“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.”
creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.
“That’s all any of us are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.” —Charlie Chaplin
When Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke was asked what he thought his greatest strength was, he answered, “That I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Like one of his heroes, Tom Waits, whenever Yorke feels like his songwriting is getting too comfortable or stale, he’ll pick up an instrument he doesn’t know how to play and try to write with it.
The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.
If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.
Audiences not only want to stumble across great work, but they, too, long to be creative and part of the creative process. By letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work, which helps us move more of our product.
“You have to make stuff,” said journalist David Carr when he was asked if he had any advice for students. “No one is going to give a damn about your résumé; they want to see what you have made with your own little fingers.”
“Put yourself, and your work, out there every day, and you’ll start meeting some amazing people.” —Bobby Solomon
As publicist Lauren Cerand says, “Post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you.”
Always be sure to run everything you share with others through The “So What?” Test. Don’t overthink it; just go with your gut. If you’re unsure about whether to share something, let it sit for 24 hours. Put it in a drawer and walk out the door. The next day, take it out and look at it with fresh eyes. Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?”
“If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.” —Kenneth Goldsmith
“Carving out a space for yourself online, somewhere where you can express yourself and share your work, is still one of the best possible investments you can make with your time.” —Andy Baio
There’s not as big of a difference between collecting and creating as you might think. A lot of the writers I know see the act of reading and the act of writing as existing on opposite ends of the same spectrum: The reading feeds the writing, which feeds the reading. “I’m basically a curator,” says the writer and former bookseller Jonathan Lethem.
“‘The cat sat on a mat’ is not a story. ‘The cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is a story.” —John le Carré
“When people realize they’re being listened to, they tell you things.” —Richard Ford
When I was in college, there was always one classmate in every creative writing workshop who claimed, “I love to write, but I don’t like to read.” It was evident right away that you could pretty much write that kid off completely. As every writer knows, if you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first.
Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.
“Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.” —Derek Sivers
“An amateur is an artist who supports himself with outside jobs which enable him to paint,” said artist Ben Shahn. “A professional is someone whose wife works to enable him to paint.”