Book Review: Real Artists Don’t Starve

It’s Book Review day!

I have read each of Jeff Goins’ books. I started with You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)It came as a recommendation from my friend, Stacey Thacker, at a time when I was just beginning to explore writing with intention instead of just as a sort of online journaling practice. At that time, I had one two year old, and that is all. How different life was then! If only I had capitalized on all the time I didn’t think I had! Regardless, Jeff’s words gave me a good, forceful kick in the pants. I began to play with what it would feel like to actually CALL myself a writer.

Every book of his after that has inched me forward in my knowledge and calling of being a creative and, specifically, a writer. Wrecked helped me process passions and “discovering yourself” while still developing responsibility. It helped me think about a sense of calling and the things that I am inexplicably impassioned to do. The Art of Work helped me think about my life as a whole – and how every piece of it – even, maybe especially, the stretches that feel like stumbling around – are contributing to my calling and place in this world.

When I discovered the title of his newest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, I immediately placed my pre-order. We are at a place when I really need to contribute to the family income but I also still need a flexible schedule that allows me to be available to my kids. Additionally, I want a job that I don’t hate. I’m doing a few odds and ends things, but I really want to be able to create for a living. So, if Jeff had a plan for helping me do that, I was game.

The point is not to make a fortune or become famous, but to do the work. We are all looking for a way to share our gift with the world without worrying about making a living. That means getting paid more than once for our creations. It means building a life that allows us to keep creating. – Jeff Goins, Real Artists Don’t Starve

The reason I love Jeff’s writing style is that he manages to motivate without sounding like a motivational speaker. I don’t have anything against motivational speakers, but they really aren’t my jam. Jeff manages to weave compelling stories with helpful advice, creating a very easy read that makes you honest-to-goodness want to get moving…and have a reasonable idea of how to take the first step. This, as a writer, I know to be a rare gift set!

In this particular book, Jeff takes us on a journey through the centuries, uncovering the stories of ancient, successful artists from all sorts of fields as well as “average Joe” creatives who have managed to make art and not starve in today’s “New Renaissance.” It’s enormously interesting and inspiring – as well as unexpectedly practical.

If you have ever wanted to be a creator in any form or fashion – or suspect that you just might be a creative deep down inside – go get this book. It’s a fun, inspiring, and most importantly, thrillingly practical. You will fly through it and then want to get started making art and not starving!

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