I never expected to find myself reading business books.
Being creative, writing – what does any of it have to do with business? And yet, here I am. The last book I finished was Make Your Idea Matter by Bernadette Jiwa. Currently, I’m halfway through Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception – the book I won from The Clear-Minded Creative.
As I’ve got to know Godin’s work a little more over the last few weeks, it has become clear just how much of an inspiration he is to many creative souls. And the crucial word in the title of Jiwa’s book is ‘Idea’.
In other words: these aren’t dry, weighty tomes full of traditional theory and called things like, 100 Common Mistakes Made By Top CEOs (I don’t know if that is a real book, by the way. I’m guessing it isn’t!). I’m not some wannabe industrialist who wants to bring the essence of Sun Tzu’s The Art Of War to his shop floor.
I’m just a guy who wants to write. And as interesting and inspirational as these books are, a small piece of me thinks I’m betraying myself by reading them. The old, It’s only the quality of your writing that counts reflex kicks in. It kicks and screams a bit; tells me I shouldn’t need to create a ‘brand’ around myself.
Meekly, I reply, “I’d have gone to work at the local newspaper if that was the case.”
In truth – and however much it pains my subconscious to say it – the only reason I’m starting to make any sort of progress is because I finally understood what ‘fruitless work’ meant to me. After four years with a blog jokingly entitled ‘The Repository of Fruitless Work’, suddenly I inverted the whole thing and worked out a way to use everything I’d done before as an example for others of how not to do things.
Finally, I had an idea of how to stop flying so low and aim a little higher. And now, I can write sentences like that because the likes of Godin have made sense of those thought processes.
In Make Your Idea Matter, Jiwa writes: “The best artists market to save their own souls, so they can keep doing the thing that matters. Marketing is part of your art now.”
I think I’ve gone some way to understanding and accepting that. And it’s why I’ve added an ‘About’ page to the blog. Because it’s part of my writing now.