10 ways to stay creative in chaotic times

Video of “How To Keep Going,” a talk delivered at Backerkit Bond in San Francisco, March 2018

Whether you’re burned out, starting out, starting over, or even if you’ve had success beyond your wildest dreams, that question always remains: How to keep going? This is a list of 10 things that have worked for me.

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Though you might not think it from the comic, I’m actually sympathetic to questions about tools and process, as I myself am a kind of process junky. I love hearing about how other writers work.

I’m also not someone who dismisses questions about tools with the line “the tools don’t matter.” In fact, I think tools matter so much that if you don’t talk about them correctly you can do some damage.

In On Becoming A Novelist, John Gardner wrote:


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1. It helps me pay attention to my life.

By sitting down and writing about my life, I pay attention to it, I honor it, and when I’ve written about it long enough, I have a record of my days, and I can then go back and pay attention to what I pay attention to, discover my own patterns, and know myself better. It helps me fall in love with my life.

Keeping a diary is about paying attention to my life and then paying attention to what I pay attention to.

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2. I have a terrible memory.

I can remember books and quotes and movies and art and all of these inanimate things that I love, but I simply cannot seem to keep track of my own days. …

About

Austin Kleon

Author of STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST and other books. I make art with words and books with pictures: http://austinkleon.com

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