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Stay Creative, Focused and True to Yourself with Austin Kleon

Lesson 121 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

Stay Creative, Focused and True to Yourself with Austin Kleon

Lesson 121 from: The Chase Jarvis LIVE Show

Chase Jarvis

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121. Stay Creative, Focused and True to Yourself with Austin Kleon


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Lesson Info

Stay Creative, Focused and True to Yourself with Austin Kleon

everybody. What's up? It's Chase. Welcome to another episode of the Chase Travis Live show here on CREATIVELIVE. You know the show. This is where I sit down with amazing humans, and I unpacked their brains to help you live your dreams and career and hobby And in life, my guest today is Mr Austin Klay on the best selling author of books like Steal Like an Artist Show your work and his newest one called Keep Going which we're gonna talk about today in today's episode is in front of a live in studio audience. So we're not gonna film that here. We film it in the middle of a church in a collaboration between Creativelive and University of Washington in downtown Seattle. So we're gonna go there right now. I love you, Hale. Thanks for coming in the flesh. Uh, well, first of all, this is what they call in show business a twofer because we all get to experience this today. And we're also recording this to share with tens of thousands of people around the world. So clap loudly when it's time to ...

clap and laugh a Austin's jokes. No, Honestly, uh, thank you so much. for creating this work. It's a treat to be able to talk to you about it and to share your wisdom with all the folks here. And can we just give him or just shout out for work like, All right, this is our third. It's our third time through this. They're not in Such are not with this book. We've had the good fortune because he doesn't to other books, which I will. I will try, and I'll cover a little bit of that ground. First of all, though, um, keep going. Where did you get the title? Oh, geez, I haven't been asked that yet. Uh, that's my job. Well, I like how dumb the title is. You know, I like how simple it iss, um this is a title that just was kind of there from the beginning. It just seems sort of obvious. I also like how my titles keep getting shorter. So it's like, steal like an artist. Show your work. Keep going. What's the next one done? Beautiful. No, but let's talk about the spirit of keep going. Yeah, and you captured in the book and I want to know a little bit firsthand hear from you. I just really wanted to quit a couple of years ago, you know? And it's funny, cause, like, I'm someone who encourages people, you know, It's like part of my job now. Um, but, uh, you know, a few years ago, it just felt like the world was on fire, and everyone I knew was sort of going nuts. They were distracted and distraught. And on the other side of that, I just felt like, What's the point of making work in this climate? Like what? What can my work do in sort of the face of all this? And then also, do I want to do this because you sort of hit that point where you're like, Am I going to do this indefinitely? Like, do I want to be? Don't have your fourth book called Done, If you want to do it indefinite. Exactly. Right. So, um and I think so. Keep going. Really? Was. It was the first book I wrote because I needed to read it. Um, you know, the other books were sort of They had catalysts that were outside of me, you know. Still like a nurse was a talk that I was asked to give Show Your work was an obvious sequel to steal like an artist. It was based on questions that people ask me and keep going. Is the first book where I was really like I I wanted to read this book because I felt like I needed it. And it felt different writing this one. It felt like it was, um, it felt a little more urgent. I used to make fun of people. They would come to me like people would come up to me at reading sometimes and they'd say, I just feel like I have a book in me And I'd say That sounds really painful. You you should see a doctor you know, cause usually books for me or are like they orbit. You know, they're kind of like it's like a bunch of space junk that's orbiting me, and it's kind of colliding and turning into little moons and planets like chapters, or like little moons that form out of the asteroid field or space junk or whatever. But this one felt a little internal, you know it that their urge was was internal, but I think a lot of the stuff. I had to kind of reach out. And, you know, because so many of my books are based in my reading habit, you know, and I I think that a big reason that I'm a writer is so I could be a professional reader, you know, because that's really what I just want to get paid to read all day. Awesome. Well, I have a few questions based on what you just said, but it reminded me that you all will probably develop questions throughout the course the night we will have a little Q and a session at the end, but I also want to encourage we do have a There's a mike back there, and if you have a question through your hand up, I like to mix it up just a little bit. So feel free. If he says something evocative, you want to jump in and I will call on you said so don't hesitate through hand in the air. Going back to you go good sir. Uh, so if this was an internal piece of work and it's called keep going and you wanted to stop, why did you want to stop and what allowed you to keep going. I'm a big believer in going away so you can come back. Like, I think that sometimes if you want to stop, you should stop. You should stop temporarily, you know. And so I was just life got a lot better for me when I just didn't worry about the next book. I was just like, I don't know if there's gonna be a next book or not. What I'm going to focus on is coming up with the process for creating new work indefinitely. So part of writing and this is in the book to, um, part of the writing of keep going was about trying to find some sort of daily practice for myself in which I could just create work indefinitely. So one of the things I started doing is I started, like, a plain old diary, just like a daily diary. Um, and I just started doing the kind of Julia Cameron three morning pages saying, and you know, then it would turn into five or seven or 10 you know, depending on the day. And so I started dire ing or journaling, or that's a weird for diarrhea, diarrhea, diarrhea, diary ing Mental diary ing diarrhea. That's awful, Um, but then the other thing that happened that was private. What was helpful for me with starting a diary was because all of my work is public now. I needed a place to just be private toe, have bad ideas, like I think diaries or good places toe have bad ideas. And I think that's what that's the glory of notebooks is that their private spaces in which you can figure out what you have to say or what you have toe put in the world. But then I realized, you know, I needed the public outlet to, and that's when I went back to daily blogging, because when I first started blogging, it was like an everyday thing, and and the game was every day. Just, like tried to figure out what you had Teoh to say what you filled the thing with, you know? And once I went back to daily blogging and keeping a diary, everything loosened up for me and the book just it just became apparent, like what the book was going to be. So keep Let's go one. I love what you talk about. You talk about creativity is a daily habit. So let's uncover that orange peel that back a little bit further for us. You talked about having a journal and you talked about your practice. What, More specifically, you talk about having a routine. You talk about the journey between your house and your studio, which is all of 10 feet. But my 10 foot commute, Yeah, but But walk us through that. I think that's you know, part of why people show up to listen to this podcast or show up here in person is because they want to know