Keep Going Book Summary - Keep Going Book explained in key points
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Keep Going summary

Austin Kleon

10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad

4.6 (201 ratings)
24 mins

Brief summary

Keep Going by Austin Kleon is a guidebook for creative people who are struggling to stay creative and motivated. It offers strategies for overcoming obstacles, finding inspiration, and staying on track with your goals.

Table of Contents

    Keep Going
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Establish a routine to make sure you show up for your work, regardless of how creative you’re feeling. 

    Let’s start with a healthy dose of realism. No matter how many tricks you put up your sleeve, you’re always going to experience ups and downs in your creative work. You can promote the ups and mitigate the downs, but your creativity is still going to ebb and flow. You can influence it, but you can’t control it. 

    What you can control is whether you show up for your work, ready to receive the current of creativity that comes your way, regardless of its strength. It could turn out to be a mighty rush or a pathetic trickle, but either way, you have to be there in order to harness it as best you can. And you have to keep doing that day after day, metaphorical rain or shine. After all, there’s no chance of having a good work day if you’re not having any work days at all!  

    To make sure you show up for your work, there’s a time-tested solution that’s been the key to many creative people’s success: establishing a daily routine. Yes, that means following a work schedule. But it can also mean having certain habits and rituals that help you get into the mood to do your work.  

    There’s a wide range of possibilities. Sylvia Plath wrote early in the morning, before her children woke up. Franz Kafka wrote late at night, after his family went to sleep. John Steinbeck sharpened a dozen pencils before sitting down to write. Goethe smelled rotten apples to get his juices flowing. Hey, whatever floats your boat! 

    Just remember: it’s your boat you need to float. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Your routine needs to be tailored to your specific needs, circumstances and personality. When do you have time to do your work? Are you a night owl or an early bird? What gets you in the mood? In designing your routine, these are the sorts of questions you’ll have to answer for yourself. 

    Now, if you’re a free-spirited creative-type, the regimentation of a routine might seem rather off-putting at first. But look at it this way: the point of a routine isn’t to take your freedom away. To the contrary, it’s to give you the freedom to pursue your creative passions. A routine secures you a regular period of time for creative work, protected from the busyness of the rest of your life.

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    What is Keep Going about?

    Full of practical tips, techniques and strategies for fostering creativity, Keep Going (2019) provides readers with a wide variety of ways to persevere in the face of difficulties with their creative work. While the text is written primarily with professional and non-professional artists in mind, the ideas are applicable to anyone whose job or pastime requires creativity. 

    Keep Going Review

    Keep Going by Austin Kleon is a book that offers valuable insights and practical advice on how to stay creative and motivated, even in the face of challenges. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Full of inspiring quotes and anecdotes, it encourages readers to keep pursuing their creative passions and not give up.
    • Presenting relatable experiences and relaying personal stories, the book resonates with readers, making it an engaging and relatable read.
    • The book's emphasis on the importance of play and rest is refreshing and valuable, reminding readers to take breaks and find joy in the process of creating.

    Who should read Keep Going?

    • Artists looking for inspiration  
    • Creative professionals and hobbyists feeling stuck in a rut 
    • Teachers, entrepreneurs, activists and anyone else whose work could use a boost of creativity

    About the Author

    Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! Together with Keep Going, these books form a trilogy that boasts more than a million copies in print and has been translated into more than two dozen languages. He is also a public speaker whose speaking engagements have included top-tier organizations such as Google and Pixar. In both his books and his public speaking, his work centers on promoting creativity in the modern world. 

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    Keep Going FAQs 

    What is the main message of Keep Going?

    The main message of Keep Going is to embrace the creative journey and maintain perseverance through its ups and downs.

    How long does it take to read Keep Going?

    The reading time for Keep Going varies based on individual reading speed, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Keep Going a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Keep Going is worth reading as it inspires and motivates readers to continue their creative pursuits with resilience and optimism.

    Who is the author of Keep Going?

    The author of Keep Going is Austin Kleon.

    What to read after Keep Going?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Keep Going, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
    • Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
    • Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins
    • The Burnout Society by Byung-Chul Han
    • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
    • Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon and Meg Mateo Ilasco
    • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
    • Rich AF by Vivian Tu
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • First Things First by Stephen R. Covey