From the bestselling author of Linchpin, Tribes, and The Dip comes an elegant little book that will inspire artists, writers, and entrepreneurs to stretch and commit to putting their best work out into the world.
Creative work doesn't come with a guarantee. But there is a pattern to who succeeds and who doesn't. And engaging in the consistent practice of its pursuit is the best way forward.
Based on the breakthrough Akimbo workshop pioneered by legendary author Seth Godin, The Practice will help you get unstuck and find the courage to make and share creative work. Godin insists that writer's block is a myth, that consistency is far more important than authenticity, and that experiencing the imposter syndrome is a sign that you're a well-adjusted human. Most of all, he shows you what it takes to turn your passion from a private distraction to a productive contribution, the one you've been seeking to share all along.
With this book as your guide, you'll learn to dance with your fear. To take the risks worth taking. And to embrace the empathy required to make work that contributes with authenticity and joy.
"Are you an artist? Of course you are," fist-pumps business guru Godin (This is Marketing) in this big-hearted book of affirmations. The modern economy, he says, has "brainwashed" would-be entrepreneurs and industry disruptors into staying on the 9-to-5 treadmill, when they really owe it to themselves and everyone else ("It's selfish to hold back when there's a chance you have something to offer") to try out their most ambitious ideas, even at the risk of failure. Godin urges readers to get started by redefining themselves as changemakers, since "identity fuels action, and action creates habits, and habits are part of a practice, and a practice is the single best way to get to where you seek to go." His cognitively dissonant advice, like "seek out constraints" and embrace inauthenticity when necessary (such as by "show up" even when one is feeling uninspired and has "something else you'd rather be doing"), is thought-provoking, if occasionally lacking in gravitas, as when he optimistically forecasts that if businesspeople simply trust themselves and "the people we serve," then that "trust will be repaid many times over." Nonetheless, Godin's message will resonate with his many fans, and his enthusiastic, nearly giddy tone may even charm skeptics.
A call for creatives to ship their work!
Seth Godin is becoming one of my favorite public thinkers. I read his blog daily and listen to his podcast, Akimbo, as often I can. Also, I have read several of his books like Tribes, Permission Marketing, and This Is Marketing. He’s had a pulse on the business world for over three decades.
His latest book, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work tackles how creatives can trust themselves to ship their work to the public. Also, the theme of the book is how artists should focus on the process more than the outcome. We focus more on the outcome and if our creative work does not become “a hit” with the public right away it is seen a failure. Godin is making a strong case to creatives to change that mindset. And this quote early in the book hits home:
“Focusing solely on outcomes forces us to make choices that are banal, short-term, or selfish. It takes our focus away from the journey and encourages us to give up too early. Focusing on outcomes at the expense of process is a shortcut that will destroy your work.”
Amen Seth. However, we live in outcome-oriented world and people latch onto what we have deemed successful by the culture. Godin drives home the point throughout the book that the outcome is beyond our control, and finding joy in the work is the real satisfaction.
The Practice is broken into eight sections with headings: Trust Your Self, Generous, The Professional, Intent, No Such Thing As Writer’s Block, Make Assertions, Earn Your Skills, & Seek Out Constraints. Each section drills home that particular subtitle through blog post style entries. Nothing complicated, but I found a lot of wisdom throughout the book. I will admit that some of it gets repetitive.
I would recommend The Practice to anyone who desired to be creative and have let resistance and the opinions of others keep them from writing that book, drawing that painting, or playing that musical instrument. Godin’s words will comfort and challenge you to pursue that creative project that you have been always wanting to do.
Call to Action
All Seth is asking us to do is start and stop waiting for an invitation. A great read!
Thank you, Seth. I appreciate all the thought you’ve put into this and all that you do.