Originally written 8/8/20, this draft will also be continuously updated in "create in public" style


This piece is inspired by my friend Kyle's piece The Myth of the Tortured Creator

This idea - that I needed to suffer silently for my art - led me to create “behind closed doors,” alone, and without a community of other creators. It is inefficient and ineffective. Creating alone means you lack the value built into a community of creators like feedback and connection. Communities are also a way to outsource your sanity. - Kyle Bowe

Kyle's piece on the benefits of creating in public got me thinking about a well known case study: Kanye's Life of Pablo (TLOP) album. Right up front, let's commit to only focusing on him as an artist for this piece, as his extracurriculars are pure distraction.

TLOP as a "living breathing changing creative expression."

TLOP as a "living breathing changing creative expression."

TLOP was officially released on Feb 14th, 2016, culminating in a listening party / fashion show hosted in Madison Square Garden, but listeners and audiences had basically heard the album in some way shape or form in multiple iterations prior to that thanks to Kanye's "creating in public" style. Three key events from the creation process stick out, with lessons to learn from each:

The album title changed multiple times, in public

Initially, Kanye was planning on calling his album Swish and then Waves.

Kanye posted this ever-changing sheet of album title, track name ideas

Kanye posted this ever-changing sheet of album title, track name ideas

But after getting called out that the term "wavy" was already coined by another artist Max B, Kanye recorded the phone call audio of him getting Max B's blessing and made it a track on the album as an "F you" to his haters. The track is still on the final version of the album even after the album title changed to Life of Pablo.


The lesson here for creators is that, if a part of the process was meaningful enough for you at the time when it happened, you have full agency to keep it in the final product. You are the creator, you make the calls.

Fixing tracks after release