The other day I was out near the end of the internet when I landed on this site called 99%. I was immediately pulled in, because as any New Jerseyan knows, Thomas Edison said something about success being 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. (And certainly it worked for him, resulting in the phonograph, the light bulb, and a New Jersey Turnpike rest stop).
So I figure whoever gave their site this smart name probably has other smart things to say. Sure enough, a post called “5 Manifestos for Art, Life & Business” catches my eye, a useful reminder about the power of writing stuff down and posting it on a wall for all to see. A personal manifesto is nothing more than a blueprint for getting through the day, whether at home or at work, a list that says “there are many ways of working, but here’s how I get stuff done.” So after reading Frank Lloyd Wright’s manifesto, and Seth Godin’s, and Apple Computer’s, of course I had to sit down and write my own manifesto. Like Edison, a guy I’m often compared to, I’ve always subscribed to the theory that anyone can be more creative simply by working more. So my manifesto is basically the creative path any given project takes, how to eliminate nonsense, how to collaborate, how to sell, how we can all give 99% on every job. Got your own Manifesto? Please share.
A Creative Manifesto
Reduce… distractions. Your calendar, your commitments, your inbox. Reduce them all.
Process… matters. If you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there, the result is just luck.
Ask… a lot of questions. When you stop digging, you basically stop.
Read… less. Write more. Consuming is the opposite of creating.
Outwork… everyone. The lines at The Idea Store are shorter when you wake at 5am or work until 2am.
Wait…for the good ideas. Also called: slow the hell down. Ideation is fun; what’s the rush?
Judge… ideas slowly. Then kill them definitively. “No” has to be said more than “yes.”
Simplify… the idea. People buy simple. There’s a reason “tell your idea to a 7-yr old” is a cliché.
Recognize…when your idea isn’t good. If their eyes don’t light up, they don’t get it.
Listen… to others. Really listen. Then decide what you think is best.
Pictures…touch nerves. Art sells. Talk in pictures.
Shorter… presentations. Agency law: How about a 20 slide max? Or maybe no PPT? Clients will hug you.
Let it Go. Let it all go. Let it go, come back tomorrow and start again by reducing distractions.