I was perusing the Barnes & Noble website some months back, (a dangerous activity for me for sure!) when I came upon a selection of books for writers and creatives. And right then and there, I plummeted down the rabbit hole! I can certainly lose myself for a good long time reading titles, descriptions, reviews and the “those who purchased this also purchased this” recommendations. In the end, of course, I ordered MORE books!
Oh, I love SO much when my order comes in the mail! It reminds me of when, as a kid, I used to get to order books from the Scholastic something or other at school. I’d bring home the little catalog and I’d get to pick a few books. When they arrived, I was SO excited. Very similar to now when my Barnes & Noble order is on my porch when I get home from work!
So, one of the books I got is called Steal Like An Artist – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. This little book is full of gems for the creative or wannabe creative. On the list of the 10 Things, #2 is: Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started. This really got my attention. I have waited on things. True confessions. I have tried for years to decide who I am. Am I a writer? Am I an artist? Am I a crafter? Am I a graphic designer? Am I a farmer? The answer? YES! I’m all of those. The revelation from this tome? I don’t have to wait to find out who I am. I just have to DO.
Here’s a little excerpt from this book. Let me remind you, this doesn’t just apply to artists, writers, creative sorts. This applies to e v e r y o n e. Making and Doing are one in the same if you think about creating your life – however that looks. So here’s what Austin writes:
If I’d waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started “being creative,” well, I’d still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my experience, it’s in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.
You might be scared to start. That’s natural. There’s this very real thing that runs rampant in educated people. It’s called “impostor syndrome.” The clinical definition is a “psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.” It means that you feel like a phony, like you’re just winging it, that you really don’t have any idea what you’re doing.
Guess what: None of us do. Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they’ll tell you the truth: They don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.
I’m always moved by ways people find out who they are. I like this. A lot.