How to be Creative

Last week when I was in my public library, I came across this fabulous book: Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod.

I ended up checking it out. I loved the author’s tips on making a living as a creative person.

Here are the specific keys that spoke to me:

Key #3 – Put the hours in.

“Doing anything worthwhile takes forever. Ninety percent of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort, and stamina.”

Key #7 – Everyone is born creative.

“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.”

Key #25 – Don’t worry about inspiration.

“If you’re looking at a blank piece of paper and nothing comes to you, then go do something else. Writer’s block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you should feel the need to say something.”

This book is based on the author’s very popular blog post, How to Be Creative, which can be downloaded for free in this nicely designed PDF. I highly recommend that you check it out. :)

Do ya’ll have of list of key things or a manifesto that help you live your life as a creative person?


  1. says

    I’ve never heard of this book, really interesting!

    I love the point about not worrying about inspiration. I had a friend growing up who was incredibly creative, and I was always so jealous of that, and worried as a writer I could never live up. Over time I’ve come to realize we each have our own creativity, and while I wouldn’t call my thoughts zany, they’re entirely individual, and creative in their own way.

    • says

      I had never heard of it either so I was really happy when I stumbled across it in my public library. Yes, every one is creative in their own way — it’s what’s makes us unique.

      Ha, ha. No comment on the zany thoughts.

  2. Meredith says

    I haven’t heard of this book or the blog post that spawned it, so thanks for pointing it out! I’m going to read the whole thing, but those points you highlighted are awesome. It’s so true that writing is hard freaking work, man, and unless you put in the hours, you’re not going to reap the reward. So true.

  3. says

    I’m a big believer on the “10,000 hours” idea of Malcolm Gladwell – essentially that anyone can master any skill if they put in 10,000 hours of practice. So if I’m not feeling my mojo on something, or it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, I remind myself it’s all part of my 10,000 hours and it’s going to make me a better writer in the long run.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. :) I’m also a big fan of the 10K rule as well. Most overnight successes you hear about really aren’t that at all. They usually don’t show the years of “work” the artist put in before hand.

    • says

      I think you will really enjoy this one. You should go and download the PDF as well. Great layout and formatting. Something you’ll want to add to your craft/inspirational toolbox.

  4. says

    This book sounds great! I love the tips. #25 is smart but I think writers need to also push themselves to try writing in SOME way rather than doing something else every time they lack inspiration. Otherwise, they may never find it!

  5. says

    Thank your for posting some of his tips and directing me to the links. This all rang true, especially about not imitating others and how we have unique voices.

    The hours must be put in. When I started out I didn’t have the discipline to sit for long to write. Manuscripts don’t get finished or polished without this. I also take a break when I’m blocked. I don’t really even have blocks since I outline, but when it’s difficult to write I have to step away. When I come back the words flow.

    • says

      Putting in the hours is my biggest struggle since my time is so limited. But this is the only way that novels happen. You have to make the most of your time.

      You should definitely download the PDF. Even though I read the book, I love having the PDF to refer back to when I need some inspiration. :)

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