Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 6

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 6, Go Join a Scene

In this chapter, Jeff discusses the importance of where we do our work and its effect on our work. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • Our environment can affect how others perceive our work. One way it does that is by affecting the network we can build in that environment. Different settings allow us to create various networks. Those networks can contribute both positively and negatively to our work.
  • As an artist, we must be good at what we do, but being good is not enough. We must also have access to influential people who can help us spread our work and ideas. A network is our insurance against anonymity.
  • An artist will inevitably ensure many rejections. There will be many people who would reject our work for a variety of reasons. When we get rejected repeatedly, sometimes the best approach is not to work harder but to change the location or the scenery.
  • Not everyone can move to another location on a whim. Sometimes we need to stay where we are. Therefore, it is essential to create a scene or environment conducive to doing our work. There are tools for creating meet-ups and opportunities for like-minded individuals to connect locally. Sometimes the community we need could be right in front of us.
  • Success in any creative field is contingent on the scenes and the networks we are part of. First, we can build a network by contributing more than we take from it. Then, as we make those contributions over time, we will create a group of relationships, or networks, that we can take with us wherever we go.

In summary, “The Starving Artist believes he can be creative anywhere. The Thriving Artist goes where creative work is already happening.”

Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 5

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 5, Cultivate Patrons

In this chapter, Jeff discusses the importance of cultivating patrons who can support our work and succeed with us. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • In creative work, quality is subjective. Subjectivity means that not only we must practice, but also we need patrons for our work. A patron is an advocate who sees our potential and believes in our work. Support from a patron needs not to be just financial. It could be someone who gives us a chance or maybe connects us to the right contacts.
  • Patrons might not be wealthy connoisseurs or influential leaders. They are people who are willing to help to see our work succeed. It is also our job to recognize them and prove themselves worthy of their investment.
  • To attract patrons, we need to be teachable. Being teachable is to demonstrate both competency in our craft and a willingness to learn. In addition, influencers want to help and invest in others, so being teachable will make it easy for them to support our work.
  • Creative work is a team sport –success often comes in the form of artist and patron partnership. Unfortunately, while much of the focus has been on artists finding their patrons, it is easy to miss that patrons also need artists they can believe in and trust.
  • One way to find patrons is to find those people who are already investing in others and reach out to them. If we work hard on our craft and share our competencies, we can find those who can help our work spread. Instead of waiting to be noticed, we look for opportunities to allow ourselves to be taught and molded by those who show genuine interest in our work.

In summary, “The Starving Artist waits to be noticed. The Thriving Artist cultivates patrons.”

Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 4

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 4, Harness Your Stubbornness

In this chapter, Jeff discusses why it is essential for thriving artists to harness their stubbornness. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • All artists have a secret weapon, and it is stubbornness. It is not productive to be stubborn about everything. We need to channel the stubbornness energy strategically on things that count.
  • Strategic stubbornness is the ability to persevere and maintain passion for long-term goals despite adverse circumstances. Grit, as defined by Angela Duckworth, entails working strenuously toward challenges and maintaining effort and interest over time despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.
  • As aspiring artists, our job is not to be perfect every time but to be creating. By consistently creating and delivering projects, we can harness our stubbornness and apply it toward the right things. We need to turn our determination into tenacity and leverage it to succeed.
  • Strategic stubbornness for thriving artists focuses on the vision, but we are flexible on the supporting details to get to the end goal. Along the way, there will be plenty of support and criticism, but the thriving artists do not take any of it personally. We realize the ultimate success might not be totally up to us, so the best we can do is keep on creating and delivering.
  • For most successful work or endeavors, talent did not cause them; tenacity did. If we want our work to succeed, we need to be stubborn about the right thing. In creative work, stubbornness can be an asset.

In summary, “The Starving Artist is stubborn about everything. The Thriving Artist is stubborn about the right things.”

Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 3

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 3, Apprentice Under a Master

In this chapter, Jeff discusses the importance of seeking out apprentice opportunities on our journey to master the craft. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • Becoming a master means we will master our craft. However, before we become masters, we must first become apprentices.
  • An apprentice makes a conscious choice to do whatever it takes to master the craft. The marks of a good apprentice are patience, perseverance, and humility.
  • An apprentice does not give up, and they also do what no one else is willing to do to acquire mastery. Therefore, we must be diligent enough to take the work seriously and continue to grow.
  • The first step in an apprenticeship is to find a master who is worth studying. When we find such a person, our goal is to consume as much of their work as possible and familiarize ourselves with it.
  • When the apprenticeship starts, we consistently do the hard work and keep showing up, regardless of the outcome. But, in the end, hard work is all we can measure.
  • As thriving artists, we are both humble enough to admit our need for help and sufficiently audacious to see it out. Great work is a result of a willingness to become an apprentice on our journey to mastery.

In summary, “The Starving Artist believes he has enough talent. The Thriving Artist apprentices under a master.”

Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 2

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 2, Stop Trying to Be Original

In this chapter, Jeff discusses why we should stop trying to be original on the journey of building an artist’s path. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • Psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi believes that creative work requires five steps: preparation, incubation, insight, evaluation, and elaboration.
  • We often think that “creativity” is actually the final step, elaboration, but we missed a number of elements that must happen before elaboration occurs.
  • In the end, creativity is not about being original. Instead, creativity is about learning to rearrange what has already been in a way that brings fresh insight into old material.
  • The best artist elegantly steals ideas from many sources and arranges them in new and exciting ways. Steal elegantly means that we need to know our craft so well that we can add value by building on our predecessor’s work.
  • The Rule of Creative Theft says greatness comes from borrowing other people’s work and building on it. So, in essence, we steal the right way to greatness.
  • To steal elegantly, we must do the preparatory work of studying the greats who came before us. We must aspire to become a student before we become a thief.
  • The thief begins as a copycat by copying not only from the masters but also from our peers. Thus, we establish our authority in a particular field is by mastering the techniques of those who are already authorities and then some more.
  • The difference between an artist and a copycat is that artists build on the work, and the copycats merely mimic it.
  • When we steal, we do not just copy and paste the work of our predecessors. Instead, once we have mastered the form, we bring those influences in a new way. We curate before we create.
  • Most importantly, we give credit where credit is due by citing our sources as much as possible.

In summary, “The Starving Artist strives to be original. As a result, the Thriving Artist steals from his influences.”

Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 1

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 1, You Aren’t Born an Artist

In this chapter, Jeff discusses the mindset of being born an artist vs. becoming an artist. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • We are not born an artist; however, we can become one.
  • If we want to become artists, we must break away from the status quo and forge a new path. We cannot do just what others expect of us, which turns out to be how creativity works best.
  • Before we can create art, we first must create ourselves. Then, we do not have to assume the identity other people gave us.
  • Eventually, we must decide who we are by choosing our role and owning that identity. We do not fake it till we make it; instead, we believe it till we become it.
  • Once we have endeavored to re-create ourselves, we begin taking practical steps towards the change. Most significant change starts with a simple step, not a giant leap.
  • Doing creative work involves taking small steps, not a leap or an epiphany. The steps are small decisions that lead to the next one. We can do extraordinary things when we are patiently persistent.
  • Becoming an artist is not a one-time event, as we are never done becoming ourselves. Instead, we are either becoming more of our true selves or drifting into a false self.
  • We appreciate art that we find on the fringes, so it is never too late to start living a new story.

In summary, “The Starving Artist believes you must be born an artist. The Thriving Artist knows you must become one.”