Posted by: Liz Massey | July 3, 2009

Surf’s Up: Top Creativity Links for July 3, 2009


Illustration courtesy SXC.

Why Is It Taking So Long?
A wonderful post on why ideas don’t immediately pan out, by Barbara Winters on her Buon Viaggio Blog. Winters blogs about making a living without a job, and her remarks are directed at entrepreneurs, but almost all of them apply to artists and other creative people struggling to bring a work of art or an original idea/product/etc. into the world.

One of her best points from this post is that sometimes, we need to grow into the larger vision we hold to see results. She says,

“When things aren’t working out, many people think there’s something they must do, but often it’s something they must be that solves the problem.

“The best reason for dreaming bold and following through on that dream is what we become as a result. If we’re not willing to acquire the skills and mindset of our best self, and invest time in getting there, our ultimate goal will be stalled. Eventually, it will disappear.”

I’ve been reading Winters for a long time (I bought a copy of her book “Making a Living Without a Job” when I got out of college nearly 20 years ago!), although I just recently discovered her delightful blog. Her understanding of the ups and downs of a non-corporate life is spot-on, and she has always been good at offering practical support to those who want to create a life of their own design.

Internet ©rapshoot: How Internet Gatekeepers Stifle Progress
This is an intriguing post on the Internet Evolution blog about how Google, Amazon and other Web giants may be impeding creative progress.

Post author Cory Doctorow, who is an Internet activist, a blogger, and co-editor of Boing Boing, tells us,

“Now, it’s not that I hate Amazon or Google, but I do understand that they are fast becoming the intermediary between creators and audiences (and vice-versa), and that this poses a danger to everyone involved in the creative industries. That danger is that a couple of corporate giants will end up with a buyer’s market for creative works, control over the dominant distribution channel, and the ability to dictate the terms on which creative works are made, distributed, appreciated, bought, and sold.

“And the danger of that is that these corporate giants might, through malice or negligence, end up screwing up the means by which the world talks to itself, carrying on its cultural discourse — a discourse that ultimately sets the agendas for law, politics, health, climate, justice, crime, education, child-rearing, and every other important human subject.”

His post is an in depth, well-argued essay on the current state of copyright, content distribution and what limited market competition tends to do to creativity. It’s worth reading all the way through and thinking about.

Improve Your Artwork With a Double Dog Dare
A guest post by Keith Bond, a regular contributor to Clint Watson’s Fine Art Views blog. Bond gives readers an audacious invitation to step outside one’s comfort zone and improve one’s art-making.

He talks about the relationship between safety, risk and failure in the creative process:

“There are certain ideas that I have that I am excited about. I can visualize them in my mind. I know how I want them to turn out. Yet, for some reason I avoid beginning the painting. I put it off because I am not sure how to paint the subject. I feel that I may not yet have acquired the technical ability to do the painting how I want. Yes, I am afraid of failing….

“I have learned, though, that when I step out of my comfort zone and attempt to paint something beyond myself, I learn the most. While it is true that some of the paintings do fail, they were very valuable learning experiences.”

Bond concludes his pep talk with a double-dog dare to readers—go attempt a creative project that you’ve been putting off because you’re afraid you cannot complete it successfully. He promises to do the same, and readers are invited to report on their dares in the comments section of the post.

Bonus Links!

Why I’m Not Realistic
A meditation on what “realistic” means in context of education, culture and creativity, as well as making a living, by Zoe at Essential Prose Blog.

Are Your Art Supplies Keeping You From Being Creative?
Great post on the Creative Juices Arts blog. It’s possible to be intimidated by fancy tools!



  1. Thanks for all the creative links.

  2. Thanks for pointing out some great conversations on the web… and thank you for including my blog :).

  3. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for all the cool links and thanks for including a link to my blog and post. I feel greatly honored!!!

  4. Hi Liz,
    Great post. I’ll be checking out some of those links to help kick start a creative project I’ve been sitting on for some time.

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