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Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad

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Keep Working. Keep Playing. Keep Creating.

In his previous books Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work! , both New York Times bestsellers, Austin Kleon gave readers the keys to unlock their creativity and showed them how to become known. Now he offers his most inspiring work yet, with ten simple rules for how to stay creative, focused, and true to yourself—for life.

The creative life is not a linear journey to a finish line, it’s a loop—so find a daily routine, because today is the only day that matters. Disconnect from the world to connect with yourself—sometimes you just have to switch into airplane mode. Keep Going celebrates getting outdoors and taking a walk (as director Ingmar Bergman told his daughter, ”The demons hate fresh air”). Pay attention, and especially pay attention to what you pay attention to. Worry less about getting things done, and more about the worth of what you’re doing. Instead of focusing on making your mark, work to leave things better than you found them.

Keep Going and its timeless, practical, and ethical principles are for anyone trying to sustain a meaningful and productive life.

224 pages, Paperback

First published April 2, 2019

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About the author

Austin Kleon

15 books5,604 followers
I’m a writer who draws. I make art with words and books with pictures. Author of Steal Like An Artist and other bestsellers. Visit my website: http://austinkleon.com/

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5 stars
6,003 (48%)
4 stars
4,415 (35%)
3 stars
1,674 (13%)
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81 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,425 reviews
Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.2k followers
June 13, 2019
I love me some Klein motivation! While “Show Your Work” is still my favourite of this trilogy, many of the things in this book resonated with me. The two things I’ve taken away from it the most are: 1/ At the end of a day be happy with what you accomplished and don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t finish, and 2/ it’s important to take note of what we pay attention to... those are the things we care about, that excite us, and should be the things we put our energies into! We should also be careful not to let those things become mindless things (like instagram) that we don’t actually even care about that much!
Profile Image for Skyler Autumn.
228 reviews1,394 followers
October 24, 2020
5 Stars

What a time to read this book, am I right? With Covid-19 casting a cloud of doom and gloom on our lives its no wonder that I can't fathom being creative. The most I can do is go from one screen to another with what feels like the emotional equivalent of elephant standing on my heart.

These are dark times people. Mentally at least, and definitely economically. Uncertainty looms at every corner and we're afraid to turn on the news incase it gives us another log to throw on our fire of misery and despair. So when my Mother gifted me this book after keenly observing my lack of enthusiasm for creating and my use of food to fill that void (The Covid 15 pounds is a thing people). I held onto it like a life preserver. I devoured it and was so overcome with inspiration and positivity that I began implementing changes in my life within the hour after finishing this book.

Keep Going, is small and easy read that has now become a permanent fixture on my night stand. It is the holy bible for creatives like the commandments re-read it, quote it, and live by it. It is short, sweet and full of amazing pieces of wisdom and guidance that never dances on the line of patronizing like so many of the classified "self help" books. It's about enriching your life with creativity not profiting on it, not hitting deadlines, or mentally (and maybe physically) beating yourself up for not being productive enough. What does that even mean? When did we all become so capitalist even with our own interests?

This book takes it back to when you just carved out some time to enjoy being creative. No endgames, no goals. Just you and your passion. I don't know about you but I needed that reminder. This book is for anyone that wants to introduce a little creativity to their lives; whether tinkering with the idea of learning to sketch, or a seasoned writer who has found their once love for the craft has turned into a relentless chore. Either reigniting or starting off, this book will make you realize how important art is for your soul.
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,012 reviews1,334 followers
March 18, 2021
“To be on brand is to be 100% certain of who you are and what you do, and certainly, in art and in life, is not only completely overrated, it is also a roadblock to discovery. Uncertainty is the very thing that art thrives on.”

I did not know that Kleon released this and I was a fan of the first two books so I immediately got this one. It follows the style of the previous two books where the author mixes art with writing. I think it is very relatable, very easy to read and fun! I ended up reading the whole book in an hour in one sitting.

Most of the things apply to artists and writers and I kind of like both but at the same time I think it could be applied to many more areas in life. I think it is the kind of book that can be read when your battery feels depleted and you want to recharge!

