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Creativity Porn…and how to avoid it

Scott Andrew on music business porn:

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday about this. He’s an aspiring writer and has interest in doing voiceover work, and he suffers from the same sort of “how-to” overload. It’s easy (and strangely comforting) to spend way too much time reading articles on how to be a successful songwriter, or a bestselling novelist, or a great illustrator, or whatever.

Worse, there’s a whole industry whose existence depends on keeping creative-yet-insecure artists (and I’ve never met one who wasn’t a little insecure) in that limbo state of reading and thinking about things they want to do, instead of actually doing them. They’re counting on you to feel just unsure enough to buy the next tape in the series. You end up mistaking a passive activity for real action. It’s like trying to become a tennis pro by reading books on tennis — forever.

So my co-worker and I, we’re gonna write a book: “How To Stop Reading How-to Books.” Followed shortly by a series of seminars entitled “How You Too Can Write A ‘How To Stop Reading How-to Books’ Book (and Earn Millions!)”

Gaping void extends the concept.

It’s also easy sometimes for creative types to start doing “busy work” not because it is productive but because it provides the illusion you are actually accomplishing something. Yes, I include blogging in that category. (But I promise: After I push Publish, I’m closing my web browsers and revising my short story!)

Funny thing about Scott Andrew. That name sounded familiar. I think I shook hands with him briefly at South by Southwest Interactive. He performed at Fray Cafe one year, and frankly, I thought his music sucked. Then he showed up at the exact same event one or two years later, and he was just the world’s most awesome singer (and ended up buying one of his CDs!) Honestly, I have no idea whether Scott had changed or whether I had. One lesson to be learned here is that you can’t judge a performer on the basis of a single performance.Scott Andrew has a demo club with mp3s from gigs and previous bands. Lots of stuff here for free!

See also: My random thoughts on creativity.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • scottandrew 8/3/2007, 1:37 am

    Truth is, I probably did suck back then. A lot. I’m glad I won you over eventually 🙂 Thanks for sharing that bit!

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