Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Rec: Steal Like an Artist

After reading my post a few days ago in which I was bemoaning not writing anything down lately, my friend Timothy Otte recommended a book to me: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. I requested it from the library that day, picked it up this morning and just finished reading it. I took a ridiculous amount of notes while reading: lists of other books to read, movies to check out, and things I want to incorporate into my own daily writing practice. I told another friend, this book got me fired up about reading and writing. And living.

Steal Like an Artist incorporates so many things I love. First of all, it's a list. The whole book is a list! And GOOD LORD do I love lists. I make a list every morning of all the things I want to get done each day. This is like a to-do list for the artist. But it's general and specific at the same time, so that no matter your discipline, you can adapt these practices to fit what you need.

I think that the idea that resonates the most with me here, as I've been saying for the past few days is: show up and do the work. Kleon writes, "Do the work every day, no matter what." But there's also a place for restrictions. If I only have fifteen minutes, I'll do the work in fifteen minutes. It becomes manageable. (Let's be real. I only really EVER spend fifteen minutes writing a poem. I have a very short attention span.)

If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend checking it out. It combines craft and inspiration in a really unique way. And there are so many charming doodles. I'm not a doodler, but maybe my heart is one. I loved these little doods.

This is a book that I plan on buying so I can keep it on my desk. I'm also planning to check out some more books like this one, if you have any good recommendations. I was just recommended Syllabus by Lynda Barry, which I've already requested from the library. I want to cash in on this inspiration and drive I've got going so that when it gets dull again, when the work gets hard, I know that it's possible: fifteen minutes a day, at least. I can show up and do that.

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