a little bit more behind just what's in the book. And so talk to us a little about your process. Well, I have so to give you an idea of my life. So I have, um my wife is home with our boys and I'm home with our boys. My boys, they're six and four. So anyone whose parent knows like, that's insane. It's an insane time. Um, and we are We're about, like, our parenting philosophy is the same philosophy I have as a creative person, which is there are very strict structures or or routines, and then within that you can do what you want, so there's a strict bedtime. There's a strict, like, get up time. We We do things at the same time every day and like everything's pretty tight that way. But then what? The things air. Everything is at your fingertips then. So, like, that's the same for me in the studio. Like it's it's It's a set time and and it's you go there and then you could do whatever you want while you're there, but you've got to be there. Um, what what time is that Time And where is there? So when when life is normal and I'm not on the road. Um, in Texas, you have to get out really early if you want to take a walk, and that's essential to us. So we get up, Really? We get up early in the morning, we might have some breakfast, and then, um, we stick the kids in a stroller and take him out on the walk. And we did what time And how long do you will like that? Give me some detail here, but I'm trying. These were these essentials. Uh, well, the boys get up at seven. And so I would say we go for the walk. It, like eight come back at nine. Is his family discussion time like, What's the what get you primed for the day? Well, the boys listen to music on headphones, and then my wife and I just talk the whole time rant at each other. Uh, plan the day you know the film director Ingmar Bergman, He said, You know, demons hate fresh air. So, like that's what we try to do. We try to, like, Let the Demons out when we're like our walk and then let those let those out when we come back and then I work until lunch. So then I go out to the studio right afterwards, working till lunch, and we have lunch together. Oh, and goes to 1/2 day kindergarten so he gets on the bus. And then, um, you know, if I want to give my wife a break, I might hang out with our youngest for a while and we'll draw our make marble runs or whatever. He wants to dio sing wheels on the bus 100 times. Actually, it's in the bad 10. In the bed is the thing that four year old isn't do. And then, um, in the afternoon. So I adhere to John Waters, make things up in the morning and sell them in the afternoon. So the afternoon is when I do administrative stuff. So, like if I have to make a phone call or email are whatever you know, whatever business wise needs to be done. And then if my plates free, I might write. But I probably will just read. And then I keep banker hours. So, like five oclock you don't and we eat together and put the kids to bed and then seven o'clock watch TV and we usually go to bed at, like, 9 30 or something, and I'll read until I fall asleep. So check close. I'm paraphrasing here, but he said, basically, if you only create when you're inspired, you're not gonna create very much work. So how much of that routine and you talk about writing in the morning? Do you have? How much of your success do you attribute to just sitting down and sitting in front of the page and just moving your pen over the paper? I'd say all of it. I mean I you know, I get ideas when I'm doing other things. And that's why I you know, that's why have this with me all the time. You know, my pocket notebook, I mean that. That's one of the things that I've discovered with kids. It's like it's great to play with kids because you get all these ideas and I just I'm happy because I actually am able to capture him, you know? So I'm constantly scribbling stuff throughout the day, but then I don't do anything with the notebook until the morning. I wait until the next morning and I look at my notebook and see what's interesting, and I used that as, Ah, I always have a starting point in the morning because there's always something interesting in my notebook. This is getting good, right? So, like, I always I keep the notebook all day, and then I don't have to sit there and look at the blank page when I come to my diary, which is in a totally different notebook. I didn't bring that, of course, but back to the hotel. But, um, I just I I'm I really want to make sure that I have never liked looking at a blank page because I always have something to get started with. It's important. And if I don't have anything to get started with, sometimes that's when I'll make a collage. I do a lot of collage ing my notebook, and that was questioned. So when you sit down into the work, some is collides some his newspaper blackout, some is drawing like, What's the mix and how do you decide? I just that that's the freedom like that's the not planned part. That's the not knowing part, you know? I know I'm gonna sit down, but, um, I don't know necessarily what I'm gonna do for sure. And so, um, collages where I go when I'm bottomed out, like when I don't want right and I don't want to draw. And I don't really want to make anything up like collages really like when I get ideas and it's also just I was making collages on the train here from Portland. I like to take the comics page, and I like to cut the dialogue off of one comic and then stick it on another comic. That's like, That's like my version of the crossword puzzle basically, and I actually think that way about a lot of the art that I do like. I think that the newspaper blackout work which, if you all don't know it's I take a newspaper article and I a circle a couple of words and former mental little funny phrases or sayings and that black out the rest. It looks like if the C I. A. Did haiku basically, Um, but, you know, those kind of started as a way to, like, kind of kill time on my commute and like at launch of my Day job, you know, they were kind of that they were like writer's block exercises. And then my wife saw them and she was like, these air finished pieces like, You should put these on your blawg, you know? And so I, um, you it's important. Have play time, you know, like there's it's important to do stuff that you're not really sure what it's gonna be. Or, um, it's sort of like aren't the time or something. You know, you have to have time to just putter around as an artist. Um, because otherwise you won't find the next thing that you're supposed to do? Oh, you just use the word artist. So I'm gonna go back to your first book. Steal like an artist. Are you still? Obviously, that was a controversial phrase borrowed from some other artists and aggregated in your own. But talk to me about how that the role that that still plays in your work today and, um and yeah, just give me give me a little a little bit of back story there. Well, sometimes people come up to me and readings, and they're, like, steal like an Irish changed my life. Man, I'm like, Cool. It changed mine too, you know? I mean, it was just It was kind of when I made still like an artist. I was 27. Um, and I think that book has three audacity of youth behind it. I couldn't write that book now, and I think people are like What do you mean? You couldn't write that book now? I couldn't write that book now because I'm a different me. Um, that's not to say that I don't love it and I stand behind it. It's just, you know, I think that book has that kind of youthful blast of energy. That, like first album from a band, has its It's like, uh, you know, first albums of bands are great because they've had, like, 10 years of playing and writing music behind him. So, like all the songs are really good, you know? So still, like an arse was like that for me. It was like a build up of everything I've been doing for, like, 10 years. Um, And so, uh, that book now I think I think, you know, my only trouble was still like an artist is people forget that like an artist part, you know, they just hear the word steel, and they're like, Oh, cool