Saturday, November 20, 2004

Curious about Creatives? Meet Hugh Macleod

One of the most fascinating facts of blogging and reading blogs by bloggers is that you meet some of the most interesting - and also opinionated - people. One blogger whose words drew me in - I ended up reading his whole manifesto - is Hugh “cartoons drawn on the back of business cards” Macleod. Hugh is a creative director who writes about how to be creative in a non-creative world in his blog at .

He has a whole list of rules that will make you think about your relationship with creativity. For example, #6 states, “Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, `I’d like my crayons back, please.’”

I think the part of Hugh’s manifesto that hit me the hardest is when he warns the creative person that, professionally, we need to know “when to draw the red line that separates what we are willing to do and what we are not.”

I do website design and development. I also write, speak and tell stories professionally. When one is a freelancer and independent professional, there are times when we are incredibly busy and other times when it is easy to start worrying about paying the bills. This is when that red line can be compromised and easily turned to pink.

To avoid that happening to his cartoon work, Hugh keeps his day job - which he does enjoy and finds creative.

The way I have and do deal with it is to have enough careers that if one isn’t working for me, I can drop it and go to another. I have also learned how to be much pickier about those I work with and for. I will never be unhappy about not starting a creative job for someone who upfront spells, “Trouble.”

Finally, I have posted these final words from Hugh Macleod right beside my work area, “A Picasso always looks like Picasso painted it. Hemingway always sounds like Hemingway. A Beethoven symphony always sounds like a Beethoven’s symphony. Part of being a Master is learning how to sing in nobody else’s voice but your own.”

A lot of words to think about and act upon!