The Day Brightener

Because everyone has the right to be truly free and happy

Don’t Fear the Crayons!

“Theyʼre only crayons. You didnʼt fear them in kindergarten, why fear them now?”

Hugh MacLeod is a cartoonist, and an advertiser who has an absolutely wonderful view on creativity.  I came across his very honest and humorous manifesto yesterday and I would love to share it with you.  Hugh talks about his life experience pursuing his love of cartooning, and tells his most important lessons: ignore everybody, be true to yourself, put in the hard work, be responsible for your own experience, avoid the crowds, keep your day job, and write from the heart.  This is my favourite lesson – No.6: Everyone is born creative.

To read Hugh’s complete and wonderful manifesto (I promise you will get a giggle along the way) go to: 6.HowToBeCreative.pdf

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, “Iʼd like my crayons back, please.”

So youʼve 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 donʼt know where the itch came from; itʼs 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 donʼt know if youʼre any good or not, but youʼd 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 donʼt know any publishers or agents or all these fancy-shmancy kind of folk. You have a friend whoʼs got a cousin in California whoʼs into this kind of stuff, but you havenʼt talked to your friend for over two years…

Besides, if you write a book, what if you canʼt find a publisher? If you write a screenplay, what if you canʼt find a producer? And what if the producer turns out to be a crook? Youʼve always worked hard your whole life; youʼll be damned if youʼll put all that effort into something if there ainʼt no pot of gold at the end of this dumb-ass rainbow…

Heh. Thatʼs not your wee voice asking for the crayons back. Thatʼs your outer voice, your adult voice, your boring and tedious voice trying to find a way to get the wee crayon voice to shut the hell up.

Your wee voice doesnʼt want you to sell something. Your wee voice wants you to make something. Thereʼs a big difference. Your wee voice doesnʼt 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 suc- ceed.

The wee voice didnʼt 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. Thereʼs something you havenʼt said, something you havenʼt 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. Theyʼre only crayons. You didnʼt fear them in kindergarten, why fear them now?

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2011 by in Musings and Reflections and tagged , , , .
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