or conceal stuff. It's like, That's not what the book is about. I actually think it's a very, you know, It's an ancient concept. It's right there in ecclesiastic is, you know, here we are in the Methodist Church like there's nothing new under the sun. You know that that's and they stole. You know, the writer of Ecclesiastes E stole that from the Egyptian. So, like, you know, this is a very ancient idea, and I actually think that I think the rial the thing about steal like an artist is. It's dressed up is this kind of hip, um, like, kind of subversive looking book? But it's actually a very traditional message, like it's what artists have always done. You study what came before you. You take little bits and pieces of this stuff you love and turn into your new your own thing, something new that then, you know, it's like a big gumbo and you add your little bit to the mix, you know? So I actually think that still like an artist, is a fairly I mean, I think it's a Trish traditional message. I think what it does is it's a book that the book operates based on the content, like the message of the book is how the book works, because it's this kind of mash up or collage of all these different ideas and stuff that I borrowed from other people. So, you know, I think I think that's it's weird, like, um, what do you do with old books like this when you finish him, it's like that was you and they're like books are like time machines, you know, they're almost like time capsules. They're crystallization. Ziv thought at a certain moment, you know? And so it's sort of like when I look at those books, it's like visiting me in the past, you know, still look good, though, you know, Oh, how many folks in the audience identify as a creator is, then you create something either in your part time or a lot of hands, as I'm gonna put that at 80%. So really popular question on these sorts of environments is like, What would some advice that you give me your on yourself? I'm not gonna ask that question. I'm gonna ask, what advice would you give to the 100 people that just raise their hand? Oh, just like general advice. Wow. Brush your teeth. Let me get behind the pulpit here. You're telling me I think everyone just needs to go easier on themselves. I think we live in a culture right now and which, if you're not doing something at every moment of the day, if you're not monetizing your time, if you're not being productive, if you're not turning out if you're not getting likes, if you're not getting retweets bottle baba, like everyone needs to just chill out, take a walk, take a breath, breathe in and like, all right. You know, life is not about, you know, it's it's about living. And creative work is supposed to make life better. Uh, and I think there's a lot of people that drive themselves nuts trying to make stuff, and that's not what it's supposed to be about. I mean, God, if we wanted to work all day, just become an accountant or something, and then you can quit at five o'clock, you know, I mean I mean, if you just want toe like I just If there's not joy in the work, what joy is anyone going to get from it? You know, I just think everyone just needs to take a step back and just breathe and think about what you really want to do with your time on this earth, cause that's I think that's the thing for me, that these chaotic times it's so awful. But like it brings it, the message of human life has always been the same, is like, What are you going to do with your days? You know, like, how are you going to spend the time you get here and I just think like, you know, it becomes clear when you when you really just empty your mind. And you're like, What do I want to dio? I just I think it becomes clear. I think you know the answer. You're just like you're waiting for, you know, someone to say it's okay for that to be the answer. That's what I was hoping you're doing to them right now. I hope so. I hope it like you've got that thing in the back of your mind that you're like, This is what I want to do with my days. Like I think whatever it is, it's like, I mean, maybe if it's drinking whiskey and watching house hunters all day, I mean, maybe not. But you know that thing that you want to spend your time on that, you know, makes you feel a lot of That's the thing, that whiskey and how centers that's seven o'clock for May 7 o'clock comes around. It's whiskey and house. Hundreds time. My my wife loves HD TV. She's probably gonna watch this. I shouldn't make fun of her. Seven in the morning is pretty early to start with the whiskey 7 p.m. Yeah, 12 hour days, which is actually pretty. You know that's manageable. You know, kids get up at seven. They go to bed at seven. That's it. Talk to me and to the people listening and watching about airplane mode. So the concept that's in the book, that it's beautiful. So I there's there's this. There's an artist named Nina. Catch a Doren, who I think the world of and one of her projects is called seat assignment and what she does that she takes these very long plane rides, and she makes art out of whatever she packed for her trip and whatever is on the airplane. So she'll, like, take the in flight magazine photos and, like Sprinkles salt on them and make like ghost images. And then she'll photograph those with her camera phone. Or she'll like, fold her sweater up into like guerrilla faces and then take pictures of it. Or she'll, like, go in the bathroom and use the, um, the toilet seat covers. And like toilet paper, she'll like make um, she'll make her herself into, like in the style of old Flemish paintings. And then she'll take selfies so it's like she basically has figured out a way to take this device that, you know, kind of thes little black rectangles we carry around now that, like she's found a way to turn that into an art making machine instead of a distraction machine, and that a key ingredient is airplane mode, right? You can't get a stele signal on the plane. And so I was thinking about it, and I was like, Airplane mode doesn't have to just be for the airplane. You know, airplane mode can be a way of life. And I think that, you know, if you wanna get focused and really do your work, I mean, the easiest thing in the world to do is switch your plane into a switch, your phone into airplane mode and you're immediately disconnected. And it's just like it's a relief. You know, the minute you do, it's so easy. But it's just like airplane mode. Click. How much is of that story is about doing what you can with what you have rather than false barriers to starting. Well, you know, Nina was ah, she was a student of Valenca, proud and proud. Talked about constraint like constraint was a big, big deal to him as a teacher, and there he was also a big proponent of taking what's in your everyday life, and that's enough, like whatever's around you is enough for your work. And I think this is the The equation for me is you take ordinary life and you add extra attention and you find the extraordinary. So you take the ordinary and you give it extra attention, and that leads to the extraordinary. And if you think about, like the history of 20th century art, I mean that that was what a lot of it was. It's like you take a Campbell soup can and you point your attention at us and you change the world. You know, that's that's it. And I think a lot of I think art at its highest level is about, uh, you know, you figure out how to help other people see the world the way you dio. So if you go to a David Hockney show and you spend a couple of hours with David Hockney's paintings, you come outside at the end and you see the world like David Hockney, and that's the magic, you know, that's that's what it's about. How do you want people to see the world after consuming your book? Keep killing. I you know, I think, um, I think with my books I I want with Keep going. I mean, I want them to think about time, and I want them to reconfigure themselves time wise. Like I think it's a book. I think fundamentally it's a book about time because in the beginning of the book, it's