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Ryan Stephens 🥃 @ryanstephens
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Sometimes, when I feel a bit 'stuck,' (and I have lately), I revisit @austinkleon's wonderful book, "Steal Like and Artist" -->

In case you're unfamiliar with the gem, here are some of my favorite takeaways.

👇 [THREAD] 👇
Nothing is Original.

What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before.
The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder.

There’s a difference: Hoarders collect aimlessly, artists collect selectively. They only collect things they love.

Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.
School Yourself.

Don’t ask a question before you Google it. You’ll either find a the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.
Carry a notebook w/ you wherever you go. Pull it out & jot down your thoughts & observations. Copy your favorite passages out of books. Record overheard conversations.

Keep a swipe file. It’s just what it sounds like — a file to keep track of the stuff you’ve swiped from others.
Make Things, Know Thyself

It’s the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are. You are ready. Start making stuff.
Start Copying

Don’t just steal the style. Steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes. You want to see like your heroes.
Step Away From the Screen

You don’t need a scientific study (of which there are a few) to tell you that sitting on front of a computer all day is killing you, and killing your work. We need to move, to feel like we’re making something with our bodies, not just our heads.
Practice Productive Procrastination

It’s the side projects that really take off. Stuff that’s just play.

Take time to be bored. One time I heard a coworker say, “When I get busy, I get stupid.”

Ain’t that the truth.
In the Beginning, Obscurity is Good

You learn that most of the world doesn’t care about what you think. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. This is actually a good thing, because you want attention only after you’re doing really good work.

Enjoy your obscurity while it lasts.
The Not-So-Secret Formula

There’s only one no-so-secret formula for becoming known: Do good work & share it with people.

Step one, “do good work,” is incredibly hard. There are no shortcuts. Make stuff every day. Step two, share it with people = put your stuff on the Internet.
Leave Home

Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.
Stand Next to Talent

You’re only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with. In the digital space, that means following the best people online — the people who are way smarter and better than you.
“Quit Picking Fights and Go Make Something.”

You’re going to see a lot of stupid stuff out there and you’re going to feel like you need to correct it. But instead of wasting your anger on complaining or lasthing out at people, channel it into your work.
Keep a Praise File

Life is a lonely business, often filled with discouragement and rejection. Instead of keeping a rejection file, keep a praise file. Use it sparingly — don’t get lost in the past glory — but keep it around for when you need a lift.
Take Care of Yourself

It takes a lot of energy to be creative. Eat breakfast. Do some push-ups. Go for long walks. Get plenty of sleep.

Neil Young sang, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” I say it’s better to burn slow and see your grand kids.
Keep Your Job

A day job gives you 💰 & a connection to the world. Freedom from financial stress means freedom in your art.

The trick is to find a day job that pays decently enough, doesn’t make you want to vomit, & leaves you with enough energy to make things in your spare time
Who you marry is the most important decision you will make. Relationships are hard enough. It takes a special person to be married to someone who’s obsessed w/ a creative pursuit. Sometimes you have to be a maid, cook, motivational speaker, mother, and an editor — all at once.
In the age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important to them.

Don’t make excuses — make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.

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