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The painting, not the frame

There’s an increasing amount of stuff that makes our lives easier, all of it increasingly within hands reach. We get taught how to write essays, how to use hashtags, how to get your crush to like you. All within minutes and digestible steps.

The risk of this is that we tend to focus on the easy stuff. When you read an article on how to run a successful social media campaign, you’re just reading the preconditions, the very basic outline that would make such a campaign possible.

Many people or companies can get that right, but don’t go further. They make what everyone can make.

The basic stuff tricks us into thinking we’ve done enough. We’ve applied the filter, and now our picture is pretty. Yet, what makes our work go beyond the average, isn’t captured in ‘Five ways to get more Instagram followers’, or any short cut which is just a search entry away.

By definition, the average is easy and obvious.

At the heart of anything creative — the stuff that surprises or shocks us, makes us wonder, or sticks to our mind — is the opinion, the idea, the craft. We see the author back in his or her work.

It’s not about tuning the strings, but about the playing of them. Let the things you create be evocative, pretty, hopeful, rude, or even ugly. Let it be an extension of yourself. But most of all, let it be something only you can create.

 

From 'Killing my darlings', by Daniel Forero.

From ‘Killing my darlings’, by Daniel Forero.

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