Fast Company started a brilliant series recently called “Creation Stories,” a series to help educate people about the creative process. Istumbled upon a video they created with Ricky Gervais for the series — and being a content creator as well as a Gervais fan, I figured I’d give it a whirl.
After watching it, I recommend you do, too, especially if you’re interested in learning about how to become a better content creator. And I’ll recommend it even more highly if you’re interested in becoming a better content creator, but only have three-ish minutes to spare.
(The video is technically 3:39, but you can skip ahead to the 32-second mark, which is where his concrete advice begins. And if you’re not a fan of cursing, skipping ahead will also prevent you from hearing that. But you’ll also miss Gervais’s trademark funny self-deprecation and amazing giggle-cackle. So, you know, your choice.)
The question Fast Company asked him was, “What’s the greatest influence on your creative process?” Here’s what he had to say.
Write About What You Know
I love this advice. It’s simple — so simple it may sound trite. But it’s impossible to be successful at content creation without being genuine — and, frankly, knowledgeable.
When someone starts talking to us about becoming a blog contributor, the first question I ask is typically what they want to write about. Sometimes, the answer I get back is along the lines of, “Whatever you need.”
While this sounds accommodating — and trust me, that’s not a bad thing to be — it doesn’t set a writer up for success. Because no writer can write about everything. Not well, at least. To create a great piece of content, it must be something about which you’re knowledgeable and, ideally, quite passionate. That combination, in my opinion, enables you to write with empathy and create the kind of content people want to read.
Gervais had a few great snippets of advice about the creative process and storytelling — what stood out most to you? What advice would you add?