Every Friday, my goal is to share some form of creative inspiration with you in the hopes of keeping us all motivated and energized about creating/making/doing/and generally living the heck out of life.
I can think of no better way to introduce this post series than introducing you to Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by graphic artist Austin Kleon. At no point in my life has a book found me, surprised me, and challenged me the way Steal Like An Artist has. For those of you familiar with movie story structure, this book was my inciting incident for creating anniemade.
I’m generally not a huge reader (depsite being a literature major, ha!) but I happened upon this little coffee table book at an Urban Outfitters just a few months ago. I stood there in the store and actually read through every page – moving from Austin’s first tenet of “Steal Like An Artist” all the way through to his final point, “Creativity is subtraction.” Now, most of what Austin discusses in the book isn’t revolutionary or startlingly new to me but the way he delivered it was new and it was impactful. The insight that hit me like a ton of bricks was number 2:
Wow! Totally blew my mind and caught me at the best possible time (don’t you love when that happens?). I had been thinking of, dreaming of, and pondering creating an online blog and shop united under my own brand for months at this point. I’d been missing the creative outlet the wedding had given me and feeling frustrated from a career perspective. Yet, I’d been putting this new dream and direction on hold at every turn- thinking up excuses left and right- with the underlying flaw being exactly what Austin hits on: trying to figure out who I am before I actually got the ball rolling.
He extrapolates more in the book on this point and basically says that if we try to figure ourselves out before creating, we’ll never get to the creating step. Moreover, I was never going to get to the figuring out part without the creating part. This gem and so many others lit the fire under me that I really needed to go from park to drive. Not only did it help me get over the bazillion mental roadblocks I was throwing up for myself, it’s also turned me into some kind of Steal Like An Artist evangelist (you’re welcome Austin Kleon).
Since it’s such a quick read, I’m actually considering buying a few extra copies to give to friends and family for the holidays. In the months since I read it, I constantly find the book coming up in conversation after conversation. I keep finding that so many of the points are relevant for all kinds of people in different stages of their life, no matter how creative or artistic they might consider themselves to be. To some, I’ve introduced it as a source of creative advice about writing. To others, I’ve found it helpful in discussions about careers and work/life balance. I’m starting to think I’m a little off my rocker to be pitching this so often (at least 2-3 times a week) but really, it’s kind of fun to introduce someone to something that made a big difference in your life and you whole heartedly believe could impact theirs. Call it pay it forward or getting your friends to hop on the crazy “I can do it” train with you.
So in case it wasn’t abundantly clear yet, I recommend highly that you check out Steal Like An Artist on Austin Kleon’s site and pick up a copy for yourself if you’re looking for an irreverent, infectious dose of inspiration – creative or otherwise. It’s pretty affordable to boot so you really have no excuse to miss out on the awesome. Once you’ve read it, be sure to subscribe to Austin’s tumblr too where he continues to post and evolve the ideas he begins in the book.
As for moi, I’ll be back next week to begin my regular posting schedule for the blog. Get excited for a very special and delicious chocolate recipe this Monday followed by a great Wedding DIY project and template on Wednesday. Finally, next Friday, I’ll share with you something I’ve cooked up based on Steal Like An Artist including a free printable to empower your own creative journey. See you then!