This is the title of an excellent book by Austin Kleon that I thoroughly enjoyed reading
I confess that I’m a little behind as it was published in 2012 and I have only just heard of it and read it.
Anyone with a creative streak will relate to much of what he says. He discusses the creative process along with roadblocks to creativity (these are usually self-imposed) in a really simple and refreshing way
I wanted to take a few moments to share some points that resonated with me.
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.
If we just start going through the motions, if we strum a guitar, or shuffle sticky notes around a conference table, or start kneading clay, the motion kickstarts our brain into thinking.
The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist in us—we start editing ideas before we have them. The cartoonist Tom Gauld says he stays away from the computer until he’s done most of the thinking for his strips, because once the computer is involved, “things are on an inevitable path to being finished. Whereas in my sketchbook the possibilities are endless.”
If you have two or three real passions, don’t feel like you have to pick and choose between them. Don’t discard. Keep all your passions in your life.
Step one, “do good work,” is incredibly hard. There are no shortcuts. Make stuff every day. Know you’re going to suck for a while. Fail. Get better. Step two, “share it with people,”
Find people on the Internet who love the same things as you and connect with them. Share things with them.
You can’t go looking for validation from external sources. Once you put your work into the world, you have no control over the way people will react to it.
It takes a lot of energy to be creative. You don’t have that energy if you waste it on other stuff.
Inertia is the death of creativity. You have to stay in the groove. When you get out of the groove, you start to dread the work, because you know it’s going to suck for a while—it’s going to suck until you get back into the flow.
Amassing a body of work or building a career is a lot about the slow accumulation of little bits of effort over time.
Don’t make excuses for not working—make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.
He has written another book entitled: Show Your Work!, 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. I’m looking forward to reading it.