We recently read Hugh MacLeod’s new book, “Ignore Everybody, and 39 Other Keys to Creativity“. You might already be aware of Hugh from his website www.gapingvoid.com, where he has successfully morphed his New York City bar & coffee shop past-time of using the back of a business card for his bizarre cartons and provoking observations into a nice little money-maker, with more than one million people having downloaded “How to be Creative”, his original post which inspired this book.
So essentially we have 40 tips on creativity.
Although Hugh was a copy writer for an advertising agency when he started his little hobby, most of the tips are easily transferable into the lives of songwriters and musicians. So, here’s a little sample of Hugh’s tips along with Namba Gear’s commentary.
Keep Your Day Job
Hugh refers to this as the Sex and Cash Theory (see we told you that you’d like this book). This is about balancing the need to make a good living (cash) while maintaining and nourishing the creative spirit (sex). Hugh provides several examples of individuals who balance this duality, many times throughout their entire lives. His observation is that this is not only a smart way to live, as no one really wants to be a starving artist, but may play a vital role in ultimate success. We all know great musicians who have given up everything to pursue their dreams, only to have it come crashing down; and now they are stock brokers or insurance salesmen or whatever. The “all in” folks rarely seem to make it.
Put The Hours In
“Doing anything worthwhile takes forever”, is the opening statement of this chapter and it’s so true. Hugh is a perfect example as he appears to be an overnight success story, but in reality has been pursuing his craft for over 10 years. We learn from both our successes and our failures, and it seems that long-term success is almost always a result of accumulated experience. “Stamina is utterly important,” says Hugh. If you are working the Sex & Cash Theory, you are staying grounded and the ups and downs of your creative pursuits don’t have the same impact, and you can be in for the long haul.
This is the 1st tip in the book and probably the most relevant. “The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you.” As a musician, there is a great example that came to mind that illustrates this. First thought was The Ramones, who are credited with inventing Punk Rock and continue to be celebrated today. They were so passionate about their music that they created a bubble around themselves and ignored the people who said their music would never be appreciated, much less sell.
That’s just a sampling, but “Ignore Everybody” is a good read with easily applicable tips for the creative songwriter and musician to help you stay the course and enjoy life. (There are also lots of cartoons.) Enjoy.
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