Forget inspiration and talent, observe the little things, and better output through better input

Heya folks,

Welcome back to another edition of Sharing Notes!

Forget inspiration and talent

I recently came across these two quotes from Octavia Butler: "Forget about inspiration, because it's more likely to be a reason not to write, as in, 'I can't write today because I'm not inspired,'" and "Forget about talent, whether or not you have any. Because it doesn't really matter." The only rule to making art is simply working, as taught by Sister Corita Kent in her ten rules for teachers and students. Erica Jong says, "Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads."

Observe the little things

Rainer Maria Rilke says, "For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things." René Magritte said his goal was "to breath new life into the way we look at the ordinary things around us." "The most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles," says Michel de Montaigne. Part of the job of the artist is to help us be a little more mindful in this way. One of my favorite ways of practicing this is the Lynda Barry journal method.

Better output through better input

I remember Erykah Badu saying that there are "download" periods in her creative process. Ted Gioia says, "If you don't have good input, you cannot maintain good output." He goes on to say, "I spend two hours a day writing, but I spend three to four hours a day reading and two to three hours a day listening to music." For me, that means avoiding YouTube and Spotify and just about anything with an algorithmic agenda. It means feeding myself with things I actually like, that actually fill my creative spirit, instead of channel surfing to see "what's on TV" (if you'll forgive the wacky mixed metaphors).

Meme moment


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