Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work, and Keep Going: a Short Review
One of the things I often hear from artists and composers is how much they struggle with the creative process, finding the inspiration every day and, more than anything else, overcoming the infamous Impostor Syndrome (I know I do).
While this is not an article about Impostor Syndrome (and there are wonderful informative resources on the Internet, if you want to read more about it), I would like to assure you that you are not alone in feeling like you never earned your achievements, that people around you are amazing while you are a fraud, and all that negative self talk happening in your head more often than not. It happens to the best and most prominent names in any industry (for example, Danny Elfman often talks about it in his interviews) and this could be a starting point in realising that you are unique and the world needs your art.
That said, there are some days harder than others and, at least for me, reading always seemed to help in making me feel better, find inspiration and learn a bunch new things (often about myself).
In a severe moment of "Hey, I should just give up and let the talented people do their job", I stumbled across Steal Like An Artist. It looked great, had amazing reviews and I just bought it.
That was the best thing I could do at the time: I read it all in one sit and felt a surge of confidence and realisation that made me buy immediately the other two books of the "series" by Austin Kleon.
Whilst I did some research on creativity a few years ago and read some great books about the topic, finding these little gems was absolutely brilliant.
From Steal Like An Artist, to Show Your Work, and Keep Going, Austin Kleon has this way of putting things into perspective that really gave me an unexpected surge of creative energy and inspiration to carry on and be more mindful with what I do, enjoying the difficulty of the process rather than expecting it to become easier and being overwhelmed every day by the fact that it just won't. It is just not how it works. And that is actually the beauty of it and why we do it: the challenge of getting better, of reinventing yourself and just the joy of learn new things.
Steal Like An Artist, briefly, Is about understanding that nothing is original, and any work of art we produce comes from all the things we have experienced in our life. The point of the book is to embrace this concept and learn that inspiration is somewhat like stealing whether you do it consciously or not. Of course this is absolutely not a guide to copy others' works, rather a call to learn and enjoy how to be influenced by the world and amazing people around us.
Show Your Work deals with how to get noticed and known. This little book is a brilliant guide on how to put yourself and your work out there and slowly build a following of people who care about you and what you do. The perspective here is to create value and learn from others who are doing the same, teaching and showing what you do, building culture and getting discovered in the meantime.
Keep Going is a great help in how to stay creative and focused on your work every day. This is an amazing book that will provide you with a set of rules to bring in your life more mindfulness and authenticity. The focus here is on how the creative journey is all about getting work done every day no matter what, with purpose and trust in the process. It will inspire you with ideas and interesting concepts that will give you a new perspective on how to approach your work focusing on "working on leaving things better than you found them, instead of focusing on making your mark".
If you, like me, find joy and inspiration in reading, then I believe these books are for you.
And they will also feel and smell great in your shelve!