Tuesday, September 3, 2019

What Should Writers Steal?

Image result for steal images

I enjoyed a breezy read, Steal Like an Artist:  10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon.  It’s a book I picked up while visiting The Getty Museum out in L.A.  The museum, by the way, is really a beautiful architectural marvel and the campus of art buildings are set upon a hill giving you gorgeous views.  But the artwork inside is inferior to the “art-chitecture” of the white, glass and stone buildings.  Anyway, sorry to digress.

Kleon, a NYT best-selling author, says we need to rethink what will supercharge our craft, be it art, music, writing, etc.  He suggests things like “writing the book you want to read” and “don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.”  He also offers the following:

“All advice is autobiographical.  It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.”

“What a good artists understand is that nothing comes from nowhere.  All creative work builds on what came before.  Nothing is completely original.”

“The artist is a collection.  Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference.  Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists, collect selectively.  They only collect things that they really love.”

“I think it’s good to have a lot of projects going not one so you can bounce between them.  When you get sick of one project, move on to another and when you’re sick of that one, move back to the project you left.  Practice productive procrastination.”

He also suggests that we put limitations or constraints on ourselves. For instance, go write your best blog post in the next 20 minutes.  Be done then, no matter what.  Or, construct a song that doesn’t use any words beginning with A,S, or M. Paint using only two colors.  Only run upstairs, not down.  Try cooking meals that only exceed 5,000 calories.

Kleon points out many things you’ve heard before but are worthy reminders.  He wants us to fully explore our curious side, looking things up, asking questions, wondering and not assuming, researching deeply and not finding a Wikipedia answer satisfactory, and seeking ways to connect what exists with what could.

Of course, while we consume massive input from the over-informed world around us, we also have to make choices about what we don’t include or borrow in our works.  

“In the end, creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out,” he writes.

What will you marinate on today?

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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