“Don’t pray to be a better writer. Pray to be a more prolific writer.” I’m not sure who said that, I think it was Neil Gaiman, but anyway the quote really stuck with me because the point it makes is just to keep creating – eventually greatness will emerge.
That’s why I liked this Letter to a Young Songwriter, which says essentially the same thing, but is filled with helpful mental models:
Trying to be original is exhausting, and it is impossible. Give up the pursuit altogether. There’s no such thing as original, everything is derivative. Everything is a remix. The artists who are held up as ‘original’ are simply much better at remixing than everybody else. They make familiar remixes with elements people don’t quite expect, or they make unfamiliar mixes with familiar elements
- Focus on being prolific, not being the best.
- Creativity is about connecting dots. So it’s important to consume wisely, so you have more dots to connect.
- You should spend more time creating than consuming.
- Focus less on creating your own style, that will come naturally with output.
- Read biographies to learn how artists talk about their creative processes (acquire mental models).
- There’s more at the link.