I recently read Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist for my Literary Citizenship class and found it very useful. I ordered the book through Amazon, when it arrived I flipped through it, noticing the non-traditional format. I thought this won’t take long to get through, so I waited until the last minute to read it. This was a mistake. Although it’s a quick read, there were some “thinker” moments. When I sat down with it, I had to reach for my sticky tabs immediately, and then a highlighter. Eventually I gave up on marking the quotes that struck a chord because I would have had to mark almost all of it.
There’s some great advice to be found in these pages. Of the many things that resonated with me, the following few were at the top of the list, so, in no particular order…
“School is one thing. Education is another. The two don’t always overlap. Whether you’re in school or not, it’s always your job to get yourself an education. You have to be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else–that’s how you’ll get ahead.”
“Some mornings, When I can’t wake up, I lie in bed and read e-mail and Twitter until my blood starts boiling and I get fired up enough to spring out of bed. But instead of wasting my anger on complaining or lashing out at people, I try to channel it into my writing and my drawing. So go on, get angry. But keep your mouth shut and go do your work.”
“Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.” – Jim Jarmusch
My only caution is that this seems to connect more with younger writers, which makes sense as it is coming from a younger author, but as Austin says, “Some advice can be a vice. Feel free to take what you can use, and leave the rest. There are no rules.”