Derek FeatherstoneEverything is a work in progress

Ignore Everybody

Derek Featherstone / Published:

I said I would read more this year, and so far I have. I’m about half way done Hugh MacLeod’s book “Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity” (Humble affiliate links: Amazon US | Amazon Canada)

My goals are two-fold with reading:

  1. I want to learn and expose myself to new things.
  2. I want to use those new things as fodder for my brain, almost to trick it into writing. You know… actually PRODUCING content.

Passages that resonate so far

Here’s a handful of quotes that are bouncing around inside my brain, helping me make sense of my creative pursuits:

Put the hours in

Hugh writes about the seeming simplicity of his “doodling on the backs of busines cards” and he is often asked “Your business card format is very simple. Aren’t you worried about somebody ripping it off?”

His reply? He says his standard answer is:

Only if they can draw more of them than me, better than me.

That’s gold. You have to put the hours in.

Subtle, profound advantage

Frankly, I think you’re better off doing something on the assumption that you will not be rewarded for it, that it will not receive the recognition it deserves. That it will not be worth the time and effort invested in it.

The obvious advantage to this angle is, of course, if anything good comes of it, then it’s an added bonus.

The second, more subtle and profound advantage is that by scuppering all hope of worldly and social betterment from the creative act, you are finally left with only one question to answer:

Do you make this damn thing exist or not?

I love this one because it gets right down to the heart of why you’re doing this thing. Are you doing it because you want the payoff, or are you doing it because you truly believe deep down inside that you have to build this. That you have to get it out of you and into the world.

The first rule of business

Hugh tells a story about a chimney piece seller that easily sells reconditioned chimneys and chimney pieces. The “Fireplace Guy” recounts stories of how it is much easier to sell the chimney pieces as compared to his previous work as an antiques dealer. As an antiques afficionado, he’d grow attached to “things” and would struggle with selling them because he’d grown attached to them, want to keep them, or even subconsciously price them too high so that he wouldn’t need to sell them. Wow.

The first rule of business is never sell something you love. Otherwise, you may as well be selling your children.