There Is No Right Way to Do This

Two Starting Points to Discover Your Creative Inspiration: Collect and Remix

Image: “Bam in the Pool” by Spime (2021)/Instagram

When it comes to creativity, some incredibly successful artists will give you the very honest secret to success:

“Just start.”

This type of quote is honest because that’s how they got to where they are today — it did all start with one piece of work. (And then another, and another!)

However, a quote like “Just start,” may also leave you with a bajillion other questions.

One of those next questions, when you want to start, is probably something like:

“What do I actually want to do?”

There Is No Right Way to Do This

“What can you make in 20 seconds?”

Image: CHUTTERSNAP/Unsplash

“Life happens.”

There are always going to be days — maybe, even weeks! — where you simply are occupied. On those days, you’ll need some really short, quick, ways to keep making stuff. This is a question I suggest in my book on creativity, There Is No Right Way to Do This:

“What can you make in 20 seconds?”

Vin Verma, who goes by the name Internetvin, has made music and written code every day for a year. One of his techniques is to find a way to do music or code in 20 seconds (e.g., in coding, writing just…

There Is No Right Way to Do This

They actually work best if you wouldn’t call yourself “creative”

Image: Three Butterflies, Herman Henstenburgh/Rijksstudio

Everybody is creative. In fact, being creative is simple.

We’ve forgotten how to do it because we complicate it too much.

We label ourselves as “creative,” or “not creative.” Other people put us — or maybe we put ourselves — into a role.

I can’t remember how many times I’ve quoted this, but it’s so true:

When someone asked artist Shaun Tan when he started drawing, he very accurately pointed out that everybody instinctively draws as a child.

But somewhere along the way, most people stop.

Artists don’t.

For example, visual artist Big Mike paints during his lunch hour at…

A Guide to Better Writing for Personal and Employer Branding

Postlight CEO Paul Ford wrote:

Consider and One is for writing new things and one is for annotating things. But both are web platforms that have users, logins, long-form text, annotations, and rich media. You could, with some stretching, build Medium on top of Genius, or Genius on top of Medium. They’re different under the hood, but it’s not like one is Photoshop and the other is TurboTax. They kind of do the same thing.

Referencing Ford, I said in my conversation with Tom Osman that Discord and Slack were essentially the same product as well. But the…

Dacoury Natche’s creative process reveals simple strategies that anyone can use to power up their creative flow.

Image: Jr Korpa/Unsplash

There’s a fair chance that at some point, Dacoury Natche has been your favorite recording artist’s favorite artist. Even in his early work (like Drake’s “Worst Behavior,” or Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees”), Natche, whose stage name is DJ Dahi, developed his reputation for innovative sounds. His skills shone on the album released near the onset of the pandemic lockdown, Donald Glover’s (aka Childish Gambino’s) 3.15.20. You may also know his work from the Grammy-winning song “A Lot,” by 21 Savage featuring J. Cole.

When I was researching my book, I interviewed Natche about his creative process. …

The Anatomy of a Frankensteined Zettelkasten

The full version of this article is available at my website. I’d prefer you read it there!

I was talking to Bryan Collins before we recorded an episode for his Become a Writer Today podcast recently, and the Zettelkasten note cards have changed the way he writes. We talked about it because he found it through my Forge piece on it, and it also changed the way I wrote and worked. If you have no idea what a Zettelkasten is, that’s the prequel to this piece.

If you’re an OG Star Wars fan or hate prequels for whatever reason (and…

There Is No Right Way to Do This

On the day Beeple’s collage sold for nearly $70 million in cryptocurrency, he did what he did for thousands of days before. He created an image. That day, it turned out to be a giant naked body with the head of Buzz Lightyear, posing beside a beige giant retro computer, set to a blue-ish red sky.

Beeple started doing his everydays project in May 2007, committing to completing and publishing a drawing each day before midnight after seeing Tom Judd’s work. “It’s a really great way to learn new skills or hone your existing ones,” he says to Vice.

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” Jay-Z famously raps on the Diamonds remix. There’s a lot of chatter at Twitter about individual people (“creators”) scaling up million dollar businesses. I thought Elaine Pofeldt did it first, but apparently micro ISVs have been around. Either way, this is a growing possibility for more people because of a combination of technology and skills that these people use:

Most of us spend our time in our work; we’re laboring and toiling away to get our tasks done, either for ourselves, for our clients, or for our employers. But every hour we…

How Shopify’s corporate engineering blog is written

A conversation with Shopify Senior Managing Editor Anita Clarke reveals:

  • The promotional efforts involved in doubling the Shopify engineering blog’s growth for three years in a row
  • The education and incentives that motivate busy software engineers to write
  • How an Engineering Communications team operates and plans content strategy to get over 10,000 people reading each month

Disclaimer: I have examined the Shopify Engineering blog’s posts and corresponded with senior managing editor Anita Clarke to understand its inner workings. …

Without major platform overhauls, the creator’s gold rush will come to an end

Adult woman preparing a meal and chopping fresh ingredients in front of a video camera on a tripod.
Adult woman preparing a meal and chopping fresh ingredients in front of a video camera on a tripod.
Photo: 10'000 Hours/DigitalVision/Getty Images

In 2020, YouTube’s highest earner, according to Forbes, was nine-year-old Ryan Kaji, who made $29.5 million — up from $26 million in 2019. Gaining fame through unboxing and reviewing toys, Kaji surged to the top of YouTube’s charts after publishing a 2015 video in which he reviews more than 100 toys, and he’s remained there ever since. Drawing inspiration from other YouTubers like EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya, who also reviewed toys, Kaji and his mother started the channel when he was three years old. …

Herbert Lui

I write about personal and collective growth. Author ‘There Is No Right Way to Do This’

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