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Breaking Rules

Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.: Your plan for getting your work out there has to be as original as the actual work, perhaps even more so. The work has to create a totally new market. There’s no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one.

If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.: The pain of making the necessary sacrifices always hurts more than you think it’s going to. It sucks. That being said, doing something seriously creative is one of the most amazing experiences one can have, in this or any other lifetime. If you can pull it off, it’s worth it. Even if you don’t end up pulling it off, you’ll learn many incredible, magical, valuable things. It’s NOT doing it when you know you full well you HAD the opportunity- that hurts FAR more than any failure.

Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.: The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.

Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.: Everybody is too busy with their own lives to give a damn about your book, painting, screenplay etc, especially if you haven’t sold it yet. And the ones that aren’t, you don’t want in your life anyway.

Don’t worry about finding inspiration.: It comes eventually. Inspiration precedes the desire to create, not the other way around.

Write from the heart.: There is no silver bullet. There is only the love God gave you.

The best way to get approval is not to need it. This is equally true in art and business. And love. And sex. And just about everything else worth having.

Pay attention: Stand still and look until you really see. The more you see, the richer the palette you have for your imagination to draw on. If you want to imagine a monster, look at an insect up real close. If you want to imagine a perfect world, watch the life emerging after a thunderstorm, the droplets of rain on leaves in the sun.

Spend time with children: If they’re young enough, the imagination has not yet been pounded out of them by television and games with stupid rules and teachers telling them to stop daydreaming. Listen and play with them and your imagination will come back to you, creaking through the rust.

Remember your dreams: Keep pencil and paper beside your bed, and write down what comes to you just as you fall asleep and wake up, or those rare vivid dreams that awaken you in the middle of the night. These imaginary thoughts are more real than real life. They change you. Don’t lose them.

Change your point of view: Lie down and look up. Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot.

Collaborate: Work with other people, ideally those who have imagination, and who think very differently from you. Have fun with it. Open your mind to other possibilities. Strive to produce something greater than any of you could have come up with alone.

Transport yourself: Go somewhere different, physically or intellectually. Read lots of fiction and poetry. Visit places you’d never have thought of going. Stay with the locals. Volunteer. See how the other half lives.

Improvise: Explore your mental images. Go with them. Make something out of nothing. Imagine what you’d do if you needed to do something and didn’t have the tools. Look inside the windows of your mind. Briefly, slough off your protective arrogance and be open, submissive, vulnerable. 

Break the rules. Or at least change them. Whatever the game, or the business process, or the routine, change it. Don’t always play Texas Hold ‚em. Play countdown instead.  Make stuff up.

Believe, and make believe: Pessimism kills imagination. See past what is to what is possible. Create a new world, fantastically different from the real one.

Get away from the media: Formulaic television and radio and newspapers and magazines get you thinking that that’s the only way to do these things. Video games are tyrannical, leaving no room at all for imagination. Shun all things linear. Like top 10 lists.

I found these lists in the internet quite a while ago and don’t know anymore who made them. Anyway – thank you!

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