Home » Life Lessons Learned » Steal Like An Artist*

Steal Like An Artist*

I’ve been home for about a month now after being part of the creative writing program at NYU and I have to admit, I feel I’ve hit a creative slump. It probably seems ironic that after being part of such an amazing writing experience, I would come home and feel my inspiration and work ethic had dried up. But after thinking about it for a while, I don’t think it’s ironic at all.

Because while I was at NYU, I was living in a fast-paced environment, surrounded by others who were working hard just like me to achieve their dreams. I was supported by a group of fellow writers and I watched them succeed. But now that I’m home, I feel I’m in the doldrums.

I no longer see and speak with my writing support group every day. I no longer have the opportunity to attend literary events that were so common in the city. And I’ve had too much time on my hands to think about projects I’d like to do. So much time that I think too much about them and instead of getting them started, think about how overwhelming the possibilities are.

But not creating work has been bringing me down. I need to get back into the swing of things. So instead of sitting on my butt one more day, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands.

A few weeks ago, I was given the book “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon as a gift from a fellow writer.

steal-first-look-1

What better way to get out of my creative slump than to read someone’s advice about getting out of your creative slump?

I won’t list the ten secrets here because I really want you to read it for yourself, but I will share a few key things that I got out of it that I know will help me kick my butt into gear in order to get work done.

  1. Study one writer that you love inside and out and then study the writers that influenced him/her. This is your creativity family tree. Look to them for advice. Even if they’re dead.
  2. Write down your favorite passages from books, print out your favorite photographs, paintings, and headshots of your favorite authors and put them in a notebook or hang them on your wall so when you need motivation all you have to do is flip the pages or look around your room.
  3. Write down your ideas when you have them. That way, if you are ever sitting at your desk unsure of what to write, you can look through the book and start working on one of those ideas.
  4. Don’t forget to use your hands to create! Computers are extremely useful when it’s time to finalize a project, but when starting out it can be too easy to erase and edit before you’ve even got your idea down.
  5. When you run out of ideas, do something boring like folding laundry so your mind can wander.
  6. Don’t be afraid to create stuff that isn’t “good.” Now is the time to experiment. Enjoy it.

There’s so much more that this small book has to offer, so I highly recommend checking it out for yourself. I think each of us can take something different away from it. So for those of us in a creative slump, let’s get some art made!

*I stole the title from Mr. Kleon himself!

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4 thoughts on “Steal Like An Artist*

  1. I totally agree that sometimes it’s easy to get in a slump when away from your creative writing group or not producing writing at all; I’ve sometimes had a similar feeling. but looks like that book has some good suggestions 🙂

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