You may be familiar with Austin Kleon from his previous books, Steal Like an Artist, The Steal Like an Artist Journal, and Show Your Work. If you know Kleon’s work, you already know that his writing is a fantastic resource for the workshop classroom. He encourages writers and creators to surround themselves with inspiration and share their ideas with others.
In the introduction to his most recent book, Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, Kleon tells readers. “I wrote this book because I needed to read it.” He describes it as a list of 10 principles that have helped him sustain his creativity, many of which he has stolen (borrowed?) from others.
Don’t Stop is organized into 10 chapters with each one highlighting a strategy for finding, maintaining, and even jumpstarting the creative spark:
- Every Day is Groundhog Day.
- Build a Bliss Station.
- Forget the Noun, Do the Verb.
- Make Gifts.
- The Ordinary + Extra Attention= The Extraordinary.
- Slay the Art Monsters.
- You Are Allowed to Change Your Mind.
- When in Doubt, Tidy Up.
- Demons Hate Fresh Air.
- Plant Your Garden.
The chapters are filled with advice and encouragement to help readers discover (or rediscover) their passion. The suggestions range from simple: “Airplane mode can be a way of life,” and, “Keep your tools tidy and your materials messy,” to complex: “Your real work is play,” and “Leave things better than you found them.”
Keep Going is a quick read that invites deep and lingering reflection and would be a terrific addition to a secondary classroom library. It is also a resource I’d recommend for writing teachers because it’s filled with quickwrite possibilities and can be used as a mentor text for multimodal composition.