Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Create.


The most valuable real estate in the world is the graveyard.
There lie millions of half-written books, ideas never launched, and talents never developed.
Most people die with everything still inside of them.

The way to live is to create.
Die empty.
Get every idea out of your head and into reality.

Calling yourself creative doesn’t make it true.
All that matters is what you’ve launched.
Make finishing your top priority.

When most people see modern art, they think, “I could do that!”
But they didn’t.
That is the difference between consumer and creator.

Which would you rather be?
Someone who hasn’t created anything in years because you’re so busy consuming?
Or someone who hasn’t consumed anything in years because you’re so busy creating?

Don’t wait for inspiration.
Inspiration will never make the first move.
She comes only when you’ve shown you don’t need her.
Do your work every day, no matter what.

Suspend all judgment when creating the first draft.
Just get to the end.
It’s better to create something bad than nothing at all.
You can improve something bad.
You can’t improve nothing.

Most of what you make will be fertilizer for the few that turn out great.
But you won’t know which is which until afterward.
Keep creating as much as you can.

Creativity is a magic coin.
The more you spend, the more you have.

Don’t alter your state with alcohol or drugs.
They make the mundane more interesting to you, which then makes you less interesting to others.
They make you think you’re creative when you’re actually boring.
Only creating makes you creative.

Embrace what’s weird about you, and use it to create.
Never think you need to be normal or perfect.
Flawless people don’t need to make art.

Picasso was asked if he knew what a painting was going to look like when he started it.
He said, “No, of course not. If I knew, I wouldn’t bother doing it.”
Don’t just express yourself.
Discover yourself.
Create questions, not answers.
Explore whatever excites you most.
If you’re not excited by it, your audience won’t be either.

Imitate your heroes.
It’s not copying because it won’t be the same.
Your imitation of anything will be unrecognizably warped by your own twisted perspective.
Most creations are new combinations of existing ideas.
Originality just means hiding your sources.

Creating is a higher form of communicating.
You join the elite conversation by contributing.
You reference creations from the past to make your own unique addition or combination.
The dialog can span centuries.

Creating is telepathy.
You speak directly to people across the world, whether days or decades from now, connecting your mind to theirs.
You send important messages to those who can hear it.

When your creation is good enough, let it go.
Release it, so it can go out into the world, without you.
It can join the conversation, and others can improve it.

Separate creation and release.
When you’ve finished a work, wait a while before you release it to the world.
By then, you’re on to something new.
The public comments won’t affect you, since they will be about your past work.

Consider creating under a pseudonym.
This will help you know that criticism is not about you, just something you made.

If you are proud of what you made, it was a success.
The less you please everyone else, the more you please your fans.
Real success comes not from the crowd, but from feeling proud.

Live in a city.
Cities are more conducive to creativity.
Geniuses come from cities.
It reminds you of your audience.
Ultimately, you need to connect with people, not trees.
Stay in situations where you’re forced to show your work to others.

Collect ideas in a crowd.
Create in silence and solitude.
Like your bedroom, your work space needs to be private.
This is where you dream and get naked.

Forget the view outside your window.
Focus on the view inside your head.
Instead of bringing the world in to your mind, bring your mind out to the world.

Distribute your work as widely as you can.
Do whatever it takes to call attention to it.
Art needs an audience.
There are no unknown geniuses.

Charge money to make sure your creations are going to people who really want them.
People don’t value what’s free.
Charge for their sake as much as yours.
Charge even if you don’t need the money.

Incorporate a company.
Name it something you can take seriously.
You own the company, and it owns your creations.
That creates a healthy distance so the company can demand payment for its copyrights.
It can be your guard dog and bill collector, so you can remain a pure artist.

Keep a counterweight job.
Something effortless that covers your bills.
Something you can do a few hours per day, but otherwise not think about.
It gives discipline and regularity to your life.
It gives deadlines and freedom to your art.

Let the deadline of death drive you.
Create until your last breath.
Let your last spark of life go into your work.
Die empty, so death takes only a corpse.

When you’re gone, your work shows who you were.
Not your intentions.
Not what you took in.
Only what you put out.