This got a lot of play earlier this month in my aggregator, but I only managed to get to it this weekend. It certainly lives up to its billing and Gaping Void now has a place in my aggregator.
Too much writing and thinking about creativity perpetuates a myth that creativity is some sort of innate binary characteristic–you either have it or you don’t. I much prefer a perspective that, regardless of your creative gifts, there is craft to be learned and developed. You can’t do anything about the raw material you were given at birth, but, as Macleod also points out, it is within your power to put the hours in. Reminds me of Jerry Pournelle’s classic advice on how to get his job.
A few months ago I stumbled upon Hugh Macleod’s Gaping Void weblog, enjoying his crazed cartoons and his jaundiced insights. He has one post that he keeps adding to that is just completely fricking brilliant, called “How to be Creative”. The original post is good, but he has a couple elaborations that are even better:
- Climb your own Mt. Everest
- Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.
- The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
- Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.
He has one observation that is straight out of the advice I hear over and over for new writers, most of whom are looking for some sort of silver bullet that will allow them to become successful without spending all that boring time with their ass in a chair doing the work:
3. Put the hours in.
Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. 90% of what seperates successful people and failed people is time and stamina.
This stuff is all good reading, and worth thinking about if you have any ambitions towards being creative – as an artist, as an entrepeneur, as a software developer, as a person.