Tag Archives | Creativity

“Do What You Love” is Terrible Advice for Creative People

Artist at Work 2 by enjosmith via Flickr. CC by 2.0

Artist at Work 2 by enjosmith via Flickr. CC by 2.0

I’m curious to see what everyone here thinks about this.

via Medium:

Is there a more common piece of career advice today than “do what you love?” I’ve heard it for ages. I certainly think that being in a bad job can be soul-crushing experience, and that liking your work lightens your life considerably.

But in the course of studying the lives of creative people, I’ve come to the ironic conclusion that for writers, artists, and just about everyone, “do what you love” is actually terrible advice.

Here’s what’s wrong with it: it’s unnecessary.

The problem with the “do what you love” mantra is in how we follow it, which is with a single-mindedness that carries unnecessary risk. We interpret “do what you love” to mean “Do only what you love and nothing else,” and the implication of that is that if you don’t practice this kind of creative monogamy, you’re being untrue to yourself.

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Writing Is a Risky, Humiliating Endeavor

A Stipula fountain pen lying on a written piece of paper. By Antonio Litterio via Wikimedia Commons.

A Stipula fountain pen lying on a written piece of paper. By Antonio Litterio via Wikimedia Commons.

I follow the New York Times Opinionator on my Feedly account and this popped up the other day. I thought some of you artist/writer types might find it interesting.

via The New York Times (Please follow the link to read the entire piece):

This essay was born when my ex-wife unfriended me on Facebook. She was angry over my last novel, though to my mind, the resemblances to her and me were superficial. The story — which involves kidnapping, murder, private eyes — was clearly not “about” us. I was shocked and saddened — I’d hoped she would like the book — but this was not the first time I’d had this sort of experience.

My mom had more or less taken ownership of the “Mom” in my first novel, who shared a few of her characteristics, like red hair and a habit of sending notes — but who had some key differences too, like being dead.

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Communing with the Muse, Letting History be its Sexy Self and Coping with Tragedy. With Philosopher, Author and Top-Notch Human, Daniele Bolelli

Via Midwest Real
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Daniele Bolelli“Once you lose attachment to how you want things to be because you realize you don’t control anything, there’s a curiously liberating aspect of that. I’ve always been a control freak, I’ve always felt that if I try hard enough, everyone I love will be kept safe and everything will be okay. Being shown, in such brutal terms, that that’s simply not the way it works, in someways, it messed me up.  I’ve been through hell, but on another level, if you pile up so much tragedy, it either destroys you, or you just start laughing about it. Because at the end of the day, no one gets out alive.” Daniele Bolelli

When a certain type of person achieves monetary success and notoriety, one of their first moves is to cultivate some sort of bullshit persona.  I’m talking a VIP, tinted window, sunglasses on indoors set of behaviors.  What exactly is that?  I’ll tell you, it’s fear.… Read the rest

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Electrode-Wearing Writer May Reveal Neurological Roots of Creativity

Picture: Michael Neagle (C)

Picture: Michael Neagle (C)

Dutch novelist Arnon Grunberg is participating in a neuroscience experiment that will shed some light on how art is created and experienced:

New York Times:

Over the past two weeks, Mr. Grunberg has spent several hours a day writing his novella, while a battery of sensors and cameras tracked his brain waves, heart rate, galvanic skin response (an electrical measure of emotional arousal) and facial expressions. Next fall, when the book is published, some 50 ordinary people in the Netherlands will read it under similarly controlled circumstances, sensors and all.

Researchers will then crunch the data in the hope of finding patterns that may help illuminate links between the way art is created and enjoyed, and possibly the nature of creativity itself.

“Will readers of Arnon’s text feel they understand or embody the same emotions he had while he was writing it, or is reading a completely different process?” said Ysbrand van der Werf, a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, who designed the experiment with Jan van Erp of the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research.

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There is No Such Thing as An Original Idea

big-mickDavid Lose writes:

Creativity is all the rage these days: what it is, how you develop it, the various ways in which you express it. A slew of bestselling books, including my favorite Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer, offers insight into the nature, origin and application of our fundamental, foundational, and phenomenal ability to engage in creative acts.

While the approaches and analyses differ somewhat at various points, one of the major points of convergence revolves around destroying the myth of the “solitary genius.” Creativity doesn’t, in other words, happen in a vacuum – creative ideas are always inspired, nurtured, cajoled, and spurred forward by other ideas. Which means that creative people are always drawing on the work of others, consciously or unconsciously.

