Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon instantly became one of my favorite books. I borrow all of my books from the library, if possible, but as soon as I finished this book (which didn't take very long) I ordered my own copy.
Austin's book is full of practical advice, inspiring quotes, and a kick in the pants to get the work done. I bought the book so that I could read it again and again, which reminds me that I'm probably due to read it again this month. It's a short, easy, and enjoyable read. If you haven't read this book, you should borrow it, or just buy it. It's an inexpensive book and a great resource, so you won't regret it.
The book is appropriately named for one of Austin's best ideas: take the ideas you love from other people and use it in your own work. He makes a very clear distinction between flat out copying and using the ideas of others in your own way. He advises that you "steal" from many different people at the same time and just avoid the blatant copy of someone else's brilliant ideas.
I also love his ideas on doing the work and sharing it with others. He expands on that idea more in his other book Show Your Work, which is also very good. I decided to take that advice when I started this blog. I am not new to trying to blog. I have had a quilting blog that I was successful at keeping up until I got pregnant (and totally abandoned once I had Berlin!) and I even started a Project Life blog, which I didn't get very far on at all. Sure, these blogs are kind of failures (one kind of, the other for sure!), but I decided to not let that stop me from starting this one. I have since realized that while I love quilting and scrapbooking, trying to get into the industry is what Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, calls "shadow pursuits". Each pursuit is creative and close to what I really want to do, but it's still a different path.
Now that I recognize that about myself, I can consciously make the decision to keep those pursuits as hobbies. I don't need to be a professional at everything! But I do want to be a professional artist. As part of sharing my work, I have this blog. Although I only have posts and no photos at this point, I intend to make this website my online portfolio and a place for all of my pursuits, professional or not.
You should definitely read this book and "steal" whatever you can from it!