Hugh MacLeod is a cartoonist and blogger, who started his career as an advertising copy writer. This book started out as a series of blog posts, and eventually publishers pursued him. Ignore Everybody is addressed to aspiring artists, starting with cartoonists, of course, but going on to writers, painters, sculptors, actors, musicians and any other creative professional that needs a good whack on the side of the head.
MacLeod’s blog is Gaping Void and his art form is drawing cartoons on the back of business cards. Who does that? Well, MacLeod does, and he does it well.
This is one of those books that can be read in an hour or so, definitely during one flight, but I did buy it at the Ontario Airport on my way to Virginia a few weeks ago.
It spoke to me. I am a frustrated writer. After struggling with fiction writing for 40 years I decided a few years ago that I should stop beating myself up about it. I really don’t like fiction writing. I am a painter who loves to put color on canvas, but I never want to do it for a living. I am a dabbling poet but only when I am in deep emotional struggles. So yes, I am an artist above all, and I think and feel like an artist.
Ignore Everybody’s message is to ignore everybody. Don’t listen to their advice. Don’t ask for their feedback. Not regarding your work, nor about your plans, and certainly not about your career. Do your thing for yourself, because you love it, and for no other reason.
To use MacLeod’s final words in the book:
If I had to condense this entire book into a line or two, it would read something like, “Work hard. Keep at it. Live simply and quietly. Remain humble. Stay positive. Create your own luck. Be nice. Be polite.”
I was inspired.
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Check out this webcomic from a guy who used to work at NASA but now does this for a living http://xkcd.com/