Hate what you create? Don’t worry, it’s normal!

As creative types, we’re all familiar with the particularly poignant sense of disappointment that comes from having slaved over a project for days, weeks, or even months, only to realise that we hate what we’ve made. In this touching and inspirational video, veteran American radio host, Ira Glass, explains what he calls “the gap” – that...

Art, Inc.: A Field Guide to the Psychology and Practicalities of Becoming a Successful Artist

How to master the business of art without buying into the toxic myth that doing so makes you a lesser artist. “Art is a form of consciousness,” Susan Sontag wrote in her diary. But for many working artists, who straddle the balance between creativity and commerce, art swells into a form of uncomfortable self-consciousness —...

David Foster Wallace on Writing, Self-Improvement, and How We Become Who We Are

“Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.” In late 1999, David Foster Wallace — poignant contemplator of death and redemption, tragic prophet of the meaning of life, champion of intelligent entertainment, admonisher against blind ambition, advocate of true leadership — called the office of...

Allergy to Originality: Mark Twain and the Remix Nature of All Creative Work, Animated

Why why all creative culture is built on “plagiarism, literary debt, appropriation, incorporation, retelling, rewriting, recapitulation, revision, reprise…” When Helen Keller was accused of plagiarism, her dear friend Mark Twain wrote her a heartfelt and lively letter of support, in which he asserted that “all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million...

Margaret Mead on Female vs. Male Creativity, the “Bossy” Problem, Equality in Parenting, and Why Women Make Better Scientists

“In the long run it is the complex interplay of different capacities, feminine and masculine, that protects the humanity of human beings.” Margaret Mead is celebrated as the world’s best-known and most influential cultural anthropologist, having not only popularized anthropology itself but also laid the foundation for the sexual revolution of the 1960s. She brought...

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

The science behind the “tortured genius” myth and what it reveals about how the creative mind actually works. “I think I’ve only spent about ten percent of my energies on writing,” Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Katherine Anne Porter confessed in a 1963 interview. “The other ninety percent went to keeping my head above water.” While art...

Portraits in Creativity: Artist Maira Kalman, Modern Patron Saint of the Moments Inside the Moments Inside the Moments

“We always are in this in-between world of ‘Is this a dream? Is this really happening? Are we in costume? Who are we?’” From her immeasurably wonderful visual meditations on life, including The Principles of Uncertainty and Various Illuminations (Of a Crazy World), to her illustrations for such cultural classics as Strunk and White’s The...

Ray Bradbury on Failure, Why We Hate Work, and the Importance of Love in Creative Endeavors

How working for the wrong motives poisons our creativity and warps our ideas of success and failure. “A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play,” the French writer Chateaubriand is credited with saying. “He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and...