First of all, let me say that I highly recommend Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. Anyone who needs a pep talk about their creativity, this is the book. It’s short and easy to read in one sitting, and it’s chock full of inspirational quotes and images to clarify concepts. This book is simple, direct, and to the point.
The following are my takeaways after reading:
1. Steal like an artist.
The stickiest thing for me in this section was the point that great artists steal from many, while bad artists steal from very few. When I think about my favorite musicians and filmmakers, they usually reference several artists with their work. For example, someone like Jack White channels the music of Iggy Pop, Hank Williams, and Bob Dylan all at the same time. The way to make originality is to borrow ideas from several sources and fuse them into what you want to make.
2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
From here, I will remember that making things is how you learn about yourself. When I thought about starting this blog, I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything to say, but through the act of writing and reflecting, I am learning about how I think and operate. The process is where the learning takes place.
3. Write the book you want to read.
Write what you like. I have no intention of writing a book, but I do enjoy several blogs, so for me, I’ve decided to write the blog I want to read. It’s going to be a hodgepodge of teaching activities, learning strategies, music & book recommendations, and anything else that I find interesting. As per #2, I will see where it gets me.
4. Use your hands.
This is something I need to work on. I like the idea of segregating my desk into analog and digital sides where I can focus on different aspects of creativity. Now, I need to go to Office Depot and stock up some analog tools.
5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
I’m hoping this blog will be a place where I can focus on various side projects and hobbies. I’d like for this site to be the hub that connects all my various interests, so please be on the lookout for lots of random posts!
6. Do good work and share it with people.
I will do my best to share good work with people on this site, but I’m more interested in showing my learning curve. My idea is to share what I’m learning with others in hopes that it inspires them to learn with me. I will probably look like a fool if I post videos of me learning how to play the guitar, but I’m okay with that if it helps me connect with others.
7. Geography is no longer our master.
I know this fact very well, as I stay in touch with friends and family around the world, but I need to be less shy about reaching out and connecting with people I have yet to meet. I’m hoping this blog will help me as I begin putting pieces together for my own personal learning network. Becoming better at Twitter is high on my to-do list.
8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
Stand next to talent. This concept reaffirms my belief in the power of community. Being around clever switched on people fuels me to be better, and I want to connect with more creative people. Instead of writing fan letters to people who inspire me, I plan to write a blog post and share it.
9. Be boring.
I need routines to be productive. It’s taken me a long time to admit, but it’s true. I also need to make checklists if I want to accomplish things. I’ve kept a Bullet Journal for the past couple years, and it’s really helped me get stuff done. After reading this section, I might add a daily log to my Bullet Journal to help me keep track of my personal learning and activity.
10. Creativity is subtraction.
Limitations fuel creativity. Putting constraints on things will make you find creative solutions. Similarly, what is not included is as important as what is included.
Those were my 10 takeaways after reading Steal Like An Artist. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to be more creative. Now, I want to dig into Austin Kleon’s recommended reading at the end of the book, I and would love to hear your comments or questions. Please let me hear from you.