Years ago I first saw the Holstee Manifesto. You may not know it by name, but chances are, you’ve seen it. You know the one; it starts out, “This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often.” I loved the look of that manifesto, and I loved the messages within it.
Fact was, I loved it so much, I wanted it to be mine.
But it was taken already. And besides, as much as it spoke to me, it didn’t come from my own heart.
The first time I saw the Holstee Manifesto, I don’t think I was even writing and creating. That didn’t happen, in force, until 2009, when I quit my last “real” job to try to be a writer. I started out writing my first book with no clear idea of what I was doing. I had this idea that if I was going to write a book “one day,” then I’d better get started, because (as the Holstee Manifesto says) life is short. You don’t know how many days you have left. If you have a dream, you’d better get started on it now, even if you don’t know what you’re doing. You’ll figure it out as you go.
And so I started, and I wrote a book, and I kept going. I wrote another book, and another.
Along the way, I started to realize that I needed not just to write, but to stand for something. I needed to know who I was and what I was about, in order to be able to share that with my audience. If you want to get technical about it, I needed to know my “brand.” But more than that, I needed to know my core values. To continue to move forward as an artist, I needed to know what I really believed in, why I was here, what it was that I had to declare.
And so, the journey to create my own manifesto began.
I started by jotting down phrases I’ve always tried to live by, things I quote to myself over and over. I didn’t want to use other people’s quotes, not because I don’t believe them but because they’re not mine. I wanted my manifesto to be wholly and completely mine.
It was a slow process, because I wanted to do it right. I knew I’d forget some thoughts, leave some out, but I wanted to leave out as few as possible. I spent weeks gathering up phrases that were meaningful to me, ideas I wholeheartedly believe in and use as guiding principles, goals for a life well lived: “The world is what you make of it,” and “Everyone has a story, and “It never hurts to ask.”
In the end, I had more than thirty words and phrases that spoke to me. The next step: put them together in an artistic format.
I’ve been using Photoshop since it first came out, but I don’t consider myself a visual artist. Putting together my manifesto was one of the greatest graphic design challenges I’ve ever given myself—working out how to piece together the various words and sayings in a way that worked visually and flowed naturally. After days of typing, aligning, rearranging, and tweaking, I finally came up with the end product: The Pam Stucky Manifesto (scroll to the bottom of my home page to see it).
I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the end product. It looks nice, I think, but more than that, it encapsulates so much of my life philosophy. It helps me remember why I’m here, why I’m doing the work I’m doing, and what it is that I want to bring to my audience; what kinds of conversations I want to encourage, who I want to be, how I want to be seen. When I do talks, now, often the person who introduces me will have pulled some quotes from my manifesto for my introduction. It’s not just a pretty image, but also a powerful tool to let people know who I am.
Putting together my own personal manifesto was a tremendously rewarding experience, and I’m so glad and proud I did. Just as every artist should have a good artist bio (I need to work on that, too!), I strongly encourage every artist to work on a personal manifesto. What matters to you? What is this life for? Why are you here? A personal manifesto can help you focus your ideas and let people know what you have to declare.
What about you? What are the elements of your own personal manifesto? What do you believe about yourself, the world, and life?
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HOW TO CREATE A PERSONAL MANIFESTO by @pamstucky http://goo.gl/UeGAHx #theartistunleashed #authors #artists