like, Hit the brakes. Don't worry about yesterday. Don't worry about tomorrow. Like focus on today. It's It's like the A you know, one day at a time thing. It's like it's sort of like the bookstore starts out like stopping the bleeding. You know, it's like stop the bleeding like Focus on right now, Focus on the day. Focus on how you can get your days in order. And then, by the end of the book, I'm talking about seasons, and I'm talking about seasonal time and how you know, creative careers have seasons, you know, and some of us bloom very early, and then some of us bloom very late, and some of us bloom and then we bloom again and then we morph and mutate. You know, some of us have five acts, you know, and to know what your seasons are and to have that kind of So so you know, the book starts out. You're, like, about the immediate, like time right now, like the day. But then by the end of the book, I'm asking you think about the long term and and and so I I think it's a book. I think it's a book about time in a lot of ways. And I want people to realized that the days all they've got in some ways, like today is all you have. But also to think t have the perspective of time because I think when you start thinking, you know, big picture, it really puts things in perspective. All right, I'm gonna take a couple questions from the audience in just a second, so prepare those questions and I'm gonna go back to something you just mentioned. Which seasons? Yeah. What season are you in right now? Well, the harvest is in right now, you know? I mean, physically. I mean, I know it's April. Yeah, I'm April, but, you know, I mean, um as an artist. Where you and your art? Uh, I mean, long term. I don't I don't know. I I'm supposed to Maybe it Isn't that a theme of the book you just wrote? I guess I'm supposed to know. I don't think of it in I You know, I think in terms of book cycles now, So like, if you're a farmer and if I'm a farmer and like the crop is in and now I'm taking it to the farmers market, you know, And like, winter's coming and I'm gonna have to, you know, you know, I mean, this is gonna This tour will end eventually and and then I'll have to store up and I'll have toe, you know, re re, you know, recalibrate. Um, you know, I'm I'm a you know, I'm 35 so I'm not very old yet, but I'm old enough that things were kind of I'm approaching like, middle aged, you know? So, um, I'm But I do think that with this book, I think the three books answer each other. I think they talk to each other. I do sort of think of them as a trilogy. So it is time for me to figure out what's next. But I just feel really grateful now because I just have this. I know what I'm going to do tomorrow, and I know what I'm gonna do the day after that. Like, I just I just know what I'm going to do with my life. Now I'm gonna sit down and I'm gonna keep this notebook in my pocket and I'm gonna wake up tomorrow and I'm gonna write my diary and I'm gonna make blood post. And if I do that enough, another book will show up, you know, And that's just gonna be my life for a while. Are you scared about not having on understanding what the next step is for you? I was before I wrote this, but now I know that if I work the way that works for me, and I think that's that's what I want people to really take away from the book is to find your way of working that sustains you indefinitely. Because once you find that it will take you through, you know, and you might have to readjust at certain points, but to find a perpetual system for making work. I think is is just the most powerful thing. And and this is why you know, the real guardian spirits of the book were like, you know, I was watching all these documentaries about senior syz and artists basically, like I was watching, you know, I was reading about David Hockney and he was saying things like, I'll go on until I fall over. I was watching the Bill Cunningham documentary about how it hop on his bicycle and take pictures and wait well into his eighties. You know, I was watching even the Joan Rivers documentary, you know, where she had a joke file. And Joan Rivers is interesting because she just blower all our money and that kept her working because she had to keep making money, you know, she had her system down. Yeah, So I was I was just looking at these people and just thinking like, I just want to be one of these people. I just want to be I want to get old, if I can, if I can. And I want to keep working. Beautiful show of hands as a couple folks with a hand in the years to second ago, when I said a question. Anyone? Nothing. Going to keep going. Yep. Right. Uh, so if we don't have anyone to run a mike So if you would relay your question to me, I will speak it into the microphone so you don't have to get up. Please, go ahead and ask. Well, first of all, tell us who you are. Hi, Rachel. That really carry around the getting it on paper when you have a chance to be with it? Do you ever find yourself in a place using the inspiration somewhere along the way? And if you do what? All right, Oversight for the folks who are listening at home. Rachel's question was, you've talked at several times already about the notebook that you carry around with you. How do you when you translate that to a more formal work into another notebook or you sit down in the morning as you've described to us? And is there a world where you lose inspiration? You like that? Yeah, all the time. I mean, I'll find notes that I'm just like, what does this mean? I don't e like was it was this and, you know, I just let it go you know, because I figure if it's good enough, I would remember, Um, I think I think the reason I write the day after I take the notes. First of all, I stole that. You know, I'm not very original like I that was David Sedaris does that. That's how David Sedaris works. You just keep the notebook all day and then he writes in his diary the next morning. And there's something about time as an editor, like Time is a great editor. It filters out the things that airworthy and we're not. I mean, you know that from taking photos. It's like you don't know right away. What's a great image until you come back to the image after 24 a week, or maybe even a month? And it's interesting. I mean, I am not a good photographer, but I've noticed that some of the photos you probably have experienced that if you're if you're of the age where you took photos before digital, you'll go back through, you know, used to get photos from the drugstore, whatever, and you put him in albums, but then you go back through the package, you'll find a great one that was in that package you like. Why didn't I put this in the album? You know, um, and I also think photography is interesting because the things they're the most mundane and photos now will be the very thing you want to see in 50 years. You know, like some car. Now you'll be like, Oh, that car's in the way. But, like, in 50 years, you'll want to see the car. You know, if you had a picture of a pinto right now, you'd be stoked, right? Totally. But like in 19 Whatever, Bomer. Awesome. Thank you, Rachel, for the question. If you have some other questions, go ahead and shoot your hand up. I'll come back to you. Um, in the meantime, so we touched a little bit on steel like an artist. Let's go to show your work. And as someone who's followed you since, um, basically the internet since you started writing in your blawg. Um, to me, that was a really interesting point in your career, just from my observations at a distance. And I want to know, I want you to either confirm or deny that that was a turning point for you. because you had laid bare your style of working. And now do you feel like you're in a different mode there? Are you sharing Maura or less? Because it seems to me like you've actually you're sharing a little bit, Lee. I tighten up a little bit. So where is that in your process? From a concept and an actual practice. What I was trying to do and show your work is I was trying to unite the need for self promotion. Um, with the need for