It's Time to Take Back Your Crayons
While traveling the blogsphere (that ultra-hip term for the ever-expanding world of web logs), I've come across the name Hugh McCleod a number of times. Finally, I decided to find out what all the buzz was about. McCleod is a UK-based marketing and advertising consultant known for the artwork he creates on the backs of business cards, among other things.Sounds vaguely amusing until you read his many online writings collectively called "How to Be Creative." It's fascinating stuff. McCleod has a few ideas that depart from my general philosophies -- but I'm glad he's out there making me (and many other people) think about their creative pursuits and place in the world.
One of his postings that really grabbed me is titled "I'd Like My Crayons Back, Please." Here's an excerpt:
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."
So you've got the itch to do something. Write a screenplay, start a painting, write a book, turn your recipe for fudge brownies into a proper business, whatever. You don't know where the itch came from; it's almost like it just arrived on your doorstep, uninvited. Until now you were quite happy holding down a real job, being a regular person ...
You don't know if you're any good or not, but you'd think you could be. And the idea terrifies you. The problem is, even if you are good, you know nothing about this kind of business ...
Besides, if you write a book, what if you can't find a publisher? If you write a screenplay, what if you can't find a producer? And what if the producer turns out to be a crook? You've always worked hard your whole life. You'll be damned if you'll put all that effort into something if there ain't no pot of gold at the end of this dumb-ass rainbow ...
Heh. That's not your wee voice asking for the crayons back. That's your outer voice, your adult voice, your boring and tedious voice trying to find a way to get the wee crayon voice to shut the hell up.
Your wee voice doesn't want you to sell something. Your wee voice wants you to make something. There's a big difference. Your wee voice doesn't give a damn about publishers or Hollywood producers.
Go ahead and make something. Make something really special. Make something amazing that will really blow the mind of anybody who sees it.
If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.
Read the entire "I’d Like My Crayons Back, Please" piece here. And when you have some spare time, poke around McCleod's entire "How to Be Creative" collection, which is also available at the Change This web site.