How to Be Creative and the Social Objects That Get People Talking

Many folks know I come from a creative background, I studied painting in college, and first got into marketing via graphic design (back when it was called “desktop publishing”). So when I came across this blog post by Hugh MacLeod on how to be creative, of course I stopped and pondered a bit. First, I thought there was a bit of irony that there’s an organized list on how to be creative. But I liked the list, so I’m posting it here. But take a look at the last item when you get to the end of the list:

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.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.

3. Put the hours in.

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

5. You are responsible for your own experience.

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

7. Keep your day job.

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. Dying young is overrated.

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.

16. The world is changing.

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

18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.

19. Sing in your own voice.

20. The choice of media is irrelevant.

21. Selling out is harder than it looks.

22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.

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

24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.

25. You have to find your own schtick.

26. Write from the heart.

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

28. Power is never given. Power is taken.

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

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

31. Remain frugal.

32. Allow your work to age with you.

33. Being Poor Sucks.

34. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs.

35. Savor obscurity while it lasts.

36. Start blogging.

Uh, start blogging?

Well, his point is that blogs help make things happen indirectly. In a world driven by statistics and ROI, blogging can be a creative marketing tool, you just need the time. And eventually, if done well, your blog, or product, will become the “Social Object” – the reason people talk to each other in the first place. And then – voila – the “Social Object” becomes a “node” of your social network.

I think what I like the most is his approach: blog for yourself. I’ve found blogging a daunting task, although I really want to keep up with it. Why? It’s because I think people care, and so it has to be perfectly informative and useful. I don’t want to embarrass myself. But if I remember these tips on How to Be Creative, it really shouldn’t matter, right?

Anyway, it’s heady stuff, and I find it fascinating, and intend to keep plowing through.

Another conversation on the way

Drew McLean and Gavin Heaton are doing it again – there’s a call out for contributors a new collaborative project as a follow up on the Age of Conversation. The clever minds behind this new breakthrough project is also asking for input on themes for this next book. My personal favorite is “Why don’t people get it?” This way there’s an opportunity to demonstrate some actionable steps that help us get out of a rut. But you can vote for yourself!