making work, and they're very different beasts. And I was trying to find the thing that you know, what I was trying to figure out like, Well, what does the artist care about that? I think the audience cares about two. And how can you use that shared thing in the Venn diagram? Uh, toe have, like, again, a system of promoting yourself. Um, in what I came up with was process. I felt like processes the thing that you know traditionally, that's what you're supposed to keep hidden. You're not supposed to show anybody what you're working on, but I just think, you know, my generation in particular, it's like we were all raised on DVD extras and like behind the scenes footage and stuff. I just think that, like when you follow on artist, how they work is really fascinating. And so I think that if you confined, the point of the book was, Can you find little daily bits and pieces of your process that you can show people as you're working? That doesn't take too much from the process itself. It's kind of a dancing act, you know? It's a dance. Um, and I think I think what show your work is also about us. It's about learning in public. It's about kind of having the courage to share what you're learning and working on as you go. I do think it was written in a more optimistic time for social media. I'm not sure if I would write. I think the principles are pretty much the same, But I think if I was gonna rewrite it now, I might focus on, um, Mawr community based platforms for sharing. Like I think the way people have patrons. Now the how you say or patri on Petrie on Patri on accounts like people will give them a little bit of money in the mail send, um, updates as you go are. I think newsletters are great places to share, you know, just just platforms in which strangers can't like, yell at you as much as you know. But I think fundamentally the idea that sharing your process is incredibly powerful as a marketing device. I think that's still that's still really believe in that. Why not? Why do you believe, Why is it powerful? I think when people actually see the work that goes into what you do, I think it makes the work more valuable. I think there's a lot of creative work that people are like, Oh, will you just you must just, like, come up with some things, bladder it on the canvas. You know, I think there's, I think when you do skilled work, um, there's a lot that goes into it that people just don't see, and I think that it adds a lot of out. I think it actually I think seeing the sausage get made. If the process is good and the sausages tasty, you know, I think it, I think it, you know, I think, and the perfect example, I think, is Aaron Franklin, who runs Franklin Barbecue in Austin. When I was writing, show your Work, he was working on a show where he took people through every stage of the barbecue process. And I just thought, This is barbecue. Isn't this about like, secret sauce And like, secrets of the trade and stuff? And he was like, Dude, this is smoking me. You know, he's like, and I can show you how to do it, but it's going to take you 10 years to be able to do it yourself. And by the time you see all that goes into making a Franklin brisket, you'll pay the $20 a pound that he's charging. You know, remember, that was the last time we were together. We were eating Franklin barbecue. That's how much he really likes it. Now. I think there's a, um, Debbie Millman tells a story, and you're friends with Debbie, also a fantastic designer, about Think it was maybe Polish Air. She designed one of the fancy logos maybe Citibank or Visa or something. And she did it in like, two minutes on a nap, like literally a napkin and charged, maybe paraphrasing a little bit here but charged a very substantial fee as one should, and someone said, We'll take you two minutes to do that And she said Yet two minutes and 34 years Yeah, and there's a Yeah, that story gets told, made forms There's also like, Oh, Picassos and ah, you know, there's another way That story goes where it's like Picassos in the park And some lady asked him for a doodle over dog and he makes it, you know, whips it out and she says, You know all that so graces, you know, $5000 or whatever, Matt, Madam, it's taken and she's a little took us second toe, you know, draw this Batam. It's taken me my whole life. Sensory Picasa. Ah, I love it. Yeah, we're gonna goto a question in the audience Here would be great. And we've got a microphone coming at you. Be there in three to one and first thing. Tell us who your hi. My name is Pam. Can you stand up so we can see and hear you? I I have a question about this current book. You said that you wrote this book because you you wrote this book because you needed it. Is there anything that you discovered as you were writing it? That you That was a surprise to you? Like, Oh, I didn't know. I thought that Oh, um gosh, I think you know the biggest thing I discovered. I think I hope this isn't a cop out. Answer is just that. Like, I really love doing this. Like I'm really like I just I've gone through this thing now where I'm like writing books isn't a burden for me anymore. I mean, it's like what I want to do with my life. I mean, it's what I've always wanted to dio. And it's like this one. Just it just I felt like I knew what I was doing. You know, that doesn't mean it was easy. It just I just I was like, this is what you're supposed to dio you know, And I've been waiting for that feeling. You know, I've been waiting for that feeling like you're supposed to do us. And I think that was the biggest surprise to me because, you know, I've got confidence issues, just like anyone else. You know, I feel like a phony all the time, you know, that doesn't end. People talk about imposter syndrome like it never ends. You're always waiting for someone. The pound on the door. It's the police. We're taking it all back, You know, you fraud. Um, but yeah, I think that's that was the big shocker for me, is it's like, you know, I could do this. Man, this is like, this That show we're doing, You know, it's like lacing up and getting back on the court or something. You know, it's like we're doing this. So that was fun. Um, but, uh, yeah, I think that's awesome. Great question. Thank you for sharing. And if you have others, please, through your hand, up in the air. We've got one in four rows back there. If we can pass the mic over, that would be awesome. Put your hand up or stand up Even better. And please again. Tell us who you are and let us welcome you. My name is Luke, and I have two questions. You pick your favorite one. Maybe, uh, you are physically present here, which is awesome. And we live in the world of the Internet, which you utilize wonderfully. And so I'm just curious to see how you reconcile and value being in Seattle or anywhere, for that matter. Then the second question would be you're 35. What advice you have for somebody who's a younger artists to make money. Oh, and to be really transparent about that, eat something of an Rahman. Awesome question. Thank you. I I'm probably not the most inspiring person when it comes to making money, because I my heroes all had day jobs, you know, like when I started out, I wanted to be a poet. And poets don't make money, you know? So, like, William, Carlos Williams was a doctor, you know, um, Philip Larkin ran a library. Um, Wallace Stevens ran the insurance company, you know. So I really felt like I would always have a day job. Um, and you know, the lottery ticket came in, and here we are, you know, But it could go away, too. I mean, you know, they take away the a c a. And I don't have health insurance. And what do I dio? I mean, if I mean, you know, I might take a job because I got three people that need me. Teoh. You know, so um, I think, you know, that's always in the back of my mind. I mean, that this could this could end and I'll have to do something else. So I you know, I'm not the most inspiring person when it comes to, um, money. I have always felt like, um, there's always going to be something that's makes the money The I feel like