Bob Bly inspired me to become a copywriter back in the late 1980s.
His books, such as The Copywriter’s Handbook, always informed me in a practical way. I began my business career as a copywriter in Houston because of him. He occasionally wrote me snail mail letters of encouragement. I stay in touch with him, too.
Today he is the author of 85 books.
I remember he once said he felt like he hadn’t produced much – that was back when he had “only” written fifty books – because he knew Isaac Asimov had written or edited more than five hundred books.
Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?
I’m running as fast as I can to catch up with Bly and Isimov.
Right now I have about fifty books out, am working on two books, editing an autobiography from my father, completing three music albums, working on new presentations for mega-talks I am giving this year around the world, developing a new process for faster attracting, practicing my saxophone, the guitar, and the synthophone, reading more books a week than most people do in a lifetime, and of course still maintaining my fitness program, writing these blog posts, handling social media, promoting my past projects (which is a giant catalog), helping my Miracles Coaches, and more. (And, of course, keeping my relationships alive and well.)
Some say I’m a “force of nature.”
Others say I should switch to decaf. 🙂
Why so much productivity?
What drives a man like Bob Bly or me? What drove Asimov?
An answer is in the new book, Create or Die: A Manifesto for Fearless Creators Everywhere, by Morgan Giddings, PhD.
Her basic premise is that unless you keep creating, you begin to die.
Life is designed to urge you to create, to move forward, to constantly expand, grow, develop, change and challenge.
In fact, challenging yourself is one of the best ways to maintain the exuberance of life.
According to Dr. Giddings, you don’t have a real choice.
Yes, you can decide to “do nothing” but life itself, being the great creative force it is, will move you off your bed if it has to get others to move you and it out the door.
And yes, as Asimov proves, you can create and still die.
But real living comes from persistent creating.
It’s not about the end result – as that will change again in time – but about creating.
There isn’t a “finish line” or even a “perfect” solution.
There will always be something else to create. Another problem to solve.
Life is about creativity. Period.
All of the problems in your personal life – and on the planet – can be resolved with creativity.
Whether oil shortage or climate change or anything else you are worried about, there is an answer, and that answer will come from creativity.
New problems will occur, but that’s just the nature of life’s ever expansion.
And that’s an opportunity for more creativity.
The wise approach is to challenge yourself by choosing your creative projects.
Let your passion lead the way.
Let your enthusiasm for an idea burn bright in your life.
One of my favorite sections in Dr. Giddings’ book is where she reveals the formula for attracting money.
It goes like this:
1. Use your creativity to create something of great value.
2. Use your creativity to effectively communicate the value of your invention, product, or service to others (market it).
She says everything else is just “playing the lottery.”
She also points out that you need a clear idea of what you want money for, and you need to be clear of any limiting beliefs about money, in order to actually have her formula work.
She writes, “Though a surface-level desire for money exists, it gets distorted and watered down by all these other beliefs that are floating around contradicting it. The contradictory beliefs dilute the singular focus that’s necessary for the kind of creative action that leads to results.”
I’m not sure what Bob Bly would say, and the late Asimov is no longer talking or writing, but in my own case, I am driven by the need to communicate what I am excited about.
It’s not about money – it’s about passion.
Money becomes the pleasant side effect of creating value and sharing it with the world in creative ways.
I am driven to create by the impulse of creativity itself.
My hunch is that everyone has this impulse — yes, even you — but most people are pros at rationalizing why they shouldn’t create.
Excuses are easy.
Wimping out is easy.
Just coasting is easy.
The challenge – and the voltage of life itself – comes from creating.
Ray Bradbury, the legendary sci-fi writer who wrote classic books and unforgettable stories – who wrote every day of his life – once said in an interview:
“There’s an Egyptian myth I heard about years ago that when you die as an Egyptian and you go off to visit the gods the first question asked of you at the gates of heaven is ‘Did you have enthusiasm?’ And if you answer negatively you don’t get in. My response to everything in life that I really loved has been enthusiasm.”
You most likely have a desire to create something.
A book, song, movie, business, product.
I have no idea what your secret creative urge might be.
But you do.
Dr. Giddings is giving you a wake up call.
Either create – or die.
And ignore the skeptics, critics, and cynics.
Dr. Giddings writes, “Cynicism is rooted in fear…Worse, it’s toxic to creativity. To be creative, it’s essential to express yourself fully, from your own unique vantage point.”
Critics and the like are living in fear and building themselves up by tearing others down.
Ignore them and pursue your dream.
“Creativity is an inside game,” Dr. Giddings writes. “It’s never about pleasing external critics. It’s about producing something that you feel is great, and then connecting with the right audience who will like whatever it is that you produced.”
I’m sure Bly and Isimov would nod in agreement.
Before I dismiss class today, here’s a final thought to consider:
One of my favorite authors during my development as a writer was Jack London, who once wrote –
“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.”
Now, don’t you have something to create today?
PS – I didn’t want to write this post. I was tired, my eyes were blurry, I had other things to do. But the creative urge in me pushed from inside and said “Write this.” I obeyed. And guess what? I am not tired, my eyes are not blurry, and the other things I have to do are next. Follow your creativity. Live your dreams. Expect Miracles.
I know what you mean about the drive to be creative. I’m working on my second self-help book (the first is available on Amazon) and a fantasy novel, and I’ve started planning a collection of short sci-fi stories, too.
However, I downloaded your new album “Higher Octaves” (which you created together with Guitar Monk Matthew Dixon). I then did what I always do with your new music: I put the headphones on and listened to it on a loop.
I also watched Nathalie Ledwell and you on the Google Hangout last night, recording it for future reference.
These two things have inspired me to start a new project; something I haven’t tried before. I want to make a Mind Movie for each of the tunes on the album, just for myself. Each will be inspired as much by the title as the music itself. What it will come out like, I don’t know, but it will be something new and creative.
I’m also looking forward to “One More Day”, which I’ve had on pre-order ever since you first mentioned it.
Keep up the good work, and I’ll do the same on my side.
Lots of love,
I left you a message on your facebook profile, you have not noticed yet 🙂
sorry, forgive, thank you, love you 🙂
Thank you so much for this Joe! I especially like the part about ignore the critics. I was feeling down these past few days after someone close to me but who I had not seen for some years, sent me a harsh email out of the blue. It went straight to my heart and actually incapacitated me temporarily.
I imagine you must have to deal with that, and have dealt with that numerous times. Your words are a great help – it is like getting a pain medication for my inner mind. Blessings to you!
Thank you, Patrick. Glad to know I have helped.
I love you Joe. 🙂