No Magic Formula.

gaping void 4Back in late 2006, I was standing behind the bar of The Ladbroke Arms, a swanky Notting Hill pub, surveying my happy punters. I was the manager at the time and life was grand. The beer was unlimited and the perks were sweet.

Lots of people stood out but there was this one guy who came to the bar fairly regularly and had a passion for drawing cartoons on business cards. He was good, real good, and he never stopped drawing. He must have gone through a few hundred of these things a week and who knows how many pens. I thought he was a bit off the wall, but he loved Jeff Buckley. That's a friendship starter for me. He sat at the same table each time and as others passed and looked over his shoulder, I could see a trend: half of the people thought he was a genius, the other half thought he was mad. He'd come up to get a beer and show me his latest creation. I have to admit that I was straddling both camps in regards to what I thought of him. Then I moved to France.

Last year, I was in a bit of a creative funk and my good friend, Christian, sent me a PDF on How To Be Creative. I read it with gusto and lo and behold it was the same guy, Hugh MacLeod, who had frequented my bar. The guy is a well sought after brand consultant, copywriter, and cartoonist at gapingvoid because he stuck to his guns and does what he loves—drawing cartoons on business cards. His manifesto is a joy to read. Everything in it makes sense. It highlights the importance of ideas, creativity, hard work, and keeping your day job. There is no magic formula and he clearly states that a strong gut feeling can be the most important thing. I highly recommend downloading it.


 In it, he says ~

Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted.

Put the hours in; do it for long enough and magical, life- transforming things happen eventually.

solis-016-650x510 A fancy tool just gives the second-rater one more pillar to hide behind. Which is why there are so

many hack writers with state-of-the-art laptops.


My M.O. was, and still is, to just have a normal life, be a regular schmo, with a terrific hobby on the side.

Follow your passions and put in the hours. The success of it is just a bonus. You can never fail spending your time doing what your heart most desires. I truly believe that if you are not doing the most important thing in your life right now, then you need to ask yourself why. And then go do it.

All images and quotes: copyright Hugh MacLeod