I want to wrap up this three-part series on finding creative inspiration with one more book that really helped me understand and connect with my inner creative voice.
It was the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
Austin recognizes that so few things we do are new — rather, they might be remixes of ideas that came before. So it’s important to be intentional of the influences and information we consume. He writes:
“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.”
Austin encourages us not to run from our creative influences in our desire to be original, but rather to develop upon them.
"If we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and embrace influence instead of running away from it."
Once we identify the artists in our creative family tree, we can pick up where we feel they left off, adding our own layer of influence — our own style — to it. We can think about our favorite artists and influences as our teachers.
“The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can’t refuse you as an apprentice. You can learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.”
One final bit of inspiration from Austin:
“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.”
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