In order to MAKE THINGS, we really must learn like Austin Kleon says to “Steal like an artist.” Not only is stealing like an artist learning how to cultivate your voice through others works, it’s learning about how to use your life, how to steal from yourself. It’s learning how to use & blend all the characters in your life into archetypes, how to capture, retell & remix stories & experiences from our own individual personal experiences. It’s learning how to create work that seeps through from its core your message & philosophies & ideas.
This in turn, does 2 things : a) revolutionizes your work & b) revolutionizes your life.
A) revolutionizes your work. Learning to look at life this way, turns your story into an honest & individual creation. Because it draws from your life, your likes, your experiences, your conversations, your bits & details, it could have only been created by you. People can relate better when all the veils & shrouds are pulled off.
B) Revolutionizes your life. No small detail is ever not good enough to be considered for your story. Everything is truly OK because it’s the clay & crayons & chromatic scales, the raw materials of our art. All of the mundane & boring shit then becomes transformed deep into ourselves. Perspective shifts, now everything is seen as a part of the whole.
My biggest hang up is how to do this. Where to begin? How to trim the fat & cut down to the core? I’ve figured out two methods for learning how to steal from yourself.
•Write. Everyday. no matter what it is you’re trying to achieve, write. Analyze thoughts, record conversations, describe in sublime, perfect detail (to almost a trivial degree) the foods you eat, your surroundings, other people, your clothes. Explore ideas, write your own book & movie reviews, respond to articles online, write letters & poems. Hand write & type (not either or, do both). Get intoxicated & write then (but maybe hold off on publishing that quite yet). Write so much it hurts, write till you get callouses & your fingers start to bleed.
Maybe you’ll find your voice/ style/ message.
Maybe you’ll start to notice the poetry of life.
Maybe it will open you up to the new experiences in order to better tell the story.
Maybe you’ll begin to develop a sense of compassion, magic, connectivity, & understanding.
Maybe writing will just alleviate boredom.
•Collect. Save conversations (evernote?), keep a journal (duh), snap pictures of everything, cut clippings, highlight in books, collect soulful trinkets, get a pinterest account, make inspiration books, CAPTURE CAPTURE CAPTURE.
Voice is, in my experience, developed when you have a clear sense of self. Know what you like, what you want, what you want to create & why & the best way to do this is to have an arsenal of stories, quotes, clips, images, & ideas at your disposal. (Bonus: use the power of cloud software to have them at your disposal at all times!)
(*Disclaimer-there’s a difference between hoarding & collecting, & in between hoarding & minimalism is the artists way.)
Maybe this will lead to self actualization.
Maybe you’ll become aware of patterns & habits previously unnoticed.
Maybe you’ll develop a valuable wealth of inspiration & material to work with.
In what ways have you learned to use your own life to influence your work?