Bad Advice Wednesday: Observe. Do. Think. Make.

categories: Cocktail Hour

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Observing. Doing. Thinking. Making.


The big four.


This is my fairly simple, and perhaps oversimplified, philosophy of creativity.


It’s not perfect but discipline yourself to do these and odds are, if you have some talent to start with, you will not suck as an artist.


Observing for me means active watching, often with pen in hand. Looking for longer than you would look if there was nothing at stake.

Doing springs from observing. Hey, that osprey just dove in the water. Maybe I should dive off a pier and try to catch a fish with my hands? Or maybe I should follow these birds when they fly to Cuba?

Thinking means brooding and active problem solving.  Almost everything in writing comes down to “This is the problem” and then “Here is a creative way to solve it.”  (Walking by the way, lots of it, is a great way to think.)

Making is the act of creating itself. A risk, a gamble, a jump, a connection, a spark. Everyone has these moments. But it’s the artist’s job to give them a consistent place, a regular time, and, with luck, a new form.  

But, you say….

How could I possibly forget talking?

And what about drinking?

I would argue that drinking is an aid, not an essential, an aid in the same way that walking, running, smoking, meditating, napping, tubbing, snorkeling, etc. are. (Just don’t tell me drinking is inessential at 5 O’Clock)


Well if what I am proposing here is a philosophy of creativity then all the other activities together add up to something like the big L.

And fucking? Hey watch it buddy, this is a PG establishment.


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