Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Feel free to ignore this review of Ignore Everybody


Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod
Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod

This is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to do something creative, especially if the people in your life are not very creative.  A few years ago I learned the hard way that just because someone claims to want what's best for you, it doesn't mean they actually know what's best for you.  Sometimes you are better off not taking their advice. 

The book starts out with a bang:


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 cartoon-on-back-of-bizcard 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?





Here are his first 10 main points:

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.



You can read the rest here: http://gapingvoid.com/ie/



I love what he said about no great novels being written with really expensive, designer fountain pens.  I think we rely on external props that we think will somehow make us more creative (like certain brands of computers, for example) instead of adjusting the technology to fit our own needs or being creative enough to make something out of nothing.  I find it amusing and ironic that so many artists, who avoid joining groups, clubs, or organized religions because of the perceived threat to their individuality, have no problem joining certain cults of technology or personality.  Likewise, the push to social media and "liking" what your friends like, re-tweeting and re-blogging on Twitter and Tumblr, and sharing images in the hopes of getting immediate feedback creates an environment of conformity, a certain hive-minded collective consciousness that can deaden the impulse to think for oneself.  As David Meyer put it, "We live in an Internet culture where individuality is supposedly celebrated, but where the tyranny of brand reputation is ruthlessly enforced on a collective basis."

Such is the nature of the Internet, where every person is a brand, every blogger a pundit, everyone with a pulse an expert of some sort, ready to dispense advice, some of it free of charge, the rest available once you pay for an e-book, webinar, or personal consultation.  It's great to gather advice and receive the wisdom of those who are willing to share it, but sometimes, when you really want to do something daring and unusual, you just need to ignore everybody and do what makes sense for you. 

Here are some of the "truths" that I am currently ignoring:

  • I need to replace my Hotmail account with a Gmail account because everybody's doing it.
  • If you are good at more than one thing, just focus on one of the things you are good at and only develop that particular talent.
  • You can't make art on a PC. Every artist needs a Mac.
  • The only good smartphone is an iPhone.
  • If I crowdfund my art with Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, I will make a lot of money.
  • Every blog must be self-hosted on Wordpress.
  • You shouldn't build your own website if you're an artist, even if you know how to do it. It's much better to pay someone else to make a cookie-cutter website instead.
  • Educational debt is good debt.
  • I have to follow everyone who follows me on Twitter, no matter how boring or irrelevant their tweets are.
  • I need to read as many blogs about blogging, tweets about Twitter, and Facebook posts about Facebook as possible because social media and SEO experts have all the answers.
  • If I spend a lot of money on this person's webinar/book/conference call about how to be a successful artist/interior designer, all my problems will be solved.
  • Being on social media will get you discovered and lead to overnight success!
What have you chosen to ignore?

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