every artist has something that, like it's very rare for you to do like raw art and really make money. You know, there's always, like, some sort of, like hustle aspect. My friend Hugh Macleod calls it the sex and cash theory. Where is like there's the sexy part and that's the fun part. But then there's always like the cash part that, like, actually makes all the money. So I've always felt like if you want to be really weird and wild in your art, then you've got to get it subsidised somehow. And the easiest way to do that is to have like a side gig or a day job. But your first question was more. It is really interesting to me. What is the role of place? Um, we're in this weird time now where the Internet has really changed a lot of the design of our spaces and that every freaking store looks the same in every city. Now I have Ah, I have you fall. You probably like, follow people online where they travel to a different city and they find the store that looks exactly like the city they were just in the white walls with, like the would like Instagram e. I actually really love being in this church right now because it's not instagram friendly, right? Like it's not. It's it's a church. It's like it reminds me of, I mean, church. It's church, you know, And it's and it is what it's supposed to be. And so thes these spaces air sort of disappearing like we were in. We were in that complex where the Amazon store is the bookstore and it just looks like every other complex and like a new development, you know, and it's cool. It looks flashy and stuff, but it's like it doesn't have the same, like look at the exit signs in this church, you know, it's just like it's like an over here. It's just like we're losing some of that local flavor. And so it's It's weird. Um, I think that's why people like ruin porn. You know what I'm saying? Like all those photos of like Detroit and like Cleveland, where stuff is like, bombed out and stuff. I think people like that cause, like those spaces air kind, disappearing with in in cities like Seattle, which are doing so well economically well, for certain people, right? I mean, but it's it's interesting to try to find thes spaces. I think in, um, you know, we were talking before he went on in Seattle about how you could always see water here. What a wonderful thing that IHS like wherever you are in the city. And it's fun to find the character in cities because it's disappearing. I mean, we're really it's, I think the Internet has homogenized culture in a way that's really depressing. It was in the beginning. The Internet was like, Hey, find the other freaks like you, right? Because like you get on a chat room for weirdos and all the other weirdo showed up, you know? But you know, now it's kind of this mass culture, and I'm wondering, I I personally think that kids right now. I mean, I guess kids just play fortnight or whatever. I don't really understand it, But, like, um, I think if you really wanted to be subversive right now, as a kid, you start some sort of club that didn't have any kind of social media presence. You know, you start some sort of club where you, like, hung out and did whatever didn't tell anyone about it. That seems really subversive to me now, right? Doing something super private. I'm gonna drill in just a little bit further cause I really appreciate it. Both those questions on the physicality. Let's go one level. But what is it you being in this place with? People who showed up as opposed to just communicating digitally? Does it resonant? Is it scarier? Is it safer? How do you feel? Well, you can see people falling asleep, and then you could see people laughing. You know, it's immediate. It's human. We're all here together. And like, later on, we'll talk all signed books and, like, you can't. You can't replace this, you know, um and this is what we have. I mean, this is all we've got. Really? I mean, cause the other stuff isn't really really. I just, um And I think that it's weird cause we're taping this and this will be online. So, like, did you say tape? Anyone have any tape? Uh, but it's I don't know. I mean, like, the space between human beings is that's what I think. I really think it's interesting because so much I grew up in a Methodist church, So I'm having this moment right now. Like I mean, I hated getting drugged to church every every week. But I'm remembering now what it was like to stand up and sing together and like, uh, and to hear the choir, Teoh, you know, and to be in the same space with people, you know, I mean this these are things that, like you just can't replicate. So I think it's cool. That's beautiful. We're gonna go to the second question two. Or maybe it was the 1st 1 I forgot the order to help. I think it was the 1st 1 making money. I think you glossed over a little bit, and I want to drill deeper, like presumably you want to know how to make more money is this, right? He's big nod from Luke. Okay, so you have a process. You were you discovered? Did you seek publishers I want Is this? Yep. He's nodding. He was like, I want no more. So how did how did it work for you? And what do you recommend for him? I really you know, my agent would love me to write the money, buck. Like for creative people. I just I don't I don't have a lot of advice for money. Like people do it better than I dio. I think you play your strength. I just was like my thing in the beginning was like, I can afford some web space so I can have my domain name and I can My website and I fund that. And I was just like, this is the show. If people show up, they show up. You know, when I did newspaper blackout, an editor asked me if I wanted to that book when steel liken artist steal like an artist. When that went viral, I had an agent that I had already kind of talk Teoh. And I said, Do you want to help me do this? You know, But um, I just didn't I didn't go after it the way that that I could of, but that's just my style, you know? So I just don't have, like, I just don't have a lot of advice for money. Is it fair? If I summarise, Can you not? At least if you're not going to give me more advice, that the summary is if you're if you're doing your thing and you're doing we say steal like an artist and you're showing your work and you continue go and you keep going Is that the formula that you've adopted, like something different? I you know, I think that's the formula for doing meaningful work. I think that's the formula for for making your art. That's the formula for having a meaningful, creative life. I don't know if it's the path to making money. You know what I mean? I mean, I mean, a lot of my heroes died penniless, so I don't you know, be careful what you wish for. I mean, throw didn't die with a bunch of money, you know? I mean, Emily Dickinson, I don't think had a but, you know, I mean, a lot of these people. David Hockney's filthy rich. But okay, we've got about two somewhere between five and 10 minutes, so we're gonna accelerate the questions. Good. Put your hands up. I'm gonna just know that you've got a couple. I'm spotting you out the crowd. I'm gonna come back to you. I got I wanted to go back to some inspiration. You've mentioned to several people through the course of our conversation. You're you're so good of reciting quotes and names. And who are you paying attention to right now? Who's email newsletter? Because we were talking about that before one on stage. And you've mentioned it a couple times here. Share. So the weekend also subscribe. I mean, I pay attention to women. I just think like I think there are some. I tend to think that the most thoughtful writers right now are women. I in a Sparta's newsletters go. Um, I like Ann Freedman's newsletter a lot. It's a fun. It's a fun one. But then I have some people that I follow that you know, you might not have heard of. Um um uh I don't know. I mean, I don't know if your name is dead. People really who wants to read an email? Music? I mean, like, Yeah, there's a few newsletters there. Okay, But like read dead people. You know, that's who I listen