Be You, Be New

There is a strong pressure, when you create something successful, to keep doing similar work. Whether you’re Adele or J.K. Rowling, Frank Lloyd Wright or George Lucas, powerful art creates that pressure.

The pressure comes from without–fans, agents, critics–but also from within. You naturally want to repeat a formula that works.

But you’re better off chucking the formula you think you know and starting new. Your first success was one of creative exploration, not of formula.

Be you – the one who succeeded in the first place. Being yourself with each successful creative act may not immediately capitalize on past successes, but it will do two important things. First, it will lay the groundwork for sustained creative success. Second, it will ensure that you remain engaged and excited by your own work.

Be new – Follow creative rabbit holes. Try new approaches, even if you aren’t good at them at first. Vary old ideas in new ways. Combine things you’ve never combined before and watch what happens. Make bad art on the way to making good art (like you did the first time).

Be you, be new.