Blog October 8, 2007

Everyone is born creative

ideas.jpg
Reflecting on the enterprise bootcamp reminded me of Hugh McLeod’s wonderful treatise on how to be creative. You can read the full document here. My favourite chapter from it is I’d like my crayons back please.

Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, “I�d like my crayons back, please.”
So you’ve got the itch to do something. Write a screenplay, start a painting, write a book, turn your recipe for fudge brownies into a proper business, whatever. You don’t know where the itch came from, it’s almost like it just arrived on your doorstep, uninvited. Until now you were quite happy holding down a real job, being a regular person…
Until now.
You don’t know if you’re any good or not, but you’d think you could be. And the idea terrifies you. The problem is, even if you are good, you know nothing about this kind of business. You don’t know any publishers or agents or all these fancy-shmancy kind of folk. You have a friend who’s got a cousin in California who’s into this kind of stuff, but you haven’t talked to your friend for over two years…
Besides, if you write a book, what if you can’t find a publisher? If you write a screenplay, what if you can’t find a producer? And what if the producer turns out to be a crook? You’ve always worked hard your whole life, you’ll be damned if you’ll put all that effort into something if there ain’t no pot of gold at the end of this dumb-ass rainbow…
Heh. That’s not your wee voice asking for the crayons back. That’s your outer voice, your adult voice, your boring & tedious voice trying to find a way to get the wee crayon voice to shut the hell up.
Your wee voice doesn’t want you to sell something. Your wee voice wants you to make something. There’s a big difference. Your wee voice doesn’t give a damn about publishers or Hollywood producers.
Go ahead and make something. Make something really special. Make something amazing that will really blow the mind of anybody who sees it.
If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.
The wee voice didn’t show up because it decided you need more money or you need to hang out with movie stars. Your wee voice came back because your soul somehow depends on it. There’s something you haven’t said, something you haven’t done, some light that needs to be switched on, and it needs to be taken care of. Now.
So you have to listen to the wee voice or it will die… taking a big chunk of you along with it.
They’re only crayons. You didn’t fear them in kindergarten, why fear them now?

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  • Conn October 8, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    That’s very dangerous talk Annette. If we start listening to that little voice, anything could happen! 😉
    Wonderful!

  • annette October 8, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    it is isn’t it Conn – it’s a gorgeous piece though and I’d forgotten all about it until this week..looks like you have lots of crayons to play with over at digiculture!

  • Conn October 8, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    I hadn’t read this piece before, but I make no secret about having been influenced heavily by Hugh’s writing in general.
    I think entrepreneurs should print this and frame it: 🙂

    Go ahead and make something. Make something really special. Make something amazing that will really blow the mind of anybody who sees it.
    If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.

  • Mairead October 18, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Annette, Love this but wonder if it is a case of mid-life crisis! I have so many friends writing books etc as a form of therapy……I just make goo bread and butter pudding for friends ! Mairead

  • annette October 18, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Hey Mairead – creativity comes in many shapes and forms…I wish I could make eatable bread and butter pudding (yum!)..I envy people who are good cooks..and I think you are right about the mid life crisis – I tend to think that mid life is all about remembering what you’ve forgotten and managing the disappointment about how life has turned out and then….picking up the crayons or the bread and butter and making something different …