Ignore Everybody. That is the name of the book I picked up in 2009. I was interested in self starting a business (I wanted people to pay me to blog) which lead me to people like Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin. I read Seth’s Small is the New Big and almost instantly knew in my bones I was on the right path. I was compelled to start fresh with a new domain and a new blog. Seth also turned me on to copywriter turned professional cartoonist, Hugh MacLeod (Gaping Void). Hugh began his career much like mine, an artist behind a desk, somewhere in Manhattan, scribbling cartoons on the back of business cards. Hugh is a tell-it-how-it-is kind of guy. He doesn’t sugar coat. He will tell you point blank, turning a hobby into a job is not a good idea in fact its a bad one. I appreciate that. I read his book cover to cover and almost immediately went out and ordered one of his illustrations. It’s hanging on the wall of my office to my left. When I glance up I see the words IGNORE EVERYBODY, translation don’t worry what other people are doing do what you love. I took that message to heart and walked away from a dry desk job. I bought a fancy camera. But I failed to follow Hugh’s advice on page 30, keep your day job. I put the cart, the cart being expensive camera gear before the proverbial work horse (zero shoots on the books). A financial disaster brewing. Almost four years and two blogs later, I’m re-reading the books and thinking hard about what I do with my camera and how much of the day I devote myself to my craft. Here are a few of my favorite pearls of wisdom from Hugh, highlighted in my copy of his book.
- You are responsible for your own experience.
- Everyone is born creative, everyone is given a box of crayons in Kindergarten.
- Sing in your own voice.
- Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.
- Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic is a complete waste of time.
- Remain frugal.
- Allow your work to age with you.
This year I decided to slow down and shoot less. I’m sure I am not alone in the feeling that my best work remains unseen, invisibly stored away on hard drives and loft cloudspace. I want to take the time to go through some of my work during these past three and a half years and apply new editing tools and hopefully refined skills. I just want to shoot for awhile with no direction, no end goal, no daily prompt.
I want to finish editing my prized Foo Fighter photos (say that three times fast!). Maybe apply a few VSCO filters.
I want to see how many rings I can get when I shoot into the sun. Just because.
I want to finish editing my vacation photos.
From last summer.
I want someone to take over as the driver for a while so I can just enjoy the scenery.
Taking a step back is a great way to get perspective. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to see the forest through the trees. Its also a great way to invigorate and refresh your creative spirit. Have you ever considered taking a break from what you do? If only for a short while? If you wanted to but haven’t what held you back?