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Keep Going
Read in 15 min.
Listen in 19 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Austin Kleon

Keep Going

Following the path that leads to your own, unique creativity

Cultivating creativity is not always easy, and frankly it’s not always pleasant. Sometimes you might look at your art and feel satisfied, and sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you’ll be really productive, and other times you’ll get stuck. So how do you move forward and nurture your creativity? In his book Keep Going, Austin Kleon provides ten invaluable rules you can follow to help you stay creative, focused and true to yourself. These rules work for writers or illustrators, for teachers and students, for entrepreneurs, and for anyone who is looking to become more creative. The book highlights some of the false myths of creativity, and guides the reader in developing their own personalised routine, which involves walking outdoors, creating a sacred space, and other simple things that will not only help us become creatives, but might even make us better human beings.

Keep Going
Read in 15 min.
Listen in 19 min.

Routine and lists help us make the most of the time we have available

Creative life is anything but linear. It doesn't just go from A to B, but works more like a spiral, in which you keep returning to a starting point every time you reach the end of a piece of work. Regardless of their success and the number of things they might accomplish, an artist never really "arrives"; other than death, there is no ultimate goal for the creative person.

There are very few things in our lives that we can actually control. Perhaps the only thing we can really control is how we spend our days, how we work and what we work on. This can serve as a reminder that yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come: there is only today, and all the things we can do with it.

The first piece of advice the author gives us about making the most of the present moment, is to establish a daily routine. This will help you to make the most of your day regardless of whether or not it goes well. If you don't know what to do and how to do it, your routine will be your guide.

There is no such thing as the perfect routine: you can get ideas from people who inspire you, but then you need to establish one that suits your needs, your character, and your daily commitments. To find the perfect routine for you, think about your day: what time of day do you feel most inspired? What daily activities can you get rid of to make time for creativity? Do you prefer to work early in the morning or late at night?

Some might think that sticking to a routine can limit creativity, but the truth is that it shapes it: it protects you from life's ups and downs, and helps you make the most of your time, energy and talent, which are usually limited. So, it doesn't matter what you choose to include in your routine; the important thing is that you have one. Create it, stick to it most days, enjoy getting out of it once in a while, and change it when you feel the need.

Making lists also helps to bring some order to our chaos: you can put all your ideas in a list, which will make space in your mind for you to explore them. The classic list is a good old fashioned “things to do”, which can be very useful when you feel overwhelmed with obligations and responsibilities. There are, of course, many others: Leonardo da Vinci wrote “to learn” lists, for example. You can also write a "maybe" list which should include the things you don't have time for now, but you might in the future. You can also make lists of things you don't want to do, or the pros and cons of a decision you are struggling to make.

Routines and lists give you something to aim for, but there will be days when things don't go your way, and when this happens, let go of the day regardless of how it went. Don't be too hard on yourself for what you have or haven't achieved. Remember that a day that seems like a waste of time today could turn into something meaningful tomorrow.


The key ideas of "Keep Going"

Routine and lists help us make the most of the time we have available
It’s very important to have a time and place to connect with yourself
Before seeking to be, you must learn to do
Art is a gift: learn to separate it from financial gain
The ordinary + extra attention = the extraordinary
It's time to drop the myth of the tortured artist
Change and uncertainty fuel art
Being creative requires striking the balance between being messy and being organised
Walking to ignite the creative spark
Align with the cycles of nature to maximise creativity
Take-home message
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