by: Clark at August 23, 2004 4:35 AM

My fantanstically creative, driven, and successful brother sent me this link. This last year has been life-altering for me since I almost lost my life. With a year off from work to recover, I've pursued my artistic interests as my self-help therapy. With no performance pressure, a talent (jewelry/metalsmithing) is finding room to grow, and the process of learning and making mistakes is actually a joy. Finished pieces eliciting unsolicited praise are even more of a joy. But yes, I'll keep my day job at least part time. Don't want to burden my pleasure with the reality of survival (yet). When one learns to have confidence and not worry about judgement (a HARD thing to learn), AND not to put self-expectations of perfection on oneself in EVERYTHING, this process of creativity really is a joyful and healing experience. And it could realistically turn into a more enjoyable day (and night) job! And getting paid for something one loves to do???
Thanks for your right-on insights!

Posted by: Kyra Xenea Quon at August 23, 2004 7:54 AM

This is some great advice, and timely for me. Thanks Hugh!

"There are only two kinds of artists: the plagiarists and the revolutionaries."
-- Paul Gauguin

Posted by: Mark at August 23, 2004 6:00 PM

Hugh - blinding, love it. I have some thoughts for you though... this isn't a 'you should include', more of a 'what are your thoughts on'. Some of my most creative moments (or the point at which ideas crystalise) have come when I'm well out of the box (and, I have to admit - at points - out of my own) I really do think play in this way opens the mind to epiphany, where work simply can't... I endorse point 14 without question (there IS a HUGE difference between feeding the mind and killing it) but wondered whether play had a bigger part to play than the crayon angle?
(Pat Kane's book and site on the Play Ethic is worth a squiz) Anyway, like I said, love it...

Posted by: Jamin at August 25, 2004 12:58 AM

i like the word creativeness very much
i don't want to be normal preson doing the same business every day . what i want to do is different totally different so i always think about how i can change the things around me even 2% .
things are not coming from nothing but from deeply thinking .
reading more is the only way that is going to help you to understand more to create new things.i wish if i can change the things that i feel they don't make sense . for example human rights Is anyone enjoying and practising thier rights or Are their rights violated ? this is a univesal problem.

Posted by: iman at August 25, 2004 10:07 AM

Where are the people that think like this in my day to day life? Just thinking I guess, like me. The loud ones are usually the idiots.

Posted by: Steve at August 25, 2004 11:09 AM

link on bmoss's page brought me here. woah. thats a pretty accurate list. infact scarily accurate. And there are a few people i think should read it ... my past art teacher being one. *cough* ahem.

nicely done.

Posted by: Tiffany at August 25, 2004 3:21 PM

A wise person once told me "Sometimes you do a job to feed your soul, but most of the time you have to do a job that feeds your dog."

Posted by: Julia at August 26, 2004 8:36 AM

I just love it!
Hope it will continue.........

Posted by: moira at August 26, 2004 3:08 PM

This quote from a novel resonated with me.

The setting is a church service.

"It is never about how good your voice is;
it is about feeling the urge to sing,
and then having the courage to do it with the voice you are given."

Elizabeth Berg from "True to Form"

Posted by: april at August 28, 2004 1:39 AM

this really is an awesome blog!
what are you people doing! howdy!!!

Posted by: goergel at September 7, 2004 7:03 PM

When I use the term 'repugnant' I do so in my own opinion: I do not use non-free
software on machines I control. This licence is non-free, and masquerading it as free
is offensive. I have contributed lots to the Free Software community myself, and I
would be completely outraged if any of my contributions were being shipped in a
non-free product. Contributions are contributions to public software, not private

Posted by: gigel at September 8, 2004 10:03 PM

Brilliant! Great insights and a lesson to us all.

Posted by: Rick Hein at September 18, 2004 10:09 PM

thanks for sharing. i have nothing new to add except maybe ... uhhh .. nope. i dont. but i will say this. i am loving this listie.

Posted by: Larrissa at September 21, 2004 1:52 AM

The Bruce Mau link above is broken: There's an excess ")." at the end. The real link is


Posted by: Dee at September 26, 2004 6:46 PM

This post came along when I needed it.
I NEVER EVER wanted to be 'creative'. 'Creative' people I knew, or those who TOLD ME they were 'creative', acted very superior and nasty to me and bored me to death withh drugged talking.
Then suddenly on Hollywood Boulevard a voice told me "You must write your story!"
I was in the middle of my story, I didn't know the end. Will it be a Happy Ending I wondered?
It was. My harlot work healed 18 years of unknown illness and a lifetime of semi-deafness. My life began and the same day, I hit the first piece of blank paper, to make what is now my blog.
So I need to be creative and am meeting lovely creative people now.
Your list is and thread are full of so much energy. It's wonderful.
I'm already doing about half of them and now working on the rest.
"Don't do it to impress your peers." I find most helpful. I've never had 'peers' so substitute 'friends'. This was the one that was so difficult for me. I suffered so much because of wanting friends to accept and believe my story, the goodness and healing I received from my work as a harlot, and mostly they couldn't or wouldn't. Now I accept that and don't feel I've failed if they don't. And I've reclaimed all the energy I wasted on trying to get through to them.
I've got more peace and more energy to be creative. Thanks.

Posted by: Melissa Moon at September 27, 2004 2:30 PM

Very helpfull piece of writing! I've linked this website on the newspage of my poetic e-zine aarghh! (google it links don't seem to work here) . But it's in in the dutch lanuage so you probably can't understand it at all.

Posted by: pim te bokkel at October 2, 2004 2:42 PM

yo! schooly g...
like your site, the writing is, at times, spot on.
i think your skipping a couple of lessons like:

Eating is overrated (and so is sleep).
A rich girlfriend can save your ass.
It's lonely at the bottom too.
Tax returns sent from heaven.


Posted by: dino r. at October 3, 2004 12:48 AM


Posted by: nume at October 19, 2004 7:24 PM

In-spiration. It's an in-side job and it's spiritual. Recognizing it and acting upon it is the challenge.

Posted by: John Henry at November 13, 2004 5:03 PM

hi , i have look at this site and i have got that this site is very good and have nice information ..



Posted by: rajsamand at November 16, 2004 6:04 AM

link on bmoss's page brought me here. woah. thats a pretty accurate list. Is there a way to get the list as one document?

Posted by: Hot Sauce at November 17, 2004 3:46 PM

Enjoyed it...will read the longer version and pass the link on to others!

Posted by: Reader in Dallas, TX at November 28, 2004 8:37 PM

The site is the best

Posted by: Peter at November 30, 2004 6:01 PM

The site is the best

Posted by: Peter at November 30, 2004 6:55 PM

i think new software helps www.artext.co.uk

Posted by: joe at December 19, 2004 4:40 PM

thank you from Russia... fucking right!

Posted by: Ilya A at December 28, 2004 7:40 PM

Brilliant! Not too much different to post as far as accolades, because everyone above has pretty much summed it all up, but you are a man of genius.

"Genius is the fire that lights itself" -Buddy Rich

Posted by: Kyle Stauffer at January 5, 2005 4:11 AM