I liked your old stuff better

I liked your old stuff better

A Lesson by Mike Lamb
"

Your old stuff is now. Be stubborn. Evolve later.

"

One of the things I like to explore with this course is the idea of "good" and "bad" advice. Sometimes it depends on the situation. This is a lesson for the younger crowd. You know who you are. You're cocky and you don't want to be told what to do. It might make you a pain in the a*s to be around, but when it comes to creating art that you're passionate about, it's an essential phase that shouldn't be ignored.

 

1. The ego phase. You need to start out by doing things your way. Ignore the rules. Ignore criticism. Do what you want and keep doing it until you've mastered it on your own terms. Art, writing, music, whatever. Is it derivative? Does it come off like a cheap carbon copy of your influences? Doesn't matter. Roll with it. Be your own audience. Surround yourself with praise. Know your strengths and don't worry about your weaknesses. Just do it because you love it. Sharpen your talents without outside influence.

 

2. The conflict phase. Once you're confident enough, even over confident, you're ready to enter the realm of criticism. Dare people to make your work better. Assume you know exactly what you're doing, while bracing yourself to be told otherwise. Why? Because if you walk straight into the critical phase with no ego, you're going to get walked on by anyone that pretends to know what they're talking about. You'll take every piece of advice as gospel truth, because you have already submitted yourself to the role of clueless amateur with no direction. You should already have a path by now. Listen to advice that expands that path, not the advice that makes you find a new one. Don't try to make yourself evolve out of nothing; have a starting point and force your critics to meet you there.

 

3. The enlightenment phase. Once you've actually learned some things, you can apply them to what you already know. You'll see that you really have gotten better, probably by leaps and bounds, now that you're willing to listen to suggestions from talented artists that you can respect. But without the ego phase, you never would have known what to apply the knowledge to. You would be a voiceless beginner bogged down with lectures and guidelines and you would lose your passion for what you're doing. And then your best talent would lie not in creating art, but in giving know-it-all advice based on theories that you've never practiced. The best innovation comes by accident, over time, and on top of a solid foundation.

 

Oh, but just one thing, and this goes for writers of all ages. LEARN TO F*****G SPELL. 



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Comments

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Posted 5 Years Ago


I like your lessons because they are short enough so that you bother reading them, and long enough to contain some useful points. Also, I like your style.

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Posted 6 Years Ago


I like your last sentence. My own version of that is "Punctuate, damnit!"

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Posted 6 Years Ago


Where the hell were you for the better part of my life. This would have been a great advice while Physics was f*****g me over.

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Posted 6 Years Ago


I think that no matter how constructive some criticism is, there's still a time and a place for it. Sometimes you don't want to hear "that won't work." It puts you on the defensive and makes you frustrated. It kills your motivation. Sometimes you just want to hear "this is pretty good." Later that becomes "wow this is great!" and you know you're getting better. Then eventually it becomes "Holy s**t, this is awesome!" That's when your ego is ready to take on the critics for better or worse.

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Posted 6 Years Ago


This is the exact philosophy that got me through art school. Professors can only push a blank slate so far.

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Posted 6 Years Ago


Good advice to keep in mind. I will try to do so myself.
And yeah, spelling... There are so many word processors and such (including WC's) that have automatic spell-checkers, sometimes I wonder how or why people let it happen. It's such an easy thing to correct, and it makes a big difference with the reader and their opinion of a piece.

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Posted 6 Years Ago


Ah, the three phases of assumption management. Been there, currently taking a refresher course. Crow is a fowl isn't it? Humble, is it a dessert pie or a meat pie?

I wonder if any of the latest generation of the "younger crowd" is going to get it. It reminds me of a college story..... I'll scribe it in my memoirs, not here.

Mike this is solid advice. Pilgrim gospel stuff. This should be a frequent pop quiz topic throughout the course.
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Added on September 20, 2010
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Author

Mike Lamb
Mike Lamb

greenville, NC



About
Artist, writer, and a drunken lunatic prophet. I am the author of Jack's Inferno, a dark comedy bizarro/horror novel about Hell, previously published through Wordplague (now defunct). I am also a pro..