Real Artists Don't Starve – by Jeff Goins
Date read: 6/8/18. Recommendation 7/10.
Practical and refreshing resource for smart creatives and entrepreneurs. Goins picks apart the myths surrounding the Starving Artist and offers an improved alternative of the Thriving Artist. There are dozens of useful rules of thumb you can apply to your own position, no matter where you are in the journey. Thriving Artists build their creative dreams step by step (not overnight). They focus on rearrangement and building upon the work of those who have influenced them (not obsessing over originality). They leverage their existing jobs for resources (not quitting too early and without reason). They recognize the value of a multidisciplinary approach and multiple revenue streams (not mastering a single skill and risking it all on a single bet). Goins follows this same pattern throughout the book, detailing the difference in mindsets, how to position yourself in the market, and how to make a living. It's a modern-day guide for living a better, more creative life, without struggling for the sake of struggling.
See my notes below or Amazon for details and reviews.
Adrian Cardenas left MLB to pursue writing. To begin a new journey, he had to let go of what was expected of him.
Before you can create great art, you first have to create yourself.
The reason many of us never self-actualize is because it's easier to play a role in life than it is to become our true selves. It's easier to conform to what people expect than it is to stand out. But this is not the way great art is made, nor is it the way real artists are made.
Eventually, you have to decide who you are. You have to choose your role and own that identity.
Creative dreams aren't launched overnight They are built gradually.
Study of 5,000 American entrepreneurs
-In the end, the more cautious entrepreneurs ended up being the more successful ones, whereas the risk takers who quit their jobs early were 33 percent more likely to fail.
The creative life is a series of small steps more than any single giant leap.
"Nothing is new except arrangement." -Will Durant
Creativity is not about being original; it's about learning to rearrange what has already been in a way that brings fresh insight to old material. Innovation is really iteration.
The Starving Artist worries about being original, whereas the Thriving Artist knows that stealing from your influences is how you make great art. (but you have to carefully study your influences before you steal)
Rule of Creative Theft: Greatness doesn't come from a single great idea or eureka moment. It comes from borrowing other people's work and building on it. We steal our way to greatness.
Such discipline is all but lost in our world today. We are far too impatient, too eager to show the world what we have to offer, too unwilling to take the time to learn the fundamentals of a craft.
For generations, writers have done something similar in copying the words of their favorite authors verbatim. Hunter S. Thompson did this with the work of his idol, F. Scott Fitzgerald, when he wrote out the pages of The Great Gatsby to get a feel for "what it was like to write that way."
The marks of a good apprentice are patience, perseverance, and humility.
-If you put in the work you will eventually see results.
-If you keep going, you will outlast the majority who quit at the first few signs of trouble.
-And always remember how far you still have to go.
The moment we begin to believe we deserve success is the very moment it will elude us.
Opportunities may come and go, but in the end, hard work is all we can measure.
"Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon, his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course." –Angela Duckworth
An artist's job is not to be perfect but to be creating.
Jeff Bezos: We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.
Gradatim Ferociter: step by step, ferociously.
Can you stick around long enough to see your work succeed? Do you have enough grit to take a few critical hits and keep going? Or will you get discouraged at the first sign of failure?
If you are going to create work that matters, you are going to need an advocate–a person who sees your potential and believes in your work. This isn't just about money. You need someone to give you a chance, maybe even connect you to the right people.
Any job can be a means to making your art, if you have the right perspective. Employers become patrons when we begin to see them not as obstacles to the work we want to do but as a way of funding it.
One of the most important issues for a member of the Creative Class is location.
You must earn the attention of those already established in the scene. How do you do this? Serve them somehow. Use your gifts and talents to help others succeed.
Put your work where it has the greatest potential to succeed.
Study the people who already are where you want to go.
Rule of the Portfolio: Starving Artists believes she must master a single skill, whereas the Thriving Artist builds a diverse body of work.
In the Renaissance, people embraced this intersection of different disciplines, and those who blended them best were rightly called "masters."
Thriving Artists don't just live off their art. Like good investors, they keep diverse portfolios, relying on multiple income streams to make a living...The challenge, then, is knowing what investments to make and when.
Ability to hold multiple conflicting ideas in tension with each other in a way that they can build upon each other.
Every artist must fight for margin to create.
This is what most of us want: not to get rich off our creations but to have enough time and freedom to create what we want. We want to have the means to focus on what matters to us.
We often live out the stories we've been told, sometimes without questioning the truthfulness of them.
First master the mindset. Then the market. Then the money.