On Creativity: Review of Hugh MacLeod “Ignore Everybody”

Hugh MacLeod’s “Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity” is a brilliant book, especially if you think you are under confident about your creative ideas.

Hugh has a cartoon based blog at GapingVoid.com and also writes about aspects of creativity. Here are some key points I found useful from his book.

  • Ignore Everybody else and just get on with building your own idea. He talks about doing these little cartoons on the back of business cards in his spare time and how everyone thought it was a waste of time. But he persisted and over time, it turned into the basis of a new creative career. The point is that people will cut you down and criticise but your creativity is important and your expression will make it in time. So, as hard as it is, ignore everyone and write that book, or make that sculpture, or draw, paint, create your own way.
  • Everyone is born creative. Don’t be afraid of trying something out. We start off being enthusiastic about creation but then we fear judgement or failure or criticism and we just stop. Time to get over it and get creating. Don’t take yourself too seriously!

  • Do it for yourself. No one else cares. Everyone has their own life to lead, their own creative experiments to try. Yours is yours alone, so do it for yourself. If you don’t get positive feedback, try not to care. If you want to write this book, then do it for you and publish 1 copy and put it on your bookshelf and be proud of yourself. That is your achievement. Don’t anguish over being discovered or being praised by others. It may not happen – or it may happen on Book 5. So get writing, get creating and see where your journey leads you. It is no one else’s path.
  • Keep your day job and put the hours into creating outside of that. I like the reality of this. Hugh kept his job for years before the blog and the cartoons took off. It is no fun being a poor creative, so keep the day job. It also jhelps balance your creativity with practicality. If you had to sit all day trying to create, you might run out of juice, so ease into it. But you still need to put the hours in and find the time to create outside of the day job. (Hey, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!)
  • Start blogging. You know I love blogging too so I was stoked to find this in a creativity book! Hugh talks about turning his blog into a book and recommends authors blog in order to write and also market a book. He does add that it takes a couple of years of posting to get noticed, but if you love it, the time flies!

You can find Hugh’s book on Amazon. You can find him on Gaping Void and also on Twitter @gapingvoid

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