Posted by: Liz Massey | September 19, 2008

Surf’s Up: Creativity Links for September 19, 2008

Photo courtesy SXC.

How to make friends and influence buyers, a point-counterpoint on the usefulness of Web 2.0 to artists and tips for diagnosing the point at which creative projects begin to die are all part of this week’s roundup from the creative blogosphere. Plus, a bonus link to an offbeat site about musical instruments!

1. Our first link is to a recent post about how to overcome the phobia of marketing one’s artwork by Sue at Ancient Artist blog. It turns out that building relationships can go along way toward quelling the jelly legs about “selling” one’s work:

“When confronted with the necessity of marketing our work, we paint the idea with a very large and inaccurate brush.  It needs to be comprehensive.  I need a logo, a brand, positioning myself in the marketplace, a catchy jingle…oooh, yes, and dancing paint brushes, a huge promotion…videos on YouTube, viral marketing…

“But what if we reframed the idea of marketing from ‘selling something’ to ‘relationship building’?”

Sue outlines a simple “bull’s eye” approach that is easy to follow, and probably even transferable to artists in other disciplines, especially visual ones.

2. Are all the new gewgaws produced in conjunction with the ever-evolving Web 2.0 a help or a hindrance to your artwork? We have two contrasting views from two different blogs, each of which has relevant points.

Jesse over at the Robust Writing blog caps off a series of posts highlighting the destructive power of seductive distractions (reading too much, obsessing about RSS feeds) with a call for writers who care about their careers to avoid letting the Web waste their productive time. He links to a post by George Beahm, author of more than 30 books, who sternly notes that “The Web can be a distraction and a time sink, but only if you let it.”

On the other hand, this recent LifeDev blog post argues that social media can be a positive boon to creative pursuits, and spells out why and how. Asserting that “Social media communities are built around information that inspires,” post author Glen argues that much of the creative value of Web 2.0-driven sites is that unlike search engines, the filtering and recommending is being done by real people and hence, the relevancy factor in explorations using those tools is likely to be higher.

Where do I fall on this spectrum? Honestly, probably closer to the LifeDev perspective—like Glen, I find the social bookmarking service Delicious extremely useful for generating ideas or finding relevant links on a topic, compared to randomly generated Google links. But such tools are merely that—tools. If they are interfering with your work, it’s best to curtail their use or moderate their consumption of your time and life energy.

3. Scott Burkun’s blog has a brief post about where ideas die in the innovation pipeline, and why you should care.

He lists 10 checkpoints a creative idea must successfully negotiate if it is to see the light of day, noting that there are all sorts of places a great idea can get bogged down:

“In many organizations ideas die at the pitch. People fail to convince others to support their own ideas. There’s no reason to worry about risk taking and prototyping if people have poor skills at pitching.

“Or perhaps ideas die at the prototype phase. Few people are able to convince management, or themselves, that the prototype has enough promise to write a proposed plan.”

If you produce ideas and creative projects for consumption in the business world, this post is a very helpful one. His idea checklist forms a good portion of his full-day workshop on leading breakthrough projects.


Want to learn about what musical instrument Dr. Suess would play? (A daxophone, of course!) Or how to build a working train whistle out of paper? Or where you can go to hear the tones of a sea organ?

Then go visit the Oddstrument Collection, a wonderfully wacky blog from a Santa Fe resident who loves unusual musical instruments! If you share Tyler’s passion for non-standard ways to make music, you can even submit a nomination for an instrument to be featured in a future post!


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