How to think creatively, be an innovator, and make art in 2022

What does it mean to be an artist?

For many people, it’s about writing for television, publishing books, drawing comics, creating podcasts, designing jewellery, or some combination of the above. But everyone can be an artist, even if your creation doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, much like Edmund White writes in A Boy’s Own Story (also available on Audible):

All artists are responsive to beauty in any form it appears.

So, if you’d like to flex your creative muscles and start making art in whatever form that takes for you, here are some of my favourite Seth Godin quotes from his 2021 blog posts, together with a recommended title from Blinkist.

The very act of creation means that it won’t be the ideal solution for everyone. On the other hand, with certainty, we know that doing nothing disappoints an even larger group of people. ~ The difficult choice of disappointment

Learn more: The Artist’s Way

It turns out that many of the best ideas we have start out as filler. Stuff in the margins. Last-minute extras simply to fill space. Because the stakes are low and our defences are down. ~ The stuff in the margins 

Learn more: Testing Business Ideas

Most of us played with blocks when we were kids. Building structures that seemed magical. Do that. ~ Strategy and tactics and Powerpoint

Learn more: All Work No Play

It’s possible (perhaps required) to not wait to get picked by a traditional publisher. At the same time, we benefit when we realise that the algorithm isn’t rooting for us and quite probably is working against us. The only winning approach is to earn permission and a direct connection with our fans and then act as curators for ideas (and as our own publishers). ~ Publishers, curation and algorithms 

Learn more: An Audience of One 

Empathy is at the heart of design. ~ “Well, it seems great to me” 

Learn more: The Age of Empathy

Being distinctive is a choice, and it’s not an easy one. Because it requires you to stand for something and to serve a specific audience, not everyone. ~ The 30-foot rule 

Learn more: Hit Makers

Our best work involves sorting the important from the rest, along with bringing a point of view and experience to complicated problems. Problems that are interesting because there isn’t a proven, correct answer. ~ The weather problem 

Learn more: Innovation for the Fatigued

There’s too much pain and disconnection and uncertainty in the world. And yet, there are technological marvels, new opportunities and many people who have enough resources to meet their needs. ~ Shortages, momentum and the search for meaning

Learn more: Big Magic

New decisions based on new information are at the heart of leadership. But you can’t make those decisions if you’re also busy calculating how much the old decisions cost you. ~ Sunk costs, creativity and your Practice

Learn more: Adaptability

The most successful problem solvers are people who have embraced this simple method–your current idea isn’t your identity, it’s simply a step closer to a solution to the problem in front of you. ~ Identity and ideas 

Learn more: The Accidental Creative

Perfect is a trap. ~ False equivalencies 

Learn more: The Myths of Creativity 

Science is often not the right answer to every question–it often fails to deliver what we need. But hustles pretending to be science are almost always a bad idea. ~ Anecdotes are not science

Learn more: How to Have a Happy Hustle

99.99% of what’s produced and sold is a copy or variation of something that was already made and sold. That’s the power of industry to shape our world–it’s very good at producing more of what’s finding a market. ~ Copycat industrialism 

Learn more: The Creative Curve

It’s easy to be in favour of more data. After all, until we reach a certain point, more data is the best way to make a better decision. But then, fairly suddenly, more isn’t better. It’s simply a way to become confused or to stall. ~ Limiting data in search of information 

Learn more: Ignore Everybody

Sometimes, we’re so eager to fight off a new idea (to protect an old one) that we miss an opportunity to imagine how our world could go forward instead. ~ Assume that both are true 

Learn more: How We Got to Now

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. There’s simply a fear of bad writing. Do enough bad writing and some good writing is bound to show up. ~ Write something 

Learn more: On Writing Well 

There are endless arguments to be had when new ideas arrive. The challenge is in being clear that we’re about to take a side, and to do it on the effects, not on our emotional connection to the change that’s involved. ~ Defending change (or the status quo) 

Learn more: Game Changers

The hardest moment to stop scaling our work is the moment when it’s working the best. And that’s precisely the moment when we need to have the guts to stop making it bigger. ~ Crowding the pan 

Learn more: Against Creativity

Every good idea starts as a new idea. And new ideas are never familiar. ~ “They were all bored to tears waiting to hear something they knew”

Learn more: Lateral Thinking

When the world changes, we see lots of people lining up to do the first sort of ‘tests’. A lot of crib sheets, looking over the competition and trying to fit in all the way. But real innovation comes from the science of “this might not work.” ~ The test kitchen mindsets 

Learn more: Loonshots 

If someone gives a new excuse every time there’s better data about medicine or other useful technology, it’s a clue that we’re hearing a story, not a scientific debate. ~ Truth is elusive, but it isn’t evasive 

Learn more: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Once you realise that you’re not looking for something original and alone, you have countless options. Because the opportunity is to simply solve a problem, to show up in the world with leadership and generosity and make things that people choose. ~ The next big idea 

Learn more: Steal Like an Artist 

When big ideas show up, almost no one sees what’s possible. All they notice is that change is risky and new stuff might not work. ~ Your big idea 

Learn more: Rebel Ideas

(If you found this valuable, please subscribe below for monthly updates!)