Mark Twain said much the same in a letter to Helen Keller, reflecting on an incident years earlier when she had been charged – and acquitted – of plagiarism:

Oh, dear me, how unspeakably funny and owlishly idiotic and grotesque was that ‘plagiarism’ farce!

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Patti Smith’s Advice to Creative Youth

The ‘kernel of wisdom’ type speeches are usually a dime a dozen, but this one really hits the nail on the head. Everyone’s a poet, a musician, a painter in college. Those that are still at it a decade later may not necessarily be more talented than the ones that gave it up, or made a hobby out of it. No. They’re the ones that are hooked. Also, was there any irony in Burroughs suggesting to keep your name “clean”?

From Laughing Squid:

“You don’t do your work and say ‘I only want the cool people to read it’…”

In August 2012, punk’s grand dame Patti Smith was interviewed at the Louisiana Literature festival and doled out some fantastic advice to young creative people (truly it’s an inspiring listen for all creative types).

Video.

Patti Smith: Advice to the young from Louisiana Channel on Vimeo.

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Peter Bebergal Interviews Alan Moore on Creativity, Magic and More

2158181-alan_mooreToo Much to Dream author Peter Bebergal recently interviewed legendary comic book author and practicing magician Alan Moore for The Believer magazine. I think that disinfonauts will find it an entertaining read.

The Believer:

BLVR: Where do you think human consciousness fits into that? Is it somehow separate from it?

AM: If time is an illusion, then all movement and change are also illusions. So the only thing that gives us the illusion of movement and change and events and time is the fact that our consciousness is moving through this mass along the time axis. If you imagine it as a strip of celluloid, each of those individual cells is motionless. If they each represent a moment, they’re unchanging. They’re not going anywhere, but as the projector beam of our consciousness passes across them, it provides the illusion of movement, and narrative and cause and effect and circumstances.

BLVR: You also believe that we can change the aperture of that projector through various processes like magic, or other ways of shaping consciousness.

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Coffee vs. Beer: Which Drink Makes You More Creative?

Photo: ondrej.lipar (CC)

Photo: ondrej.lipar (CC)

Mikael Cho, Co-Founder of @ooomf, takes advantage of a ban on drinking water in Montreal to test out coffee versus beer in the creativity stakes, writing at Medium:

What is creativity really?
From a scientific perspective, creativity is your ability to think of something original from connections made between pre-existing ideas in your brain.

These connections are controlled by neurotransmitters like adenosine, which alerts your brain when you’re running out of energy and reacts by slowing down the connections made between neurons by binding to adenosine receptors.

Adenosine is kind of like your brain’s battery status monitor. Once your energy levels get low, adenosine alerts your brain and starts to slow down brain functioning.

This is why after a few hours of intense work, you begin to feel tired, like your brain has run out of juice.

The only way to recharge it is to take a break; unless, you’ve got a secret weapon handy.

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Does Prozac Help Artists Be Creative?

Prozac pills croppedHas creativity been squelched in our Prozac nation? Alex Preston discusses whether or not SSRI antidepressant drugs “hamper the creative process, extinguishing the spark that produces great art, or do they enhance artistic endeavour?” in the Guardian:

Twenty-five years after pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly unleashed Prozac on the red-braced 80s, SSRIs are still the world’s most popular antidepressants. They are swallowed by more than 40 million people, from Beijing to Beirut, knitting a web of happiness from New York to New Caledonia. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, of which Prozac is the best known, are the defining drug of the modern age, the crutch of choice for the worried well. In the US, where one in 10 takes antidepressants, you can buy beef-flavoured Prozac for your dog, trademarked Reconcile. The Prozac revolution has not only changed the way we think about depression (aided by Eli Lilly’s mammoth advertising campaign); it has also changed the way we think, full stop.

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Future of Work: Finding Value in the Rejects of the Job Economy


Nick Meador outlines a project called Funding My Existence, intended to enable creative visionaries to act as stewards of our society’s future, on h+ Magazine:

Unless one is capable of staying in what our society has deemed a “normal” state of consciousness for 20-40 hours per week, week after week, one cannot “make a living.” I for one agree with [Bucky] Fuller’s argument that no one should have to make a living. If the time and energy required to pay bills and feed ourselves prevents us from actually making the changes and progress that we envision in the world, then we are in trouble and we have also lost our link with America’s founding mission statement to guarantee “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” to all.

At the very least, FME could be an information hub and support network for those pigeonholed into various subordinate groups, such as people on the autism spectrum, people undergoing spiritual emergencies, and more.

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