Of Style & Substance (GWTW725)

When I interview people who have written a book, the typical response to my closing question—”What book, podcast, or resource is currently blowing your mind?”—is a form of: “I’m not reading or listening to anything right now. I don’t want to be influenced by someone else’s work.” I’ve always been intrigued by the notion that you could produce original work without external influence. Unless you live in the middle of nowhere without access to modern technology, the opportunity for influence is all around us in two ways: style and substance. Style is surface-level, the way things look; substance is much deeper. It’s the creator’s message, philosophy, beliefs, and intention. Instead of fearing influence, how can we provide attribution to style and substance and continue creating the work that matters to us?

As we explore these questions around influence, of style and substance, here are four ways to harness their power for your creativity:

  1. Influence is often subconscious; label it when you notice it.
  2. Build a practice of attribution.
  3. Branch out and explore multiple mediums and formats.
  4. Allow your creativity to evolve over time.

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