“Maintaining clarity of vision is an essential difference between those who conceive and realize great ideas and those who simply conceive great ideas,” it says here. That quote is from Carol Lloyd, author of CREATING A LIFE WORTH LIVING: A Practical Course in Career Design for Artists, Innovators and Others Aspiring to a Creative Life, a book that first came out in 1997. The book’s been through four editions since then. I’m re-reading my dog-eared, marked-up, well-worn copy of it…
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Probably every wanna-be Creative has been told (at some point or other) that in order to reach their full potential as a writer, visual artist, musician, performer or whatever, it is imperative to “find your own voice.” Now, in the Age of Social Media and Self-Branding — when the “Creative Mindset” is supposed to be The Way to $ucce$$ and Happiness — we are told that we must go looking for our individual, unique voices. Our success depends on it.
It’s a cliche, of course. Writers, artists, and performers of all sorts (including politicians and business speakers) are forever being told that they have to “find their own voice.” The premise in all this advice is that each one of us is a unique individual with our own way of seeing the world and sometimes by speaking our own truths in our own way we can help other people find theirs.
I’m writing this on the day after Christmas. It always seems to be a time that encourages reflection. This time of year feels like what I imagine landfall at a home port must have felt like for the captain and crew of the tall ships in centuries past. There’s all kinds of hoo-hah and celebration, but underneath it all you are thinking and planning and preparing for your next voyage. Very soon now we’ll be ringing in the new year. …
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Todd Henry is the founder of Accidental Creative, a company that helps people and organizations “generate brilliant ideas.” In his book about developing a voice, LOUDER THAN WORDS: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice, he recounts a piece of advice that artist/illustrator Lisa Congden received from her art teacher.