Stop Talking So Much About “Art.”

Shut Up And Just Make Something Real.

These days, there’s an art to talking about art.

I don’t necessarily mean a certain look or “style” (but there is that, too).

But there’s a certain way of being. And it drives me crazy.

I don’t like people that talk a lot about “art” and “creating” when all I see them creating is more about the creation of the art.

They’ll tack on cool words about hustling, productivity, word counts and goal setting, but all they have to show for it is a blog post about hustling, productivity, word counts and the importance of goal setting.

Where’s the actual stuff? You know, the result of the inspiration that they talk so much about? Where’s the emotion? Where’s the story? What’s the result of all that fake expert opinion?

I really loved this post by Sean Blanda on 99u, a site that quite frankly can fall into the “art of the art” trap. Speaking more specifically to the design expert crowd, he tells everyone to slow down. This quote is form his piece that describes the vicious loop

“In these pitches there’s nothing to suggest the person has any original experience or research or insight to offer said advice. Instead they choose to quote other people who quote other people and the insights can often be traced back in a recursive loop. Their interest is not in making the reader’s life any better, it is in building their own profile as some kind of influencer or thought leader. Or, most frustratingly, they all reference the same company case studies (Hello, Apple and Pixar!), the same writers, or the same internet thinkers.”

You probably didn’t see that piece passed around much. It’s not too popular. No one likes to be called out. Even when they deserve to be.

There’s an art to “being an artist.” There’s also an art to the con.

Maybe we should lay some ground rules?

  • For every post about writing style, show a short story or poem or an excerpt from your novel.
  • For every post with writing tips, show some writing that isn’t about “writing.”
  • For every post about productivity, show some work that wasn’t about making a work about productivity.
  • For every post about creating a viral post, show a viral post that isn’t about going viral.

Of course, these are impossible to implement.

Sound hard? It is. Talking about art is easy. Creating art is tough.

And I’d like to see more people put their money where their blabbering mouth already is.


I promise to always be working on something that has nothing to do with the “art of art.”

I like to write about process. It’s fun. It’s enlightening. It is an easy break from some of the knottier writing problems.

But if I’m not actually creating, then I shouldn’t publish anything about process or creativity or focus or whatever.

So what am I working on? I write and work on marketing campaigns for a day job. I’m putting the finishing touches on a novel. I just completed a novella manuscript. For shorter stuff and random observations, I’m working on Vaguely Feel. And bam, an idea for another novel has come up recently. I need to get some stuff down on that before it fades away.


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I’m Josh Spilker, a writer and author. I blog about the writing process at Create, Make, Write. For more like this, sign up for my newsletter here.