Book Review - The Creative Curse and The Unstoppable Creative
Read this on galpod.com.
I'm reviewing both books together because I got them together through Todd's very generous deal. I also read them one after the other on purpose because I knew they were related. That said, there's no requirement to read them together or even to read both of them. I would say that if you only read one, read The Unstoppable Creative, as it's a more comprehensive and detailed version of The Creative Curse, at least in my opinion.
Here's the thing. I think what Todd does is critical. In a world where clicks and claps matter more than substance, a voice that says you can do both is crucial. I think these books are an excellent guide to (young) people who want to be creative but feel that they can't do it because of the expectation to "hold down a job". I'm not sure who expects this anymore, but that's another story.
I couldn't seem to find the main message that Todd is trying to convey. I think it's "creativity is good", but I'm not entirely sure. And since he also says that creation is about sending a message, I think that, in these creations, he fell short. Now, both these books (especially The Unstoppable Creative) contain lots and lots of practical tips and advise about how to be creative in a "non-creative" job, and how to engage in creative pursuits even though you hold a 9-5 job, and how to make money out of your creative pursuits so you can leave your 9-5 job. There are a lot of good ideas in the books, but from what I could see there's no overarching theme or organisation to it. It's basically a bunch of blog posts about creativity. Which can be incredibly helpful if that's what you're looking for.
The main thing that alienated me from these books is that Todd says that you can have both a 9-5 job and a creative "hobby". Which is great if you have someone taking care of the house and children for you like he does (he keeps mentioning his wife, I'm not presuming things here). He says that an artist must say "I love you, but I can't give you my focus right now". Which is a) a privilege many men have, but not many women and; b) a choice that not every artist feels comfortable with. I'm raising two children, and I choose to be a significant part of their lives. I chose this, yes, but there's also the realisation that when you have children, you put their needs before yours. And that doesn't mean you can't be an artist (watch me!), it just means you have to work around your family's needs. Working around my kids' needs has made me more productive and more creative. And I find it annoying that he doesn't acknowledge the immense privilege he has in his wife who is taking care of his children, so he doesn't have to.
There's a reason I said this is a good book for young people. I feel like a lot of it is guidance about how to find your calling, which is something I've been doing for over a decade now. It's entirely possible (plausible, even) that I'm not the target audience for this book. And that's ok. So do take my review with a grain of salt.
Other than that, there are a lot of gems in there. Things like "keep asking questions" and "be a student of all" and "clear your schedule so that you have time to create" and "embrace the power of yet" are all great. There are a lot of useful strategies for marketing and selling your art, which is interesting to read.
In short, these are good books about creativity, but not on my "top 5" list.
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