(10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative By: Austin Kleon)
Today, I’m going to write a book review about creativity, which is Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. I never heard of Austin Kleon before but based on my research here is what we can identify him, “A writer who draws.” He has written three best-selling books. This is the first book that I read and my first review as well.
Okay, let’s start!
I read the e-book first before I read the book. The e-book contains 118 pages and the book contains 140 pages not included the deleted scenes and other stuff you can see on the last five pages. You can read it in one sitting. It has a lot of drawings, so I bet you can finish it in no time. You can grab your favorite snack while reading the book. You will definitely enjoy it.
If you are a person who wants to savor each page. Probably, you can finish it within a few days.
The writer reflects his writings on his personal experience. This book is for everyone.
1. STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST
How to look at the world (like an artist)
Nothing is original.
I agree with him that everything that we do or write or produce is the source of what we’ve seen before. What’s makes it original is the way we do it in our own way.
It all makes sense to me when he quoted something from the Bible verse saying: “There is no things new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
I was listening to Liz Gilbert about her new book, Big Magic on YouTube. She has mentioned something about doing what you love the most, even your ideas have already done by many people or written by many writers, that’s okay because people didn’t hear, see, read what you’ve done or written, so you have to do it.
Every idea that we thought came from someone’s ideas before. Every idea can be good or bad, it’s how we pick those ideas that can help our creativity.
I like when Austin said, “Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.”
“You are, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life,” as he said.
Garbage In, Garbage Out.
This is where you will think what ideas will you let in and what ideas will you let out. I remember when I read the book of Liz Gilbert, The Big Magic where Liz pointed out about ideas where it was flying and you have to grab it if strikes you, if you weren’t able to get and make it, it will go somewhere else.
I was influenced by a lot of people that I considered my hero. I pick consciously who will influence me and who can I adapt from.
As what the author said, “Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by…We need to collect selectively. We need to collect the things that we really love.”
Climb your own family tree.
Build and gather all of your ideas make it solid and make it your own.
It’s like you build your own ancestors. You learn from them.
Point to Pounder:” You have to be curious about the world in which you live.”
“Google it. You’ll either find the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.”
I always use Google for searching and finding something like the situation in my life, my feelings, to the things I am seeking. But something I find better – it is questions or ideas. When I keep looking the right words to research I find better answers. If I didn’t find the answers, maybe a clue to figure it out by myself.
Save your thefts for later.
Do you love reading? You have an edge. If not, start reading 1 book a month or read 1-2 page per day.
I always have a notebook and a pen with me wherever I go. I always do this because if I have ideas out of the blue or when inspiration strikes, I can take them down. If forgot to bring a notebook, I used my cellphone instead.
2. DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE TO GET STARTED
Make things, Know thyself.
“It’s in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.”
This is very interesting because I’ve been thinking that we need to know ourselves first so that we will be clear with what we want. Isn’t that long time ago we already doing the things that we already want? We all have our own heroes that is why we are inspired to do “something” in our lives and impact the lives of other people. I actually got to know who I am in the process of letting myself be drawn by the curiosity of doing things in action.
Fake It Til’ You Make It
I always heard this from job interviews and from any careers that you want to achieve. Fake it til’ you make it – is a phrase that really works. Pretend to be the person you want to be.
The author said there are two ways to read it:
- Pretend to be something you’re not until you are – fake it until you’re successful, until everybody sees you the way you want them to; or
- Pretend to be making something until you actually make something.
“Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.” –Yohji Yamamoto
I agree that we learn by copying. Plagiarism is different. The author explained the difference between Plagiarism and copying.
“Plagiarism is trying to pass someone’s else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse-engineering.”
Take for example the Band the Beatles when they were starting in business they were asked about their own heroes…
“First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.”
He said what to copy is easy. We all have our own heroes that we want to become, maybe the people you love or the people you’re inspired by, the people you want to be. He said that copying doesn’t mean from only one but from many.
He also pointed out from the writer name Mizner, “If you copy from an author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research.” As he said.
Imitation is not flattery.
He said that is not enough that you are imitating your own heroes you need to go a step further that’s why you emulate them, breaking through into your own thing as what Kleon said.
One example is Kobe Bryant, Kobe admitted that all his moves on the court were stolen from watching tapes of his heroes. Since he has a different bosy type from them (his heroes), he adapts the move to make them his own.
“Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover our own thing lives. This is how we evolve.”
3. WRITE THE BOOK YOU WANT TO READ
Write what you know like.
Don’t mind the people or audience. Because there’s a lot of people fail for this. Write what you want to write.
“The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.”
4. USE YOUR HANDS
Step away from the screen
Usually, when I write, I write on the laptop and sometimes I was tempted to make corrections so I lost the essence of what I am typing. The computer makes corrections for the grammar… I still do prefer to write in a notebook or paper.
