About stealing like an artist

I have read somewhere that when you steal an idea you should rework that idea that you stole so that the person that you stole it from can’t say for certain that it was in fact their idea. And then I got curious about what Austin Kleon say about stealing like an artist…

He gives a lot of food for thought in bite-sized chunks in his book, Steal like an artist: 10 things nobody told you about being creative.

I liked his idea of starting with one thinker/writer/artist/whatever that you love and getting to know all about that person’s work and then getting to know about the people who influenced that person’s work until you have a type of family tree of influences on your own work. Because, as Kleon puts it, You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” – Goethe

It could be an interesting exercise to look at the various people that played a role in your own development as a person/writer/artist. For me, novelists that form part of my history is Terry Pratchett and two Afrikaans writers, Dalene Matthee and Deon Meyer. I think the only thing these three writers have in common is the fact that I am a reader of their work!

Another of Kleon’s ideas that made sense to me, was to not throw any of yourself away.

“Don’t throw any of yourself away.” – Austin Kleon

Maybe you’re a writer but also love playing guitar and drawing cartoons. People tend to think that if they want to get more serious about their writing, they should stop playing guitar and stop drawing cartoons and only focus on the writing. But these other aspects that form part of you are important for you to be able to do your best work. It gives you a different perspective and could be a valuable source of ideas.

Actually, stealing like an artist is but one of the chapters in the book. The whole thing is filled with good and inspiring advice on how to incorporate creativity into your life.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sanette
    Sep 18, 2015 @ 11:19:52

    Ah D! You are such an inspiration. I have found that NOT neglecting other things I love (socializing, my pets, gardening, diy etc.) i am a way better drawer/painter/mom. It takes a lot more time (and therefor frustration with time management and having to have a day time job) but the end product is a lot closer to what i imagined and these days i even surprise myself!


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