“There is this idea that artists are born, not made. The Muse kisses you on your forehead at birth, and you spend the rest of your life creating magnificent work, but the reality is that creativity is work, not magic and those who buck the status quo are far more likely to succeed.”
The Myth of the Starving Artist dies painfully in Jeff Goins's latest book "Real Artists Don't Starve," laid to rest with a simple, yet eloquent eulogy, "The goal here is to build a life that makes creating your best work not only possible but inevitable." Twelve "Rules of the New Renaissance" rise to take the place of those Myths. Twelve truths that ultimately allow for a Thriving Artist instead of the romantic nature surrounding the image of Starving Artists.
What sets these two Artists at odds? Goins lays this out in the Rules he lists out; number one stating, "The Starving Artist believes you must be born an artist. The Thriving Artist knows you must become one."
“If we want to become artist, we are going to have to break some rules. We cannot do just what is expected of us. At some point, we must break away from the status quo and forge a new path. As it turns out, this is how creativity works best.”
Each of these “Rules of the New Renaissance” headlines a chapter and each chapter tells the compelling origins of Artists we know very well today; artists like Elvis Presley, Michelangelo, and John Lasseter of Pixar. These fantastic stories illustrate Jeff's points while adding a bit of fun history to the mix. (I especially enjoyed the mixture of histories being fond of stories and learning.) It creates a tasteful, compelling blend of encouragement and education.
Young Artists who wonder what it takes to Thrive should study these Rules intently. It guides almost like a roadmap. One area of guidance I especially connected with was the idea to charge for the value you're contributing instead of just waving the free work in as an "opportunity for exposure."
Goin's explains that charging brings dignity to our work and in so doing, we take ourselves seriously. Thinking of ourselves as Artists seems to be half the battle for those of us just starting out, but if we want others to take us seriously, we must first take ourselves seriously. Many times, I’ve heard Jeff Goins tell his own struggle with this concept when he was starting out. “You are a writer. You just need to write,” his friend Paul told him, and it clicked.
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark."
Likewise, Marianne Williamson said, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be?"
Let’s not make the mistake of expecting less of ourselves than we’re capable of achieving.
All said and done, I was impressed with "Real Artists Don't Starve," and I recommend it to Artists of all strains.
If you'd like to purchase a copy to check out for yourself, Click Here to see the book on Amazon.
I hope this has been helpful to you. Have a wonderful week.