I don't want to say much because I think it is a short book and better be discovered by the reader!
Profile Image for Chris Wolak.
515 reviews147 followers
April 24, 2019
Austin Kleon's books are injections of motivation laced with sanity. A reminder that you don't need anyone's permission to do what you want to do, you just need to keep on your path. I'm sure I'll read this one 10 more times this year. Simple and highly inspirational. I love that he's shredding the idea that one's passion or hobby should be turned into a vehicle to make money.
Profile Image for Juan Rodríguez.
118 reviews15 followers
May 3, 2019
Austin says he wrote this book because he needed to read it. He is certainly not the only one; this book is an inspiration to any of us who want to live a creative life and let, well, life get in the way. It's practical, it's funny, it's inspirational, it's like a friend of yours wrote a book and you're having an awesome time reading it.
Profile Image for Mehrnaz.
144 reviews93 followers
August 30, 2021

دیدید خیلی از کتاب‌های خودیاری بی‌دلیل و بیهوده کش داده‌ شده‌ان؟ خوب این کتاب دقیقا برعکس اون‌هاست.
این کتاب دقیقا همون کتاب جمع‌وجور در مورد بهتر کار کردنه. مخصوصا اگر از خونه کار می‌کنید.
فصل‌های مختصر مفید با نقل قول‌هایی که همه چیز رو زیباتر می‌کنه. خیلی از موارد رو هم احتمالا از قبل می‌دونید، اما برای من مثلا همه خیلی مفید بودن، حتی اگر یادآوری بودن، یادآوری‌های باارزشی بودن.

خیلی سریع میشه این کتاب رو خوند. اما من خودم خیلی آروم پیش رفتم و هربار فقط یک بخش رو خوندم که بیشتر لذت ببرم و ازش استفاده کنم.
Profile Image for Lorna.
684 reviews365 followers
November 12, 2022
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon was such a beautiful ARC book that I received in a swag bag from my favorite Indie bookstore at a day featuring many local authors' readings followed by a cocktail party. The beauty of this book was a delightful surprise as was the unique and creative format of the book. Because I have a son who is an artist, I thought what a beautiful book to give to this creative individual. But first I had to read (gently) this inspiring book that is key to staying creative and remaining true to oneself. It is a wonderful tribute to how we all should live and take time to let the creativity in our life filter through. Enjoy!
Profile Image for Stephy Simon.
168 reviews19 followers
August 12, 2020
Ok this is the second book by Kleon that I'm reading. Oh God! This man speaks my heart out.
Don't be fooled by the title and consider that this book is something made for a "creative person". This is all about how to be creative in everything.
Profile Image for Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance.
5,827 reviews286 followers
May 14, 2019
A new book from Austin Kleon about how to stay creative.

I am taking away a lot from this book:

(1) "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." Annie Dillard

(2) Make lists.

(3) Disconnect from the world to connect with yourself.

(4) Build a bliss station.

(5) Play.

(6) Slow down.

(7) I subscribed to Kleon's weekly newsletter.

(8) I hope to go see him when he visits Houston soon.

Profile Image for Hestia Istiviani.
898 reviews1,466 followers
March 18, 2022
I read in English but this review is written in Bahasa Indonesia

"We have so little control over our lives. The only thing we can really control is what we spend our days on. What we work on and how hard we work on it.

Austin Kleon masih tetap dengan prinsipnya: kreativitas bukanlah bakat. Melainkan sesuatu yang sudah dimiliki oleh seseorang namun perlu dilatih dan digunakan setiap hari. Kembali dengan Keep Going, Kleon berbagi kisah tentang bagaimana mengelola kreativitas. Baik untuk mendukung kegiatan sehari-hari maupun sebagai jalan keluar dari sebuah permasalahannya.

Apa yang ditawarkan oleh Kleon melalui premisnya tampak menarik. Seakan, memang itulah yang dibutuhkan oleh orang-orang saat ini. Mereka seringkali mengeluh kalau mereka tidaklah kreatif. Dan sayangnya, kreativitas diukur dengan bagus tidaknya sebuah gambar. Kleon kembali mengingatkan, spektrum atas kata "kreatif" itu sangat luas. Tidak terbatas hanya dengan citra visual. Ia bisa jadi hadir dalam bentuk solusi atas permasalahan.

Kleon membuka dengan mengatakan bahwa ia seperti hidup dalam mimpi. Ia mendapatkan uang dari apa yang ia sukai: menggambar, membuat ilustrasi. Dan orang lain bisa saja seperti itu. Di sini Kleon menenakan, ketika seseorang sudah berambisi untuk membuat hal yang ia suka sebagai ladang uang, bisa-bisa proses kreatif tersebut akan hilang dan berganti menjadi sekadar sebuah rutinitas saja.

"But being creative is never an end; it is a means to something else. Creativity is just a tool."

