What I learnt from Seth Godin: insights on art and creativity

What I learnt from Seth Godin: insights on art and creativity

Show your work, magnify weirdness and say ‘here, I made this.’

In 2014, I had the privilege of seeing Seth Godin speak in Sydney. It was an ah-ha filled event.

As a writer and business owner, Seth’s musings and insights on art, creativity and business are inspirational and at the same time, they’re jolting in their simplicity and genius. They left me wondering ‘why did I need someone else to tell me this? It’s really so simple.’ But I suppose that’s the genius in it. Most grand ideas are essentially really simple.

I’ve pulled on Seth’s advice every week in my business since attending his talk. His insights on writing and resistance were particularly helpful while I was writing a novel draft in Bali during November 2014.

So here’s a summary of Seth’s talk and what I learnt. I hope it helps you, too.

On art

Art is when we do something that get us closer to other people. It might not work, so then you have to make better art. Art is an attitude of generosity and seeking connection.

Step forward and say here, I made this.

On niching

Target small groups. There’s no normal. There are people on the edges who have chosen to be weird and they’re just like you – find these people.

Where? The internet is magnifying weirdness.

On finding your tribe

Tell the others what you’re doing. People want to be around other people like them, who care about the same things. Say, ‘I think X is important.’ People are waiting to follow you.

The people who need the work that you do are only one click away from you.

On haters

We often hold a little bit back, because we think we’ll get hurt if we share too much. Or maybe we’ll be eaten alive! But this approach just makes your work bland. You make stuff for people who get it, who get you – ‘people like us’.

If other people don’t like it, it’s not for them.

On giving your best ideas away

A scarcity mindset can stop you from giving ideas away. But this is the best way to grow your tribe and find connection.

Give it all away.

On consumerism

Stop buying stuff.

On resistance

Resistance is our ‘lizard’ brain.

Why do we hesitate to write when we don’t hesitate to talk? We hesitate to write because once we write and see the blank screen or page, resistance kicks in and we think ‘I might get in trouble, it isn’t perfect, I can’t.’ writing is work, so do it. Plumbers don’t show up to your house and say ‘I can’t do it, I’m sorry. I’ve got plumber’s block.’

Writing is work, so do your job and do the work.

On sharing your work

I think of art and writing as ‘shipping.’ When ideas are in your head, they’re not art yet. You have to do the work, get the ideas out of your head and ship them out onto the page.

Be the connector and get ideas in front of people. And be resilient when the haters come.

Ship your ideas, get them out into the market, show them. If it doesn’t work, make better art.

On ideas

Be thirsty. CHOOSE to be thirsty. And be active.

Actively collect bad ideas, because then the good ones will come up.

On self-criticism

Internal criticism is a sign you’re onto something.

Self-criticism a sign you’re on track.

On success

Be the best in your world and be in a different category, but don’t do it all. Do a few things well. Create a world around you where success is imminent and success is the next big thing.

There are many people living conventionally successful lives, but will they be missed and do they matter? If you want to make art and do something that matters, step forward and say ‘here, I made this.’

Are you sharing your work and art?

If you enjoyed these notes as much as I have, I’d love to know.

13 Responses to What I learnt from Seth Godin: insights on art and creativity

  1. Good stuff, Lou!I love the simple, short note on Consumerism: Stop Buying Stuff! And the section on Resistance . . . brilliance! So many interesting, thought-provoking points. Thanks for sharing this!

    • So glad you enjoyed it Rachel. You’re already a pro on the resistance and consumerism front though! You should be sharing your insights x

  2. My two takeaways are:

    1) Step forward and say here, I made this. AND
    2) Stop buying stuff.

    I no longer by “stuff” and its so liberating to be freed from that.

  3. Love your blog Louise. It inspires me to think more about my own creativity and not let it lapse into space.

  4. Well said, Lou. What a good plumber analogy! So true that we can be too scared to start writing for fear it won’t be perfect. This happens to me every day, I think because I was a sub-editor before I was a writer-writer. Quality control before creation. Now I know you just do it and fix it later.

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