Show your Work and Keep Going

Every year I religiously reread Austin Kleon's three books - Steal Like an Artist, Show Your work, and Keep Going (his most recent one) as they remind me why I like making things, help me work on my process, and try and do more things openly. A great creative reset for the start of the year.

More than not when working on artistic things, I get hung up on not being good enough, or compare myself to others who have been doing things for years.

Kleon says:

Let go of the thing that you’re trying to be (the noun), and focus on the actual work you need to be doing (the verb).

We've just got to have faith and keep going, even when we don't feel like it, as through practice, in small regular amounts, we level up. Fall in love with the process, and the rest will follow.

Keep Going seems especially appropriate now, in these strange times:

Whenever life gets overwhelming...think about your days. Try your best to fill them in ways that get you a little closer to where you want to be. Go easy on yourself and take your time. Worry less about getting things done. Worry more about things worth doing. Worry less about being a great artist. Worry more about being a good human who makes art. Worry less about leaving a mark. Worry more about leaving things better than you find them.
Keep doing your verbs, whatever they may be.
Austin Kleon - Keep Going

Relatedly, I keep coming back to the various video incarnations of this Ira Glass Interview, which talks about the gap, why people start things and quit, and provides some wise words of encouragement. Always worth a rewatch.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Next: Dealing with the dark days

Previous: Start your work day on cheat mode

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