Tips for Makers.

Tips for makers:

  1. Ignore people’s reactions & advice on new ideas.

People won’t be able to give you much advice if your idea is 98% original.

You don’t know if your idea is any good when you think of it — don’t expect the person next to you to know either.

Originality from an idea might spark fear — let it, carry those ideas through. The better the idea, the less familiar it will be to people around you — yes, even experts or your twin sibling. You might have to keep at it, alone for a bit. This is normal — and you should not let it keep you from exploring.

A favorite professor of mine once left a post it note on my computer…it read : “good ideas alter the power balance in relationships. that is why good ideas are always initially resisted. they don’t exist in a vacuum. good ideas exist in a social context. and not everyone has the same agenda as you.”

Owning your work and making it entirely your own, will be more powerful that whatever the content of it is. It will inspire people far more easily than if you showed them a reinvented design

(2) 10,000 hours is not just a parental response to losing a game.

Doing anything worthwhile and well won’t happen unless you put the hours in.

You don’t have to dedicate every hour of your day to it — find an extra hour or two at the end of your day — and make it productive.

Nobody succeeds by being discovered — those that are discovered have been around for much longer than they appear to have been.

(3) You, and only you, can push yourself to that next level

You’re not gonna know if you’re the next Picasso. At some point, you’re going to think everything you just painted or coded is trash. It might be — or it might not.

You have to try again, because only you can make the decision to push.

You have to ignore the little voice in your head that worries about the future or about how you’re going to climb up that ladder — as long as you see the next step, you can keep climbing. The ladder is uniquely yours, don’t try to take the steps that you already recognize. Because if you do — whatever you end up creating with it won’t be original, and it will probably tank.

(4) You create because something inside you demands it

we all know it would be easier to jump into stable jobs, and want to be really good at math, and try to be a doctor.

people become makers because there is a call deep within them to create. Something that is waiting for its host to articulate in whatever media he or she chooses. The creatives cannot live without creating. We just cant. And we will never know exactly why…

…Which is okay. But we must seriously try to figure at least part of it out. Because if we don’t, we’ll wake up in our rocking chairs later on in life and feel miserably unnacomplished.

You don’t know the answer to everything. Admitting that to yourself is crucial. The urge to make things isn’t going to go away. Whether that takes you 10 minutes or 10 years to accept — is entirely up to you.

(5) Draw your boundary line

Your boundary line is what separates where you want to explore versus where you do not. Draw this early on — because this area is how you get to where you want to go.

If you have to re-assess? It means you learned things. If you never end up having to re-asses, you didn’t push yourself enough. We live in a changing world where no one has any idea what is relevant month to month, nevertheless in 7 or 12 years. Push yourself to learn more, to create more, to explore more — in all areas. Because one thing is pretty much for certain — that if you don’t, you yourself will find yourself no longer relevant.

You won’t be an expert at everything you do — but take your weaknesses and limits — and turn them into strengths or use your strengths to create things that are all about your exploration of those limits.

(6) Stop worrying

People have argued about creativity vs. utility-based tasks since the beginning of time. So its literally a waste of your own time to worry about it too. You’re better off spending that time diving into a new topic that you know absolutely nothing about — it’s the only way this world advances.

People respond to the “you” in whatever you make. In fact, it is impossible to respond to a piece without taking the artist into account. When you and your art become synonymous — that’s when you’ve found your stride.

inspired by essays by David Bayles, Ted Orland, and Hugh MacLeod.