Creativity, an equation for success: Obsession x Voice

Here is a post from John Gruber about creative success. For publishers or anyone with a deep interest in something, “obsession times voice is a pretty good stab at a simple formula for doing it right.”

Obsession x Voice

  • What’s my obsession?
    • Surfing, sustainability, creativity, and technology.
  • What’s my voice?
    • Haven’t found that yet, despite being a loudmouth rambler. I do know I prefer positivity over controversy, brevity over run-on sentences, and quality over quantity, but it still feels like an amorphous blob to me.

A better definition from Merlin Mann:

“Topic times voice. Or, if you’re a little bit more of a maverick, obsession times voice. So what does that mean? I think all of the best nonfiction that has ever been made comes from the result of someone who can’t stop thinking about a certain topic — a very specific aspect of a certain topic in some cases. And second, they got really good at figuring out what they had to say about it.”

 

I think that gets us into the Malcom Gladwell 10,000 hours of practice territory.  You know the claim that real expertise in any topic takes 10,000 hours or anywhere from 5-10 years.

By my own arithmetic, I figure to be about halfway, 5,000 hours, into blogging. Give or take a few hundred. There is still a lot for me to learn and, indeed, every few weeks I learn something new that completely blows me away. Usually, a lesson that hits me like a punch in the stomach, but after each recovery I emerge better than ever.

A cycle that many of my creative readers will completely understand. Still, it’s good to hear other successful creatives come back and explain to us that “obsession x voice” is the equation for future success.

 

Two photos from Kent Mearig:

 

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