In a life full of distractions, the creator of would-be artistic masterpieces needs the way cleared of pitfalls and obstructions that would render their efforts fruitless. When seeking greater simplicity, the simple sage doesn’t let complex logic get in the way. Stripping ideas down to the basics means going straight to the point. Any point might do.

Truly dedicated visionary artisans do not concern themselves with matters of practicality. The art form comes first. They will not approach their calling as though it were just some job. An uncompromising, steely glare must accompany the search for truth. Just because the tenets of a particular way of life do not conform with the mainstream ideas does not mean they are right for the artiste. So, cast aside reason and consider these gems from a twinkling of the eye.

Be Born Poor

Although it may appear so, this is not merely a case of “you either have it or you don’t.” You can find your way to poverty in the span of one life where you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth. If you are not that inept or if you simply don’t have the time to mount the volume of losses to squander an entire fortune, there is another alternative. You can simulate being poor. Become a minimalist.

Be Single

Relationships make life far too complicated. You need all the “me” time you can get to turn out fabulous aesthetic works. The greatest value of a sexual partner is the loss of one. The broken heart can lead to all manner of interesting songs, films, paintings, dance and glass blowing. In the long run, though, it’s best to stay free of ties that bind except those devoid of emotion. I suggest having a fish, maybe two, in a simple fish bowl. This allows you to observe a relationship without having to clean an aquarium.

Declare Yourself What You Want to Be

This is easy. Just do it. It’s even therapeutic. No matter where you are or who you are, you can start immediately down your path of an angst-ridden artistic life. It feels really good.

Spend All Your Off Time Observing

When the old master or mistress is not creating, they are inclined by their nature to be observing. This is how they recharge their wellspring of imagination. One word of caution. Observe real life, not life-sucking television, which tends to make the artist imitate art.

Be Interested in Everything, Involved in Nothing

This could easily be criticized. Some may say it’s taking a godlike approach, but that’s not my take. I say it’s the way of the narrator, the all-knowing narrator as in fiction. Always viewing the world as an observer allows us to paint it objectively and develop it without attachment. Attachment may be the root of all evil, for it is here that we rob Truth to pay a borrowed Reality.

Work on Your Art All Day, Every Day

This is the apex of keeping it simple. There’s nothing better to do anyway, and you will mostly be in a supremely happy place even if your body is wasting away to nothing. At least you’re flourishing unlike you would be if you were watching YouTube videos.

Don’t Believe in Writer’s Block or Any Kind of Block

My theory is that writer’s block is just something made up by malcontents that don’t actually like writing. Just write anything for God’s sake until the notion passes. I’ve never heard of editor’s block. They just keep editing and that goes for the creatively-inclined of all persuasions.

Make No Rules That Complicate Life

I’m not leading by example on this one. I’ve made many rules to restrict and complicate my life. I also may be getting worse in this regard. Here are some things from my repertoire to avoid. Not that they’re wrong. They just aren’t simple. 1) Never end a sentence in a preposition. 2) Be 100 percent ethical. 3) Hold a smile until no one is looking and phase it out gradually.

Study Your Medium and Learn it Well

This is not a contradiction of what I just said. The crafty old pitcher will take the talented young phenom hitter to school until the kid figures out how to hit a good curveball. Designer John Maeda said it first in his book, The Laws of Simplicity: “ Learn. Knowledge makes everything simpler.”

Throw Away All Your Devices

And get off the grid while you’re at it. Find a cabin in the woods or a private room where you won’t be interrupted. All right, don’t panic. At least put all weapons of mass distraction somewhere that they can’t be found or they can’t find you.

There’s art to be made. Enrich it all you want, but keep the process simple.