Kesepuluh anjuran Kleon tersebut seperti sebuah pengingat: hal-hal yang bagi kita adalah sesuatu yang kreatif, ternyata datang dari sebuah kebiasaan (yang ironisnya, ya rutinitas itu tadi). Menjaga mood agar terus dapat menghasilkan sesuatu yang kreatif itu perlu dijaga. Kleon menjabarkannya ke dalam 10 cara. Termasuk cara-cara sederhana seperti menuliskan list atas apa yang ingin kita lakukan dalam satu hari.

Tetapi ada juga cara yang membuat kita ingat, kita tengah hidup dalam kebisingan informasi: punya waktu untuk diri sendiri (disconnected from the world). Bagi Kleon cara itu adalah cara untuk mengenali apa yang kita mau. Dan dari situlah bisa muncul ide-ide utnuk menyelesaikan pekerjaan kita.

Apa yang dituliskan Kleon memalui Keep Going ini bisa diaplikasikan dalam keseharian kita. Tidak perlu tools tertentu. Asalah konsisten, maka anjuran Kleon terasa membantu.

Bagiku pribadi, pandangan Kleon soal kreativitas dan rutinitas mengingatkanku pada Pinot. Mereka yang aktif di Twitter, pasti tahu orang ini. Dialah yang menganjurkan agar setiap orang menggambar. Karena dari situ, kreativitas bisa datang. Sama seperti apa yang diungkapkan oleh Kleon. Tidak perlu peduli apa kata orang, menggambar bisa menjadi terapi.

Mungkin Anda juga ingin mencoba 10 anjuran dari Kleon?
Profile Image for Alfredo.
373 reviews506 followers
January 18, 2021
Não achei tão legal quanto os dois primeiros do autor, mas tem algumas dicas muito boas! Animado para colocar tudo em prática. As ideias estão fervendo aqui.
Profile Image for Xrystya.
75 reviews21 followers
February 11, 2020
Інколи добре, коли хтось тобі нагадує про такі прості й потрібні істинни. А що ще більш важливо, так це не забути їх одразу через 2 дні після свого феєричного нагадування і клятвенного обіцяння, що ось прямо у цю секунду повернеш життя у правильне русло. Ні потрібно, саме залізобетонно впроваджувати їх у життя на правду, без відмазок, просто роби.
Profile Image for Marwa Eletriby.
Author 3 books2,904 followers
February 21, 2022
كنت قلقانة ليكون كتاب تنمية بشرية
لكنه بشكل ما أقرب لكتاب تنظيمي، يرتب الأفكار
لطيف وخفيف
وغير معقد
Profile Image for Ibrahim.
263 reviews121 followers
August 11, 2021
كتاب بإخراج وتصميم لطيف، فيه عدد من الأفكار الجديدة والعملية
Profile Image for Stanislav Lozanov.
377 reviews157 followers
July 17, 2020
Книгата в никакъв случай не беше лоша. Та сега ще се зачудите защо ѝ давам толкова ниска оценка. Ами ако сте чели първите две книги на автора ще имате определени очаквания защото и двете бяха много добри. От друга страна, докато при другите заглавия има наистина практични съвети тук по-скоро се наблюдаваше празно бръщолевене и преповтаряне на неща, които вече, така или иначе, е включвал в другите си книги.
Profile Image for Matt The British Reader.
147 reviews37 followers
February 14, 2023
This book should’ve been a blog post.

The ideas are interesting and Austin clearly spent a lot of time writing it. However, a lot of it felt surface-level and didn’t explain things in anywhere near as much detail as I hoped/expected.

Three stars.
Profile Image for Lucy.
132 reviews1 follower
October 14, 2019
Přiznám hned na začátku, že jsem se trochu obávala, co v pořadí už třetí kniha může přinést nového. Ale  Kleonovi se to i tentokrát podařilo a jeho poslední počin se mi moc líbil. Primárně je kniha určena kreativním profesím, ale já si myslím, že si v ní každý najde něco, co může aplikovat. 