to, like one of the people that I think everyone in this room should read because you live in a city where technology is like This is like the heart of a lot of technologies. You should read Ursula Franklin's The Rial World of Technology because that was a book that really influenced this book. She was a feminist meddler, just woman who wrote a Quaker who did the Siris of lecture. She was Canadian and she wrote the series of lectures about technology and they air just still really great. And she really influenced me. Tove Johansson, Um, who did the movements? The movement's air. Sort of What I want my family to be like, uh, Henry David Thoreau. I think people roll their eyes that throw, but, like if you read, throws journals, he's like lives with his parents. He's overeducated. He's upset about the government. He loves plants. He's basically a millennial. That that the dead left us the stuff. We're lucky enoughto have this life. Wasn't that different. You know, Throw used to complain about reading a weekly newspaper, and he said, You know this. I can't read this weekly newspaper. It's taken me away from my walks like I can't concentrate. You know, Gertrude Stein was like, We get so much information all day that we lose our sense, you know? I mean, there's do people have stroke everything that you are struggling with right now. Some dead person went through it, and they probably wrote about it. You know, there is wisdom out there. That's why you gotta read books there more than five years, 25 years old. You got a go past the latest, you know, article, but dead people. So I listened, or we'll we'll get your book or get my book because there's a bunch of dead people. All right, we're gonna take a question from the front row here, and then I'm gonna come over here to There was one over there yet. Thank you. There's two more over there. Great. It's like an auction and do everything. Even if I have anything. You good, sir. My name's Casey and I have four kids and I'm 37 you're up, right, So you're doing great. So give a hand to Casey on this together, folks, for those of us who have day jobs inside hustles and all of these projects and stuff that we're working on and we have difficulty in finding and making time to be creative without pressure or the within constraints, but without the pressure of having to make money for it. How do you How do you make time and find time to be creative when you have four kids and five clients to trouble lower your standards? I mean, uh, I just I mean, there's only so much to dio and it's like you prioritize. And for me, my kids are much more important to me than my work. I mean, they just are, and they're not gonna be kids forever. And I I want them to see me working because I want them to know what it's like to be around an adult who does, uh, does meaningful work because I feel like you know, when you're around that you can't. I think kids need to be in the presence of adults working like I think, one of the things I don't like about school is that you're in a room full of a bunch of other kids and you're not really in the world. I think a lot more kids could benefit from being around people that work. I mean, the problem is, a lot of us don't do work. That seems very I mean, where you gonna do sit next to me at my desk in my you know. So that's why I love I mean, I've personally feel really lucky because, you know, I do things that, like my son, Owen, can observe like you can see me. That's why I write my notebook. I don't use the computer like I want him to see me. We try to read physical books in the house, you know, because I want him to see me doing something, you know? I mean, that's eso. I just feel like, um, I think one way to do creative work it with kids is two parallel play is to figure out how you can play together in the same room. And so if you can come up with some sort of project where you can do while you're still hanging out together, so I bring own in the studio with me, And I have since he was really little, and he was in the studio with me. Uh, and it's funny he was in the studio with me when I was writing this book and he was doing his thing and I was doing mine. And I said, OK, honey, it's time to go inside and have dinner. They said, Would you work on today, Papa? And I was like, You mean do I was working on the book and he's like, I've been working on for the past two months. It didn't look like you were working on a book. Looked like you were working on your computer. Yeah, it's like, Oh, yeah, you know. But, um, I just think as much as you can, like, just try to figure out a way to integrate it. Although sometimes you need that time away from the kids. And so maybe the answer is to get up really early before their up even or stay up late. I don't know. Four kids. You get up before then. I mean, dude, you sound like you're doing it right. Like you need my help. I got to for a maiko. Bless you. Thank you very much. We're gonna shipped over here. We've got the lady right there with her hand up yet. Please stand up. Tell us who you are. I am Theresa and I'm also an author. And my question is actually more for Chase. But, um, it is great that it piggybacks off his I don't have any kids, but I still don't have time. So I have a full time job over 10 hour days and I have a 1,000, ideas. I have literally 29 books I want to write before I died. So far and I've published three, but I still have, Like I said, 29 I've got inventions, I've got business, brick and book and brick and mortar places I want to do. I have so many creative things. So my question is, how do you focus in and more for chase? You went from photographer to creative life. I look, I can't even look at the creative live thing because I see all these classes I want to take. And I get so excited. I'm like, I want to do that. I want to do that. And I literally have bought so many classes. Thank you. Because I get so excited and I went toe photo week and just being around those creative people a photo week? I mean, I just I feel like I was vibrating being around all these creative people and then I see keep going. I'm gonna go crazy with all my ideas. So taking a step back and stopping to focus without so I mean, is there any non cliche answer to focusing? I hate when Simmons has. We'll do one thing until it's done and then do the next thing. I can't. That's what your need to do. You mean you hate it? Because it's the truth. I mean, you hate it because it's the truth. I mean, you gotta pick the most. You gotta look at the 29 I'm going to do that one until it's done. Or pick two and procrastinate, you know, on one with the other. I mean, I think that this is really interesting to me because I don't have any ideas. Right. Look, I've got the opposite problem. Like I don't have any ideas. I'm looking for an idea to work on, right? Like I don't go around with a bunch of ideas for projects. So it's always interesting to me to hear that, uh, I mean, you probably you It sounds like maybe you've got better advice. I just You gotta like I mean, pick one. Like, what's the one for me? Like the thing that blew my mom. You know, you asked earlier what I learned in this on this book, Um, the Annie Dillard thing where she says, spend it all She's, like, suspended. All right, now, like whatever you're working on right now, just spend it all because it'll regenerate like and that was this book. I was like, I'm throwing everything in here like I'm just going for it. I'm not holding old. I'll save that for the other book. I was like, Nope, it's going in this one. And, um, I think like you need to pick the one that you've got to do next, and you spend it all and then you get do the next one. I know that's not what you want to hear, but, like, I just think like that's what people are telling you and like that's that's what we have all got to do we got to pick the one thing you know, you picked the kid like, you know, you gotta prioritize tough love here. I don't think it's actually a fear mechanism. That is, if you do half of a lot of things and you do nothing