Steal in more fundamental ways
Steal Like an Artist
I read a book by Austin Kleon called “Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative”. The name is quite a mouthful, but I think that is also works as an attractor for the book. At least for me it did. The book goes through some main points and case examples about creative minds and deeds, and it is a very motivational read. The main idea, of the book revolves around the idea that nothing is “original”, per se, but rather a product of a number of stolen ideas that the creator has gathered and formed into a new thing.
The book consists of ten chapters and is in a way a journey through a creation and publishing process. I especially like the use of several different sources for short and long quotes, because it really strengthens the ideas that the book is trying to set forth. The book is most concerned about the reader as an individual creative force and tries to make points that help the reader accomplish and create something, but I don’t see why those points wouldn’t help in a team environment as well. It draws a line between good and bad idea stealing and encourages the reader to take small things from many different people and to find out what and who it was that made their idols what they are. This brought to my mind a quote from John Mayer considering guitar playing that I really like: “You develop a style when you fail to sound exactly like the person you try to sound like.”
After reading all of this it feels even more okay to admit that I’ve had my fair share of ruts and writer’s blocks. As a creative mind I’ve never really minded these slumps, as I’ve luckily always had a number of projects to work on. I still think, though, that this book will help me, in some ways, to eliminate some of these instances of lacking creativity. Many of the projects that I’ve been a part of at Proakatemia that didn’t seem like much at first have given me some of the best learning experiences.
One tip that I especially liked was to divide your working environment into two sections: analog and digital. It plays around the idea that most of creative work is better to be brought into existence on plain, good old paper. Partly because of the ease of pressing the “Delete” key on a computer, and partly because a digital product feels that much more “final” and can bring about some pressure. The idea of an analog workstation, for me, is to not shoot ideas down before they happen. It feels better to have jotted down a hundred bad ideas and a hundred cliché answers than not to have done anything. In the end, they’re valuable learning experiences that might even prevent me from making the same mistakes in the future.
A thing that I’d never properly heard of, that the book brought up was a psychological phenomenon called “impostor syndrome”. It basically means that a person suffering from it is unable to internalize their accomplishments and thinks of themselves as a fraud and not worthy of recognition from their work. This is, in a way, strangely consoling, as I often also have feelings of not really knowing what I’m doing. Having a “diagnosis” for this and knowing that a lot of people suffer from it as well feels better than just dwelling on it alone.
It was important for me to read the words “Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started”. It’s better to be doing something nearly all the time, not only when I feel ready and sure about everything.