Its well worth the 33 minutes and 50 seconds of your time. For me, it was worth watching it twice, so I could take good notes:
0.1 Writing is important.
Kleon references one of my favorite non-business business books, Rework, to reinforce why writing is so important. From Wordsmith:
If you are trying to decide between a few people to fill a position, always hire the better writer.
Good writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else's shoes. They know what to omit. They think clearly. And those are the qualities you need.0.2 A Few Quotes
Apparently, everyone steals. Kleon gave lots of examples: Pablo Picasso, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs, Woody Allen. My favorites:
Steal from one it's plagiarism; steal from many, its research. Wilson Mizner
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn. TS ElliotAnd now the actual 10 steps:
1. Writing is collage.
2. Read, read, read.
Good reading leads to good writing. Some people say, "I like to write but don't like to read." Apparently, those are the people who aren't going to "make it".
Similar to the recommendation for artists, Kleon says to make a creative lineage or writers. Find a writer that you love, that delights you. Read everything that they wrote. Then find three writers than influence them. And read everything that they wrote. And so on, and so on, and so on.
(My "person" is Daniel Pink.)
Keep a list of what you've read, what you want to read. Write in your books. Argue with the author in the margins. Apparently, this has a name - marginalia.
3. Keep a swipe file.
Of everything you read/see that you love and want to 'steal'. I need to figure out how to do this. I have about 16 swipe files. Any recommendations?
4. Carry a notebook and pen.
Kleon says, " Artists need pockets." Clearly, this is not a profession made for women. I very rarely have pockets. Okay, yes, I can use my purse. But still.
5. Step away from the screen.
"I don't know where good ideas come from, but they don't come from a computer."
"There are too many chances to hit the delete button."
Kleon recommends using index cards. A lot of writers do. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks about her use of index cards:
I have index cards and pens all over the house--by the bed, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, by the phones, and I have them in the glove compartment of my car. I carry one with me in my back pocket when I take my dog for a walk. In fact, I carry it folded lengthwise, if you need to know, so that, God forbid, I won't look bulky.
6. Don't wait until you know what you think to get started.
Because you discover your thoughts through writing.
7. Keep a daily routine.
Schedule writing time. Make a calendar. Perhaps this is like the Seinfeld "Don't break the chain"?
8. Write something you would want to read.
9. Tell (Oprah) stories.
Kleon uses Kurt Vonnegut's "graph every story", which can be applied to any story:
|Kleon recommends the "Oprah" graph|
|It also will work for a pitch.|
10. Practice in public.You know, tweet, blog.
0.3 Reading List
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
Lynda Barry, What It Is
Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics