7. Geography is no longer our master
Build your own world
Borders are no boundary, timezones no obstacle; we live in the future!
The internet means that your peers can live everywhere around the world. Connect to people all around the world, do your networking online, make professional contacts through social media and build a digital Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Solitude is good; self-imposed isolation is better. Make time to
disconnect from the internet for a bit, clear some space – mentally,
physically, temporally -and put it to good use.
I love isolation, although I need to improve the “without distractions” bit, but I know I can easily become isolated and need to pay attention to when I last saw my friends, left the house or had a conversation with a person.
Despite the interconnectedness of the digital age, where we live still affects the work we do. Travel broadens the mind – without new experiences, we can’t form new mental connections and go on to create new work.
With freelance work, a digital (or portable) studio and an online community, the “digital nomad” lifestyle is definitely viable. I’m not sure it’s for me (I have too many books, to start with, and would struggle to part with them), but it is an option.
Kleon says that, ideally, the weather should be bad for about six months of the year, the food should be good and the company varied. And you shouldn’t stay for too long! Keep seeking out new experiences
8. Be nice (the world is a small town)
Make friends, ignore enemies
“There’s only one rule I know of: you’ve got to be kind” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
I don’t think I’m the type of person to badmouth people generally, but I know I can have a temper and I know I can get riled up, and that’s the danger for me – getting into arguments and showing myself up. People are going to find that and, if I only post when I’m frustrated or argumentative, that’s what they’re going to think I’m like all the time, because they won’t have any other reference.
In short: be nice and don’t post when you’re tilted.
Stand next to the talent
Garbage in, garbage out applies to people, too. Hang out with arseholes for too long and you’re going to start to smell like an arsehole.
“Find the most talented person in the room, and if it’s not yo, go stand next to him, Hang out with him. Try to be helpful.” ~ Harold Ramis
“If you’re the most talented person in the room, find a different room.”
“Quit picking fights and go make something”
Anger is great. It’s jet fuel, and it’s pushed me through some awful times, but it isn’t always useful and my key takeaway from this chapter is probably going to be “learn to ignore insults and let people be wrong”.
Write fan letters
Like Kleon, I wrote to my favourite artist when I was a kid and I was lucky enough to get a letter back (an illustrated letter, no less!). Public fan letters (fan art?), blog posts with links to websites, answer questions, solve problems – and don’t worry about getting a letter back.
Validation is for parking
External validation is for chumps. It either comes too late (or not at all) or it pressures you into doing more of the same, even long after you’re sick of it.
Get busy, keep working, and don’t pay attention to the people who want you to do the thing they like.
Looks like there are two most important lessons from this chapter.
Keep a praise file
External validation is for chumps, but it is nice.
It’s also temporary.
There will always be dark days, and the Black Dog is only a few steps behind, so build an emotional buffer of proof that you don’t suck, that people like your work, that life isn’t always this grim.
And keep it backed up.