Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity

Hugh MacLeod

Macleod has done a marvelous job of distilling the basics of being successful at being creative.  This is not the same this being monetarily successful at being creative. Like The Happiness Project, Ignore Everybody makes you take a good long look at your perceptions and how outside influences color your desires and definitions of happiness and success.

McLeod covers two main areas of creativity that you rarely hear about. The first is that you should find time and headspace to make your art.  It should be what you want to create and it should not be something you agonize over.  If you are suffering for your art, you’re doing it wrong.  Creating should be a pleasure.

The other aspect that is talked about even less is that creativity is work.  You have to love the process and the doing.  So many people go out into the world saying “I want to be a famous artist” or actor, or writer.  But at the same time, they didn’t want to spend the immense amounts of time and work it takes to become GOOD at these things.  They have no interest in the process of doing, only the perceived glory and rewards at the end.  These dreamers and wanna-bes recoil from the idea of spending 10-12 hours a day in hunched front of a canvas or writing hundreds of stories that will never be read as they find their voice. Creativity should be its own reward and anything else a bonus.

McLeod also points out the foolishness of assuming that expensive tools can make up for skill, passion and practice.  His advice is short, punchy, often painfully truthful and full of the reality-checks that so many creatives need – and will probably ignore.  However, if you are truly serious about creating you should take a gander.  In addition to the sage advice, the book is illustrated with McLeod’s humorous business card cartoons, for which is is justifiably well-known.