I remember Stephen King in the Book On Writing. He said, “It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
5. SIDE PROJECTS AND HOBBIES ARE IMPORTANT
Practice Productive Procrastination.
Who doesn’t procrastinate?
Once in our life, we do procrastination, either at work, in school, at home, everywhere. Some people they gather their most genius ideas when they do procrastinate.
Here is the thing you are doing once in a while which actually works sometimes. I don’t know what it calls out. Kleon just bang it!
“When you get sick of one project move over to another, and when you’re sick of that one, move back to the project you left. Practice productive procrastination.”
Somehow when I felt like I don’t have any idea to think off. I just do the usual things then somehow I found great ideas when I am at the bathroom just singing and wondering things.
Sometimes you need to get bored. No one knows where it might lead you.
A quote from the author: “Take time to mess around. Get lost. Wander. You never know where it’s going to lead you.”
Don’t throw any of yourself away.
Meaning if you have a hobby that you really like don’t throw it away. Maybe one day you will need it. You don’t need to be famous on your hobby. You just need it when times get rough.
Whenever I can’t start at something. I first do some of my hobbies like playing guitar, painting, sewing, etc.
6. THE SECRET: DO GOOD WORK AND SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE.
In the beginning, Obscurity is good.
When you are not yet known for your craft – obscurity is good. You have your free time on how many work you want to finish and when to do your work. But when you became famous or making it as a career, you are now busy and full of schedules and deadlines to catch. You have to enjoy the moment while it lasts.
The No-So-Good Formula
In this world where the Internet is a vast majority of our daily life. There are two things he wants you to remember.
What’s the secret of the Internet?
Step 1: Wonder at something.
Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you.
He said, “When you open up to process and invite people in, you learn.”
7. GEOGRAPHY IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER.
Build your own world.
Surround yourself with the objects or things you love that will make you grow. Create your own world. There’s a time you need to be alone in your own little space but there is also a time when you need to travel or leave home, meet new people.
It is not necessary to leave your home. Your place is everywhere. You don’t need to move in one place. You need to listen and be still. And you will see that there are greater far beyond what you imagine.
“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in over mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” –Jonah Lehrer
8. BE NICE. (THE WORLD IS A SMALL TOWN)
Make friends, Ignore enemies.
I believe that kindness is contagious but don’t let yourself be hurt. You have to learn to choose which and whom you can learn from.
“Find most talented person in the room, and if it’s not you, go stand next to him. Hang out with him. Try to be helpful.” Egon once laid out his rules of success on Ghosbuster movie
“If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.”
The reason why I write is to connect with people.
Stand Next to the Talent.
“Follow the best people online – the people who are smarter and better than you. The people who are doing the really interesting work.”
You will need: curiosity, kindness, stamina, and willingness to look stupid.
“Pay attention to what they’re talking about, what they’re doing, what they’re linking too.”
Quit picking fights and go make something.
Simply saying, quit things that are not necessary for your growing or growth.
9. BE BORING. (IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO GET WORK DONE.)
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” –Gustav Flaubert
Everything in this chapter is written in a few simple words and contains few pages. So, I pretty not need to explain what it meant. Take care of yourself.
Be boring. Stay out of debt. Get yourself a calendar. Keep a logbook: Is pretty explainable.
Keep your day job.
“The worst thing a day job does is take time away from you, but it makes up for that by giving you a daily routine in which you can schedule a regular time for your creative pursuits.”
You don’t need to get out of your job to get started. You can have a day job and still do what you love the most. Sometimes, people take risk and leave their job, there no wrong decision on taking risk but if you do that you are willing to sacrifice the money you are earning through your day job and you need a little extra effort to live with what you only have until you became known for your crafts.
With everything that you are doing in business, making friends who you choose to be around at. Marry well with the right person in your life (your BFF)
10. CREATIVITY IS SUBTRACTION
Choose what to leave out.
What I get on this last chapter: the author wants us to focus on what’s important sometimes we remove the most creative things we have. We need to choose carefully what to leave out.
He said, “The idea that you can do anything is absolutely terrifying … The way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself. It seems contradictory, but when it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom.”
“Don’t make excuses for not working – make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.”
Sometimes less is more. There are times we need to leave out to make something interesting.
As his book ended he quote in the end, “Creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out.”
About the Author of “Steal Like An Artist”
Austin Kleon is a New York bestselling author for three books: Steal Like An Artist, Newspaper Blackout and Show Your Work! He speaks in various organizations like TEDx, Pixar, SXSW, The Economist, and Google. His works are focus more on creativity in today’s world.
Check all of his books here: www.austinkleon.com
Mia Delos Santos is the founder of www.wildgypsysoulwriter.com. She loves to read and wants to share the insights of the books she is reading. She believes that books are one way of communication, when you use your creativity, you can inspire many people. She believes that books have the power to change people’s lives. She likes to travel, sing, and taking photographs.