completely and then you can never be judged for that work that you put out there. And so my heartfelt advice to you is listen to what Austin said and try because that's the hard stuff. Ideas. What is it? You know, ideas, air, cheap and abundant. Execution is everything and the ability to carry a book from concept to completion. I can't, you know, the circles under my eyes, those dark circles that's from creative life. She's done three. So I mean, you know, you can do another one. Just do it. You another one after that? Yeah, and that's there's a mo mentum when you find that you can actually carry an idea and be successful and get it out in the world, regardless of how it's received. If success is defined as completion of an idea, that's what it feels like to be a creator. And repeat, we got time for we're going to go to that question and then one more after it. So, uh, you're quick on the draw of there is gonna go too, you find, sir, But before then, please stand up shares with your name and ask Austin a question. Hi. My name is Louise. Quick shoutout to Luke for his question from timber tax. He's always shows up in the communities. A great, uh, tax accountant. If you're creative in this world, see this guy That's the right season for that, right? I'm surprised he's got a bunch of creating. I'm gonna make hundreds and end up right. And but my question is, we have Austin. You and Chase have had several conversations of your books over the years with Chase Jarvis live podcast. It's been great. And now, here tonight, Do you have any question that you would ask Chase in the spirit of your most recent book or any other good thing you had? I could ask him, but then I'd have to kill you. Um, how did you pick where you live? My dad went to Ballard High School about 10 blocks from here. Like, ah, and realities. I travel a lot for my living as a photographer and with creativelive both Those involve a lot of travel to get to see a lot of places. I just I truly love it here. It's a great mix. Well, people ask because I know you love it here. Crazy people moved west, and then even crazier people went north from there. And so, like the people who ended up here I really like. Those are my people. You had to be crazy if you weren't here. If you weren't a native, you had to be crazy coming this continent. Yeah, for sure. And then Alaska is just too much. You don't go all the way up there. Uh, I thank you for acknowledging that there. We do have a lot of other conversations. I appreciated you for saying that if you want to know more about my work, look at this interview that we had done a long time ago. Part of what you do so well is articulate in very plain English. What's going on in your head in your heart and sharing it with you were with us. So this book is magnificent display that it's so simple and honest and like just exactly like the questions that you've answered tonight. So I want to say thank you for that. And then I do want to go to one last question before we break for book signing. Because we're at an hour. Um, it's this gentleman right here with the glasses standing up. Excellent. Remind us who you are and fire off a question for Austin. My name is Jeffrey, and my question for you, it has to do with all of the undone nous I'm a creative entrepreneur, and I just feel burdened by all the things that are undone. And I was actually just reading a couple of pages, like the first pages in your book, and I think you get to it. But I was curious. How do you carry the weight of all the things that are undone and stay present and the things that you're supposed to be working on each day when you know that that list is always gonna have undone things on it? Yeah, um I home in, uh, I, you know, getting things done is a classic for a reason that David Allen book like that was kind of an influence. I think that's in the back of that book. Um, I went, you know, you get skeptical bestsellers, You know, you get skeptical books that everyone reads, cause you're like I mean, people told me that about still liking a guy actually told me that about still like winners today. I did this podcast interviews like, Yeah, I figured that book sucked. And then enough people told me about it and I read it, and I liked it. But I have to admit, I found David Allen's getting things done and a goodwill for a dollar. And, um, I picked it up, and it's much more Zen than I thought. I mean, it's It's not just like he looks so buttoned up on the cover like he looks just like a business guy, but it's very like Zin, and it's very much about, like prioritizing. So you have time to work on what you want to work on. And he is a big He's a guy who has, like, he's like, keep different lists. So, like, keep your own done stuff on one list and write it down. So it's there on the list. But then put that list the way and then have the list for today. You know, I'm a writer, so I believe in the power of writing things down and, like, you know, getting stuff out of your head. That's really the big point of David Allen's book, actually, is that you get things out of your head and you get on paper so that it's not in your head anymore. It's somewhere else where you know you can get at it. So I would suggest maybe keeping keep in undone list and put it on the page and then say It's on here so I don't have to think about it and then write a list for today and do that. That's my advice. Would that be a super long list? They undone less? Yeah, pretty much, Yeah, pretty much. I mean, all because life is about what you're not going to dio, right? I mean, that's with every choice you make. You've chosen not to do everything else. When you choose to do that book, that next book you're choosing what not to dio, you know, And that's you know, that's one of the messages that still like an artist. Creativity is subtraction. You choose what's important and choose what to leave out because he only gets so much time. And that's how you do you work. Last question for the night is, uh, coincides with last chapter of the Book of Keep Going, which is about planting your garden. What are you doing right now to plant your garden? Um, I'm raising my kids, you know, they're there will outlast me. They might outlast these books. I'm trying, Teoh. You know, just they're, you know, people ask me about legacy. It's like I got two of them walking around, you know, now, But, you know, I'm trying to put work in the world that I think will last. You know, our friend Ryan Holiday talks about perennial stuff I really want I want I want these books to stand up to the time. You know, I'm trying to make things that last the same way them trying to raise little adults that could be hardy, you know, in the world. But I think I'm just trying to, um I'm really not. I hate the vandalism metaphors that we use for creative work. Like make your mark put a dent in the universe, move fast and break things like I just This is like the cosmic purpose of humans is vandalism. You know, I don't I want I want to make work that unites things that heals stuff up that, you know, men's or tidies. And I feel like a lot of these books are just taking these ideas that should be together and putting them together. And And, um, I think that my work as when I do the newsletter when I blogged and stuff I'm just trying to put people in touch with these ideas that should be together, you know? And that's what I'm trying to dio No better way. Want to say thank you to the nervous of Washington. Thanks for being on the show, but a round of applause for Mr Austin. Leon, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you for coming tonight.

Ratings and Reviews

Dream Focus Studio

By far the best classes on Creative Live!! Thanks Chase Jarvis for bringing so much greatness to the table for discussion! Just LOVE it!

René Vidal

@ChaseJarvis - love chat with Gabby about hope and the "relentless optimism" you share at the end of Creative Calling. Many thanks. -- René Vidal McKendree Tennis


Excellent interview with thoughtful questions. Thanks!!

Student Work