I read a short and fun book, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. He lists ten things that nobody told you about being creative. Austin is a writer who likes to draw. I was smiling and nodding, while breezing through this 140-page image-filled book. Being in the corporate world for over twenty years, I have been trained to think rationally and logically. I naturally do pros/cons or trade-off analyses, when I need to make decisions at work or at home. I am a left-brained thinker. I didn’t think my right brain existed at all. At least, it had been dormant for a long time. Two years ago, I started the journey of Pam 2.0 by waking up my right brain through writing and speaking. The whole process has been agonizing and liberating at the same time. Three things he mentions resonate with me well:
1. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started. Just start doing what you like to do.
Through doing, copying, emulating, exploring, you will find yourself. True!
For about a year, I kept analyzing myself and agonizing over who I am. I thought that I needed to know who I am first before I started the creation of my web presence and blogging. Wrong! Just start making stuff. Go!
2. Be boring. According to Austin, this is the only way to get your creative work done. Minimize drama in your life and keep things in order. Have a routine that you follow. Writing, speaking and working take so much of my time. The only way to do all three is to let everything else in my life run on auto-pilot most of the time.
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” – Gustave Flaubert
3. Be an idea collector by stealing. Steal with pride. Stealing does not mean copy or imitate blindly. Take other’s ideas, internalize it, transform it by applying your own voice, style and point of view, and then it becomes yours! The trick is from whom you steal and what you steal. Again, you need to learn by stealing continuously. Over time, you will know what is worth keeping.
“All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original. It’s right there in the Bible: ‘there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)'” – Austin Kleon
Let’s start 2014 by being creative, by being a thief and by being boring. A site note: Thanks to Sarah Nesland, a great friend, for brightening my winter holidays by lending me this book.