I just finished a short, but inspiring book called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (recommended to me by my favorite professor from college). I recommend this to ANYONE. Kleon is adamant about this too. Creativity should be a part of EVERYONE'S life. I'm going to highlight a few things that really stuck out to me. But really....go read the book. It will take you all of 15 minutes, but it has a lifetime supply of information.
So here are 5 of those that really apply to me right now in my life and quite possibly to you.
1. "Don't wait until you know who you are to get started."
As a recent graduate, so many people ask me what am I doing. Most of the time I give some long explanation that ends up resulting in me degrading who I am and the whole of art making. It's almost like I am ashamed of pursuing art. So this hit home pretty hard, because I really have no idea what I am doing, but apparently no one else does either! So just make stuff. Show up and create.
2. "Don't throw any of yourself away."
Passions. Anyone who knows me, knows I am a very passionate person (some would even say too passionate...you know who you are). I often feel I have to pick and choose my passions. Art is my priority most of the time. I feel like I have to focus on that first if I want to be good at what I do. Example: I have tried to learn the guitar 3 or 4 times now and I think that shows some desire. Kleon calls it a "phantom limb." Something is missing if you just try to focus on one passion. So basically, put time into other parts of yourself. Those hobbies can and will feed into your work some how.
3. "Leave home."
Now if you read my last post you would know why this made sense and clicked well for me, but then I realized eventually wherever I move will become home. Kleon's point was that being comfortable and in familiar surroundings leaves little for your mind to expand. So travel, take a different way home, go to a coffee shop to work etc. Get inspired. As Jack London said, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."
4. "Keep your day job."
Alright, so this might not apply to as many people, but to all my creatives out there who graduated or other creatives trying to make it, this was just nice to hear. It's ok that I plan on working another job. It does take a while to be fully supported by my work. It's the truth. It will be hard. The balancing act of day job with the job you really want is hard. Kleon put it into words I needed to hear that validated the double life feelings I am having and I don't even have clients yet. Don't give up. Stick to a schedule. Carve out the time you can. Treat it like it is your second job (because it is).
5. "When it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom."
Limitless possibilities. We pretend we want them, but once we have them we don't know what to do with them. I am someone who was driven by academia and now has no assignments or people to try to please with my work so I have no idea where I want to go. I can do anything. Any medium, any subject, any area of art, literally ANYTHING. Therefore, I have no idea what to do. I need to put constraints on myself. Kleon's example was Dr. Seuss writing a book with only 50 different words (that would be Green Eggs and Ham). Also, using limitations we already have such as no money, time, space, materials etc. There is no excuse. Use what you have now to create.
For more inspiration read the whole book. It's jabbed packed with wonderful tidbits.