How do we start on the journey to reinvigorate our creative souls? We just do 5omething, says artist-turned-creativity-conjuror, Mykel Dixon. That’s 5omething with a 50 at the beginning, the magic number that set Dixon on a path to become a creativity mentor, speaker, workshop facilitator and author.
In 2014, Dixon wrote, recorded and released a 5ong every week for 50 weeks.
In 2015, he wrote a 5poken word piece every week for 50 weeks.
He was then inspired to apply his creative method to writing a book. In late 2015, he wrote 5omething every day for 50 days and made a book called: ‘Just do 5omething: A handbook for turning dreamers into makers’.
Commit to finishing from the start
With his focus on taking action and his self-imposed accountability to get his book done in 50 days, Dixon says his focus was on finishing. ‘Like all creative projects, you can get stuck in perfectionism. Because I had been on about this “just do something”, there is inbuilt accountability – otherwise there is no integrity.’
He wrote and designed the book, but didn’t want an editor. ‘I got a proof reader, and I had a few people read it,’ he says. ‘But the tone is conversational, almost poetic in parts. It was tricky for me to engage someone because I didn’t want someone to edit me out. I want it to be warts and all.’
The case for creativity
The book, which is 150 pages, is divided into two parts. In part one, Dixon argues that our self-expression has become diluted and conditioned. He says: ‘You were born super creative, to be a maker, but you got lost. That is not your fault, but if you want to stay relevant, employable or stand out, you have to unlock that creativity piece. It’s about building confidence and reminding people to be creative.’
Part two is about taking action. Dixon helps his readers define what they would like to create, and suggests that they do it for 50 days. One way to stay accountable, he advises, is to post a photo of what you have achieved every day on social media.
Sales and business impact
Dixon printed 250 copies of Just do 5omething and, at $24, sold all them. The second edition is now available online.
Dixon says the book gave him credibility and authority, but worries that he is not making the most of it.
The value of getting his first book written, he says, is that he can move on to the next thing. ‘I don’t see it as an amazing thing [to write a book]. It seems ingenuous to me to say look at this – it’s important.’
Instead, Dixon sees the value in the doing – in being courageous enough to stand up, get it done and ‘ship your work’.
‘If you don’t get that book out there, you can’t do the next one.’
His next book is called: The Art of You. ‘It is a real blend of getting people to honour and acknowledge their uniqueness and get to know themselves again, and authentically embedding that in their personal brand. Because if you are unafraid to show, and dance with, your wild and untamed self-expression, you are in a market of your own.’
- ‘If you are writing your first book, just do it. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t know how it is done until you have done it. We get stuck into details, and do courses. That helps, but there is no better teacher than doing the work.’
- ‘I believe the first three books I publish are me learning how to write a book. The fourth book I will be really proud of. You are not going to know how to do it straight away.’
- ‘Don’t go for a publisher straight away. It is exhausting. Take the pressure off, and give yourself three books to get it right.’
In 2015-16, Dixon publicly acknowledged 5omeone every day for 50 days to bring more connection and intimacy into his life.
And then, in September this year, someone new came into his life – a baby boy – who didn’t take 50 days to create, but is art all the same.
PS: Want more? You might like: How I used focus ‘hacks’ to write a book in 90 days: Author Renee Giarusso