How the Art You Consume Determines the Quality of Your Work

In 2009, during an interview, radio host Ira Glass shared rare insights into what it means to be creative; he managed to pull into focus the kind of insights that are just at the edge of our mind’s peripheral vision.

What drives us to create in the first place is not a desire to play god, but rather our hunger for art.

Imitation: The Gateway to Inspiration

In 1650, Spanish painter Diego Velázquez was commissioned by Pope Innocent X to paint a portrait of his.

Three centuries later, another artist would attempt to recreate it. Despite never having seen this painting in person, the Irish artist Francis Bacon would repaint it, over and over again, completing a total of 50 paintings during the 1950s and 1960s.

Imitation: The Gateway to Inspiration

In 1650, Spanish painter Diego Velázquez was commissioned by Pope Innocent X to paint a portrait of his.

Three centuries later, another artist would attempt to recreate it. Despite never having seen this painting in person, the Irish artist Francis Bacon would repaint it, over and over again, completing a total of 50 paintings during the 1950s and 1960s.

Build a Powerful Mindset With the Dunning-Krugger Effect

Every morning, upon awakening, I experience the supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dali, and I ask myself, wonder struck, what prodigious thing will he do today, this Salvador Dali.” —  Salvador Dali

Dalí was famous for two things: his art and his eccentric and often ostentatious behavior.

In 1955, he delivered a lecture at the Sorbonne, arriving in a Rolls Royce full of cauliflowers.

To promote Robert Descharnes’ 1962 book The World of Salvador Dalí, he appeared in a Manhattan bookstore on a bed, wired up to a machine that traced his brain waves and blood pressure.

Dalí would avoid paying at restaurants by drawing on the checks he wrote, thinking that the restaurants would never want to cash the checks since they were artworks by the Spanish master.

There are plenty of critics that have often considered these antics to have obscured his genius, or to have been nothing more than the marketing gimmicks of a creatively bankrupt artist who had peaked in his 20s and 30s.

I, on the other hand, believe that it was his nonchalant demeanor that allowed him to produce great art.

The Extremely Shocking Story of How I Self-Published a Novel And Sold Two Copies in Four Months

It was November 2010. Maybe it was a dark and stormy night, I don’t recall. But I was going through a dark night of the soul, that’s for sure.

You know, a proper dark night of the soul, when you feel your chest being crushed under the weight of so many dying dreams that nothing can offer even a bit of comfort.

When the usual hack of, “Well, others have lost empires,” doesn’t help at all.

That’s when I found out about NaNoWriMo. I found out that I could self-publish stories. On Amazon. And sell those stories to people for money, which I could then use to purchase various goods that are needed for one’s survival.

I thought it to be the best thing ever, and so I dropped out of college and started punching those damn keys.

There were a couple of things that I hadn’t thought through though:

  1. I had never written a novel.
  2. I had never written a novel in English.
  3. I had no idea what it took to actually self-publish a book.
  4. I had no one to sell the damn thing to.

But, as I’m so fond of saying, we sometimes need a lot of courage to do something. Other times, we just need to be so dumb that we have no idea what we’re getting ourselves into.

And I was never brave…

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