There’s a newly published little book on creativity by Hugh MacLeod that I think you should read. Why? Try a sample of vintage Hugh from his CDF (Crazy Deranged Fools) newsletter, dated today. He starts out by addressing us as dear crazy deranged fools, and I love that. MacLeod (aka @gapingvoid) writes:
“Here’s the reality: The Creative Bug will give you everything, and it will take from you, everything. It will cost you your life, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
But knowing this, of course, is what ultimately sets you free.”
The book has stuck with me ever since I read an early version in pdf so I am thrilled to be able to recommend it to you. Despite the irreverent title and the surface cartoonishness of it, Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity is a serious book. It might scare you, it might help you. It will probably surprise you. It has profanity, just so you know. Also line drawing cartoons, smart ones. And some amazing insights into the creative process.
I think good cartoonists, including Hugh MacLeod, are some of the smartest, most perceptive and observant and aware people around. And MacLeod certainly is well aware of the tortuous potential creative people risk facing — and living — every day. For anyone who wants to understand the creative process or seeks insight to use in self-coaching or even coaching or managing or working around creative people, this is an important book.
So consider taking in some of the wisdom from a guy who lived Madison Avenue ad agency style stuff and walked away to do his own thing – drawing on business cards and a whole lot more. He’s also blogging and on Twitter, hawking his drawings and prints and some kind of fancy winery in backwater Texas and … saying stuff.
Even though MacLeod tells you to ignore everybody, you might want to take a gander at what he’s written about the creative process because it might speak to you the way it did to me. I think you’ll get something valuable out of it.
Pick up a copy of the book already. It is a gem.