If you haven’t followed Austin Kleon, you may not be familiar with him as an artist and writer, but he’s written several books on how to be an artist, and now he’s added to that with a book on how to do work when you may not feel inspired or like you want to make anything. Keep Going was just what I needed to read right now, so I whipped through the book quickly.
Kleon takes all the things he’s read and thought about doing work and keeping going in difficult times and puts them all in one place. I was most struck by two different concepts that I’ve read about on his blog, but enjoyed the expanded version in the book. The first is Demons Hate Fresh Air and Planting Your Garden.
Just this past week I was feeling unsettled as I worked, not sure what I should be doing, and filled with doubt. I went out for a run, pounding down the greenway noticing all the green leaves coming out and listening to bad pop and the creeks rushing by. I came back refreshed and ready to hit it with my work. Getting out and away from the world and spending some time to look around and just be in the place you are changes my mood every time I do it. And Kleon talks about doing it no matter the weather or the what else is going on and I would agree.
But I also like the way he talks about reaching out to those who’ve gone before you. Reading, thinking, journaling, and more to see how those writers fit in with your work, how you can take inspiration from them, and by the end I was adding books to my list to look for at the library or in my local bookstore.
And I’m thinking more now about how I want to spend my time, what is worthwhile for me to do now, and how do I make the time and space to do it.