Keep Going | Austin Kleon

Summary of: Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad
By: Austin Kleon


Dive into the essence of creativity as you explore ‘Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad’ by Austin Kleon. This book summary offers keen insights and practical tips to help you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of the creative process. Learn the importance of establishing a daily routine, creating a ‘Bliss Station’ for focus, and embracing playfulness to rekindle your passion. Discover how to protect your creativity from the challenges of modern life and shed inhibitions that hold you back, all while valuing the creative verbs more than the nouns. The persuasive and engaging language demystifies complex notions, providing you with tangible takeaways to enhance and maintain your creative prowess.

Embracing the Ebb and Flow

The passage highlights the importance of showing up for creative work and how a daily routine can help creative individuals channel their creativity regardless of its strength. It emphasizes that a routine should be tailored to fit one’s specific needs and personality. The passage acknowledges the ups and downs of creative work, stressing that one cannot control the flow of creativity. Nonetheless, individuals can influence it by showing up for work with a tailored daily routine that secures them a regular period of time for creative work.

Find Your Bliss Station

In this snippet from the book, we learn how to find a silent and focused place for creative work by creating a Bliss Station. It can be a place or a time of day, and the key is to treat it as sacred, disconnecting from modern life. Two tips are provided to guard against distractions: embracing airplane mode and disconnecting from the news.

Are you struggling to find time and space to focus on creative work? In today’s rapidly changing world, it’s increasingly difficult to escape the noise and chaos. But there is a solution: The Bliss Station. Drawing from the work of Joseph Campbell, a literary scholar and writer, this book provides practical tips for building a space for silence and focus.

A Bliss Station can take many forms. It can be a room, a garage, or a secluded spot in a park. If that’s not feasible, it can be a time of day, perhaps when you’re alone at home. The key is to treat your Bliss Station with reverence, as a place of quiet and focus. Distractions are not allowed.

To achieve that focus, disconnect from the intrusions of modern life. Instead, embrace the art of airplane mode. This means putting your phone in airplane mode and using earplugs to block out noise. Just as on a plane, you’ll have plenty of time to think, reflect and work on flights of imagination.

The second tip is to disconnect from the news for part of the day, especially first thing in the morning. There are countless uplifting ways to start your day, such as going for a walk, listening to music, or playing with kids. You can always catch up on the news later in the day or on a designated day of the week. This way, you won’t be bombarded with negative news all the time.

In conclusion, the Bliss Station is more than just a physical place. It’s a space of focus and concentration, where creative work can flourish and distractions can be kept at bay. By embracing airplane mode and limiting your exposure to news, you can protect your creative time and energy, bringing your most imaginative and productive ideas to fruition.

Tips for Creativity

To boost creativity, make lists of ideas, tidy up your workspace, and take naps. Making lists can be very effective in finding inspiration, whether it’s a classic to-do list or a list of ideas to come back to. Tidying up your workspace is helpful up to a point; it can inspire unusual connections between materials. But, when you start losing track of your tools, it’s time to tidy. Tidying up slowly and reflectively can spark your creativity and even help you rediscover an unfinished piece of work. Take power naps to tidy up your brain as well as your workspace. While you’re sleeping, your brain cells get washed out, which brings new ideas when you wake up. Join the company of famous nappers like Philip Roth, Salvador Dali, and the Coen brothers in getting some creative inspiration.

Pursuing Passion Professionally

Many individuals believe that turning their passion into their primary source of income is the ideal career aspiration. However, this pursuit can result in placing a significant amount of pressure on oneself, potentially diminishing the joy it once brought. To avoid this pitfall, one should consider pursuing their creative work as a hobby while still having a day job or not making their entire creative output an income stream. Additionally, external rewards like followers, likes, shares, and comments on social media can also undermine one’s passion. To reconnect to creativity on a pure level, the author suggests gifting creative work to others, disconnecting from online metrics, and creating without any monetary expectations.

Focusing on the Nouns vs. the Verbs of Creative Work

The focus on being a creative noun over doing a creative verb is counterproductive. The book argues that waiting to be bestowed with a title before pursuing a creative task, limiting oneself to a single creative area, and the desire to “arrive” as a creative person are problematic. Instead, the author encourages creators to concentrate on the actions or verbs they engage in than the titles they hold. This approach allows for limitless creativity and a never-ending journey.

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