Sunday, November 26, 2006


Manifesto of Creativity

Hugh Macleod (MacLeod?) at gapingvoid has put a call out for mini manifestos (mini-festos), 500 words or fewer expounding on the topic of your choosing (although, he'd like them to change the world, please). I came to gapingvoid through Seth Godin's Unforgivable post.

I had this rather skewed view of manifestos, thinking they were primarily written by disgruntled people, like the Uni-bomber. The dictionary definition is this: "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer." That doesn't sound so bad and I like a challenge, so I decided to write a Manifesto of Creativity. I followed it up with a Manifesto of Fame, which I will post tomorrow. Both of my manifestos ended up being 311 words. Strange.

Incidentally, Hugh posted a manifesto on creativity on gapingvoid, which I did not see until after mine was written. Quite a bit of overlap.

Here goes, my Manifesto of Creativity:

  1. By virtue of being human, you are innately creative.
  1. Creativity is not solely the domain of the fine arts. Any activity, be it truck driving, child care, assembly line work, or floor sweeping, can be imbued with creativity, depending upon your approach to it.
  1. Practice creativity often and with regularity. The process gets easier.
  1. Fuel your creativity by studying subjects that have nothing to do with your normal creative practice.
  1. Creativity tests your mettle at some point in the process, whether at the beginning, middle or end. Sweating through the hard part is how you earn your creative chops.
  1. Fear is an integral part of creativity. Use it, work through it, but don’t allow it to sideline your creativity.
  1. When you think the muse has abandoned you, moodle. Moodling is a term coined by writer Brenda Ueland. It means to wander about aimlessly with no thought expended on your creative project. Your muse doesn’t like to be overworked. If you force her, she’ll run away as fast as she can. Give her regular coffee breaks and time to recharge.
  1. Don’t confuse originality with creativity. There are very few truly original ideas. Most creativity comes from filtering outside influences and splicing them together in new ways.
  1. If you think your creative work is perfection incarnate, it probably isn’t. If you think it is pure schlock, it’s probably pretty good. Put your work away for a while – a long while. When you rediscover it and say, “When did elves sneak in and deposit this jewel?” you can bask in the glow of your success.
  1. It’s guaranteed. Someone will reject your creative output. Grow rhino hide and keep at it. Your brilliance will eventually be recognized, even if you have to die first. If you want acceptance before that happens, learn to market yourself.

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