Steal like an artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative By Austin Kleon
What you need more convincing?
Okay, here’s the book summed up on one quote:
Every artist gets asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” The honest artist answers, “I steal them.”
This is the kind of book that you finish reading (in a single day cos you can’t put it down) and then go racing to your workstation and pummel out that first draft/blog/comic/painting that you’ve been wanting to do but procrastinating on forever. Yeah. Or, like self, you decide to set up a spontaneous word press site to blog about books!
And… here’s eight magnificent pieces of advice from the book, that you can implement right now.
Actually, just try five of these and I reckon you’ll be on your way to becoming a fabulous virtuoso (sounds so much fancier than artist)
- Start copying (note: this is not plagiarism, see note on lawyers below)>
- Keep a praise file (to make you feel good. I also highly recommend this for work related performance reviews – otherwise by the time the end of the year rolls around, you’ll have forgotten how magnificent you were)
- Start a swipe file (exactly what it sounds like – file of things you want to swipe. If you’re a digital person then I find Evernote beautiful for this)
- Your job is to keep learning, Austin says: “School is one thing. Education is another.”
- Get curious. Google everything
- Write a public/online fan letter (perhaps this blog post is almost one?)
- Leave it out. (there’s a beautiful chapter in the book entitled creativity is subtraction, what you leave out is sometimes more important that what you include)
- Use your hands (creativity is about pen and paper, not staring at a computer).
The list above is barely touching on all the gems in this book. This is going on my ‘read at least once per year’ list of books.
A word to those imagining lawyers and lawsuits thundering down upon them
Don’t get him wrong: Austin isn’t talking about plagiarism here. He lists the divide between ‘good theft’ and ‘bad theft’ rather skilfully. Examples of good theft include; studying, stealing from many, crediting, transforming and remixing. Bad theft is exactly the opposite and what you thought about doing more than once in your uni days (steal from one, plagarize, imitate etc)
I rarely buy paperbacks these days but… this book is so scrummy I’m considering it! I really want to stare-at-on-paper at the awesome handwriting, charts, captions and other bits peppered through the book.