Steinberg, Shrigley and Shonda Rhimes on the Creative Process

Saul Steinberg drew his imaginings of what goes on in a person’s daydreams, and David Shrigley made a list* of the kinds of things that can come from that:

David Shrigley

David Shrigley

The key: to get those imaginings OUT of your head, and into the world.

Golden Globe-winning screenwriter and producer Shonda Rhimes, creator of some of the most acclaimed television dramas of the past decade (including Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) had much to say on the matter when she gave Dartmouth University’s no-nonsense, tough-love commencement speech. (Video link HERE.)

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams — fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them — it’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change. So… ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer.

Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just do.

So you think, “I wish I could travel.” Great. Sell your crappy car, buy a ticket to Bangkok, and go. Right now. I’m serious. You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day — so start writing. You don’t have a job? Get one. Any job. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity… Do something until you can do something else.


Elsewhere in the world, girls are harmed simply because they want to get an education, slavery still exists, children still die from malnutrition…

But as you stare at the lint in your navel, have some perspective. We are incredibly lucky. We have been given a gift… Now it’s time to pay it forward.

…anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar.

 

If you don’t want to watch/listen to the whole speech, read a great compilation of quotes at Brain Pickings.

Shrigley’s list from his book Human Achievement

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