“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but keep going.” That isn’t but could have been the opening lines to Austin Kleon’s latest work on creativity and art, Keep Going book. It offers ten steps to getting through slumps in creativity and keep going in developing one’s art, writing, voice, etc. Keep Going is the third in Kleon’s series of books on creativity—both Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work are great reads!—and it might be his finest.
Or maybe it’s just the book I needed at the moment. I’m currently in grad school, trying to write my thesis, while flirting with a number of projects—novel, collection of short stories, and a new podcast—and finding time for none of it. At the same time, I’m more than a bit overwhelmed with issues at my day job, medical bills, and a myriad of other issues. Into the din of distraction and despair, Kleon’s voice cuts through with the insight and wisdom of someone in the creative trenches. Further, he deftly combines ideas from creative individuals from a variety of fields, which I always personally enjoy.
You know, I think the best way to describe this book is spiritual terms. The Keep Going book reads like the words from a spiritual authority or a learned spiritual explorer. It’s not a religious book. Kleon doesn’t present theology or claim any ecclesiology. (In fact, I have no idea where he stands on the subject of religion.) However, the message of the book is definitely aimed at encouraging the reader to keep creating, keep writing, and so on, but to not do so at the expense of ones health.
Be creative but be healthy, and spiritual health is a keep aspect. In fact, I think one could easily look at all ten of Kleon’s suggestions and highlight how they connect to, are derived from, or actually are, on their face, spiritual disciplines. Maybe this comparison doesn’t help you or make the content of the book any clearer to you, but it’s just how the book hit me: as an epistle from a secular apostle of creativity.
– Readability (5.0)
– Breadth/Depth of Content (5.0)
– Helpfulness (5.0)
Recommended? – Wholeheartedly. If you’re struggling with your art or passion project, why aren’t you already reading this book?