Ignore everybody

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This is the title of a book by Hugh MacLeod. Actually, it’s Ignore Everybody and 39 other keys to creativity. I read it yesterday when some mystery illness rendered me incapable of getting out of my bed. By mid-afternoon, I needed to look at something else apart from my pillow and the inside of my eyelids. Hugh’s book fitted the bill.

If you haven’t come across his work before, he draws cartoons on the back of business cards. He has been doing this for over a decade. So no overnight sensation.

He has some sharp insights into how to survive as a creative person in a world which may not welcome your ideas with open arms and chequebooks. In fact, lots of people – the ones in charge of the arms, gates and the cheques – might not let you get past the first three words of your idea before they reject it. “Next.”

So you need a strategy to avoid getting ground down. Mr M. has plenty. The most important of which, IMHO, is to wrest control back from the naysayers and hold it close to your own heart.

If you love doing the creative work, and can find some way to eat daily, then you are a creative person who chooses to create whatever it is you like to create. Beholden to no-one. No-one has control over your product but you. No-one can tinker with it, dictate the colours, the size, the shape, the number of words or just move the moon a bit to the left. And that is a very powerful feeling.

I’m almost glad I was ill.

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