Steal Like An Artist (Read This Book!)

Here’s a book that challenges you to do something BIG!

To find your inner creative, and use it to make art.

Then, to share it with the world.

It’s called Steal Like An Artistby Austin Kleon. It’s a short read, but a great and inspiring one.

If you’re a creative in any way, I highly recommend it.

My favorite line reads:

Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use — do the work you want to see done.

And then remember, that success doesn’t happen over-night. You’re going to need to give it your best, little by little, every single day.

But Austin also suggests that you’re also going to need a little bit of the following:

  • Curiosity – The willingness to try something new. To experiment.
  • Kindness – Towards others. Because without them, there’s no one there to help spread your work.
  • Stamina – Like I said, success doesn’t happen over-night. And, 
  • A Willingness To Look Stupid – Who cares if you fail. Get up and try again.

Brief Q&A with Austin Kleon:

I asked Austin to answer a few questions on what it takes to be creative and successful. Here’s what he had to say…

1.) Most people have these really great, big ideas. But few people execute them. Why do you think that is? Is it fear of success? Fear of failure? Or lack of that creative gene?

I don’t think it’s any of those things — most people don’t execute their big ideas because executing big ideas is really, really, really, really hard work. Anybody can have an idea. Not everybody can pull it off.

2.) In her book, “The Creative Habit,” author Twyla Tharp suggests that it’s not the writing that’s difficult, it’s the getting started which I think can be applied to any other creative endeavor. Do you have any tips for motivating yourself to get started on a project?

In my experience, getting started isn’t the problem, it’s sustaining momentum over a long period of time. What I recommend in the book is breaking a project into daily chunks, turning each chunk into a checkbox, and making sure that every day you check the box, no matter what.

3.) In your book, you share your “not-so-secret formula” for success. There’s people out there creating art and sharing it with the world, but have yet to get discovered. Do you have any words of encouragement for them?

Yes! People have this perception that all you have to do is get online and you can have overnight success. The trouble is, getting a following online and becoming successful actually takes a really long time. Behind pretty much every “overnight success” story is someone who’s been working at things for a while. (Take Shit My Dad Says — that fella was trying to be a screenwriter for years when that Twitter feed took off.) I’ve been blogging and putting work online for almost 7 years. It takes a while. People need to stick with it.


So, what art are you creating? What do you do to keep yourself motivated and keep that momentum going? If you have an idea that you haven’t starting working on yet, what are you waiting for?


Check out the book: 

These aren’t affiliate links. I just really like the book and I think you will too.

[Photo Credit: Austin Kleon]

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  1. says

    Number 2 sort of reminds me of the Jerry Seinfield “don’t break the chain” productivity system – where you put a cross on the calendar every day you do something and it all links up to make a pretty chain.

    So, what art are you creating?
    I wrote a novel last November and I’m currently going through and re-writing it to get rid of plot holes and make it better.

    What do you do to keep yourself motivated and keep that momentum going?
    I use don’t break the chain, plus I give myself smileys/gold stars on the days where I do really well. It might be childish but it works!

    If you have an idea that you haven’t starting working on yet, what are you waiting for?
    More hours in the day! I make a point of writing down every idea that I have but I can only work on so many projects at a time without going completely insane 😉

    • says

      First of all, love Seinfield, so ha!

      Congrats on the novel! That’s so awesome of you. Something like that is never easy. As for your reward system, not childish at all. Nothing wrong with celebrating the little victories – they’re totally worth it!

      And yeah, I wish I had more hours in the day too. But you know what’s been helping me lately? I’ve been using an app called Wunderkit to help me get organized. I have task lists and other notes for various things that I”m working on (my blog, the company blog, my membership site). I’ve used pen and paper, and that never works. I’ve used Google Calendar, and again, that rarely works. With Wunderkit, so far so good. Check it out, you might like it…

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