In a moment of frustration and passion for my writing I vented about the loneliness that
has followed me since completing grad school. Just when I thought I wasn’t being completely heard (because let’s face it, I could go on about writing for days and bore a person not interested in the subject) I received this little gem as a gift.
Turns out I was not only heard, but listened to and this book has been just what I needed.
“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”
Kleon reminds his readers that it isn’t just about writing or painting or drawing, it is about the creativity. Creating is not necessarily about being original. As stated in the title, creativity comes from all over, including “stealing” from everyone and everything around you and making it your own.
The book is organized in just that fashion, a bit like a journal with things stolen from others. There are drawings, quotes, pictures etc. It is a collage of Kleon’s writing mixed with what he has picked up on his writing journey. The chapters are short, yet insightful and full of things that an artist may already know but needs to be reminded of from time to time. The book is small and perfect for a coffee table. It’s more of a tangible reminder to be creative rather than a book you read and then place onto a bookshelf. Since I have had this book it has been thrown in my bag, brought to work, rested on my night stand, laid on my couch and tossed around in my car.
Chapter five is one of my favorite reminders: Side Projects And Hobbies Are Important. Within this chapter there is a section called Practice Productive Procrastination. Kleon advises his readers to do other things, to “bounce between” different projects. I have found this beneficial as of late. My notebook sits around the house while I practice the guitar, water my plants, make homemade candles, make coasters, fix jewelry and all the while I am thinking about the new character in the story I am writing. If something new pops into my head, I write it down and then carry on with what I am doing. I also steal from some of the other things I am working on and incorporate them into my work. This comes into play when sitting and writing is just not flowing the way I want it to.
Kleon’s suggestions are easy to incorporate into your life, not mention the book is a quick read. I chose to savor it, read a little at a time, but it can easily be read in a day. Which is nice if you need a distraction or rather, a procrastination from your work. I could go on about this book, but it is short and I don’t want to give it all away and ruin your experience. My suggestion is that you go pick up a copy, spend a day reading it and then go be creative.
Check out Kleon's website: http://austinkleon.com/