Za sebe zmíním alespoň jednu myšlenku, která mi po přečtení pořád rezonuje v hlavě. V dnešní době se spousta lidí obává toho, že jsou zamčeni ve své bublině, ze které se chtějí dostat. Bublina je na první pohled příjemné místo. Bavíte se s lidmi, kteří milují stejné umění, poslouchají stejnou hudbu, čtou stejné knihy jako vy. Zpočátku je to uklidňující, jak píše Kleon, ale časem se z toho může vyklubat nesmírná nuda. Ve své knize radí, že ti, kteří skutečně chtějí prozkoumat své myšlenky, by se měli stýkat s lidmi ne až tak stejného smýšlení, jako spíše s lidmi stejně cítícími - tedy s lidmi, kteří mají v povaze otevřenost a mají ve zvyku naslouchat. Zkrátka s lidmi, s nimiž se cítí dobře. Příjemné počteníčko, přátelé :).
Profile Image for Paula.
165 reviews
April 1, 2021
Keep Going is the third book in a trilogy and it is a quick read. As the title suggests, this book is about how to keep going, how to stay creative, even when things are rough, even when you don’t feel like it. o much to dig into.
Some of my favorite reminders and/or takeaways:
*The creative life is not linear. It's more like a loop or spiral in which you keep coming back to a new starting point after every project. ..there is no finish line or retirement for the creative person.
*The only thing we can really control is what we spend our days on.
*Lists bring order to the chaotic universe.
*Disconnect from the world to connect with yourself. Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes-including you. Anne Lamott
*To protect your sacred space and time, you have to learn how to decline all sorts of invitations from the world. You must learn to say "no."
*"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow.." Vonnegut
Many other "reminders" are provided by Kleon in this book.
Profile Image for Hestia Istiviani.
898 reviews1,466 followers
May 23, 2021
Read in English but write this review in Bahasa Indonesia

Membaca ulang Keep Going karena di Twitter lagi ramai membahas tentang pencapaian para pemuda. Ada satu akun yang mengoceh bahwa seharusnya usia 17-21 tahun sudah bisa mencapai TOEFL 550. Ada juga akun yang bilang kalau usia 25 tahun harsunya punya kekayaan Rp100juta. Dan pencapaian lain yang menggunakan standar kaya privilese dari si pemilik cuitan.

Menemukan Keep Going membuatku ingat lagi apa nilai dan idealisme yang aku pegang sehingga aku tetap bisa menjalani hidupku sesuai dengan apa yang aku visikan.

Yang menarik lagi ialah bagaimana Kleon percaya bahwa setiap orang punya musim dan waktunya masing-masing. Tidak perlu merasa minder. Asalkan "keep going" :)
Profile Image for Elizabeth A.
1,823 reviews108 followers
May 14, 2019
"The creative life is not a linear journey to a finish line, it’s a loop—so find a daily routine, because today is the only day that matters."

There are some people who read widely and distill some of humanity's accumulated wisdom into digestible nuggets. Austin Kleon is one such person. This little book is a gentle reminder of things we already know, and yet often do not do. Whether you think of yourself as creative or not (and you so are), pick this one up and get your mojo on. This is one I will probably dip into again every now and then.
Profile Image for Caiti S.
274 reviews253 followers
May 30, 2019
3.5 stars. Similar in style, tone, and content to Kleon's previous two books, but updated to feel extremely relevant in 2019. He talks about creating art when you feel hopeless, and the challenge of creating in a digital world full of distractions and constant feedback in the form of likes and followers. Not revolutionary but good and timely reminders.
Profile Image for Rimantė :).
131 reviews29 followers
January 13, 2020
a p ž v a l g a
𝘈𝘵𝘴𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘬, 𝘬𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘢𝘶 𝘳𝘦𝘪𝘬𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘢, 𝘰 𝘷𝘪𝘴𝘢 𝘬𝘪𝘵𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘬.⁣

Austin Kleon yra kempinė. Kempinė, kuri iš aplinkos surenka milžinišką kiekį informacijos ir geba ją filtruoti iki lieka esminiai dalykai, jo paties išbandyti ir dar pagrįsti gerai žinomų kūrėjų gyvenimo patirtimi. ⁣

"Visada stenkis" (en. Keep Going) yra trečioji serijos apie kūryba ir kūrybingumą, knyga. Pirmąsias dvi "Vok kaip menininkas" ir "Parodyk, ką sukūrei" esu apžvelgusi čia dar tais laikais, kai ši anketa žengė savo pirmuosius žingsnius.⁣

Mano nuomone visos 3 knygos yra itin naudingi patarimų - citatų - patirčių rinkiniai. Austin Kleon požiūris į kūrybą man priimtinas ir itin artimas, nors toks Jums gali ir nebūti. Šiose knygose sugriaunama daugelis mitų apie kūrybą, kūrėjus, jų gyvenimą ir darbą.⁣ Siūlau pradėt nuo "Vok kaip menininkas", o toliau - kaip norėsis 😉

Vertinimas: 5/5⁣
Profile Image for Maryna Ponomaryova.
498 reviews34 followers
June 19, 2020
Остін Клеон звісно трохи overrated, але мені подобається «Кради як митець» і ця книга теж сподобалась. Вони короткі, але з гарними ідеями. Хоча ці ідеї звучать можливо трохи банально, вони справді важливі, допомагають креативити, і взагалі нагадують про справжній креативний процес (а ми часто про нього забуваємо).
Profile Image for Chico.
3 reviews60 followers
December 2, 2020
Currently reading and loving every second of it! Super inspiring & thought-provoking!
Profile Image for Stephanie.
227 reviews11 followers
April 12, 2019
I got a letter of rejection yesterday. It's interesting to note where my mind goes when getting these letters. Sometimes it lights a fire in me, that I must get better or produce more! But other times, like this time, it kills my motivation.
Right now I'm at this beautiful hotel in Oregon. It's based on wonderful authors and has a determination to bring it's inhabitants into retreat. Here, I am forced to consider my own mind in rejection. And I needed help.

Was it fate that made me pick up this book in Powells on our drive down? Did my subconscious know that if things didn't turn out the way I was hoping that I would need a pick-me-up? Whatever it was, Keep Going by Austin Kleon has lifted my spirits considerably.

There is a quote I wanted to share from the book: "To have hope, you must acknowledge that you don't know everything and you don't know what's going to happen. That's the only way to keep going and the only way to keep making art: to be open to possibility and allow yourself to be changed." p. 135

In a few hours I'll make my way back to Seattle and I'm excited to brainstorm what my next steps will be. If you need some motivation too- I would highly recommend this book. :)
Profile Image for Mackenzie Lane.
235 reviews2,111 followers
January 7, 2022
Book 1 of 2022! ☑️✨

I really liked this little book of creative motivation! Filled with quotes from other artists & writers that are inspiring and motivating, “Keep Going” is the kind of book I’ve been needing as a writer myself.

I especially liked the emphasis on slowing down, and taking into consideration where you put your attention & why your attention is on that thing. Like the book says “pay attention to what you pay attention to!” I’ve heard that before, but I really liked the way Kleon expanded on it for writers & artists!

Creativity is not a linear process, and the work that must be put into any great masterpiece is almost always overlooked, which is why some people get discouraged when their first draft is repulsive or their first sketch is worse than a 5 year-old’s stick figure. But it’s more about continuining, or choosing to keep going. The discouragement will come; will we let discouragement win or will we win?

So stick it out! Any great book or amazing piece of art you’ve ever seen is result of someone’s choice to do just that ✌🏼
40 reviews
March 24, 2019
I've seen Austin Kleon's books hundreds of times when finding my next book to read and I must admit; I never felt the urge to buy and or read one. NetGalley gave me the opportunity to review this book as an educator and decided to give it a go.

Once I started, I couldn't stop. It's a short book with an incredible amount of depth. As a photographer en photography educator, I read my fair share of books from self-help and happiness to entrepreneurship and more photography-related writings. This book fits the category -Inspirational self-help for want to be happy, creative people - that not necessarily need to monetize their work- to create a fulfilling life. To be short; it captures all aspects of life in bite-sized chapters.

It's not a book for the bookshelves; it's one to keep on your desk and flip through when you need some inspiration.
Profile Image for Anastasia_._._._p.
190 reviews45 followers
November 7, 2020
Μέσα από γνωστά και άγνωστα αποφθέγματα, λεπτομέρειες από τη ζωή γνωστών καλλιτεχνών και φυσικά τις ιδέες και σκέψεις του ίδιου του συγγραφέα βλέπουμε ότι: Λίστες to-do, η ευεργετική επίδραση του συγυρισματος, το κινητό σε λειτουργία πτήσης, ένας σταθμός χαράς, η σημασία του να δέχεσαι ότι μπορείς να αλλάζεις απόψεις είναι μερικά σημαντικά βήματα που μας βάζουν σε μια διαδρομή που οδηγεί στη δημιουργικότητα.

“Ξέχνα τελείως τα ουσιαστικά. Κάνε τα ρήματα.”
Profile Image for Rebecca.
249 reviews24 followers
February 7, 2019
I LOVED this! It’s full of helpful tips to harness your creativity but also offers a piece of comfort. I feel like it’s one of those books that I will keep going back to & rereading often.

I love the cover & the font used. The little comics are quirky and I enjoyed the quotes.

I’d definitely gift this to people!
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