My working definition of creativity is “the application of accumulated experiences to the development and expression of original thought.” Creativity, unsurprisingly, is a tricky concept to nail down. I think an unfortunate symptom of the internet era is that people increasingly seem to believe that creativity is a fixed aspect of a person’s personality. Some people are creative, and all the other people are incapable of producing a single original thought. Either you’ve got it, or not. Part of the reason I love Steal Like an Artist so much is because it does an amazing job of dispelling that idea, via the word of some of the greatest creative minds in the last several hundred years, and the impeccable style of one Austin Kleon. The truth is that great artists steal, and that everything under the sun has been said before. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have original thoughts. The originality comes from synthesizing what you learn from your peers, those that came before, and your own creative process into something just a bit tiny different. Just like my definition, it’s a work in process.

Confidence is a fundamental skill for writers. My English teacher in high school used to love to say “if you aren’t confident in what you write, no one will be.” People too often are caught up in what their perception will be. We’re either too afraid to put what we wrote out there, or else alter what we write in order to fit in with whatever’s proper because we’re afraid of rejection and ridicule. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to remember to “write the book you want to read.” If you’re writing a novel, write about what you like. If you’re writing a memo to your boss, write with the professional courtesy that you would prefer to receive in a memo directed to you. If you’re writing a blog post, write what you really think, not what you think others want to hear!

Man oh man, how I wish I knew the answer to this question. Or maybe it’s the case that I know the answer, but have no evidence to support that answer, having no particularly great amount of success myself. How does one build confidence? In our abilities as writers, and in general? It’s a bit cliché, but honestly: fake it ’till you make it. I loved Kleon’s thoughts on this little phrase. Oh, you don’t know what you’re doing? Well guess what, bucko, nobody else does either. There are a few specific things you can do as well that Kleon mentioned. Literally pretending to be something you’re not (yet) stood out to me. I honestly think that roleplaying may be the most efficient method of building confidence available to us. I’m a big fan of Brennan Lee Mulligan, who some of you may know from College Humor. He amazes me with all the crazy improvisational performing work he does. I’ve read that he got his skills from playing Dungeons & Dragons, giving voice and spirit to wandering wizards, brutish barbarians, and cunning rouges. Kids are oft recognized as creative too, and they play pretend all the time. Maybe we should all try to rediscover the kids within ourselves, and forget about what other people think every once in a while.

I love, in no particular order, science fiction, fantasy, working, football, skiing, dessert, talking, games, and sleeping. In the interest of my passion for sleep, I’ll keep this brief: I can incorporate my various interests into my work by making them be my work when possible. If that’s not possible, I’ll use them as tools for productive procrastination, to keep me fresh when I have to go back and work on the stuff I care less about.

What are some good pieces of advice I want to take away from this book? See above. Do I disagree with anything said in the book? Nope! Goodnight everybody, I hope you all have a great weekend. Stay positive, and get creative!


Greetings, friends! My name is Will Kalland and I am a Business Administration major here at NCSU. This is my first year of college, so I’m still just exploring potential career choices. Currently, I’m taking courses in accounting and information systems management, and have found them fascinating; perhaps I’ll pursue a career in one of these fields. I was born here in Raleigh, and have lived just down the road in Cary all my life. I love Raleigh, but I’m looking forward to traveling after I graduate. I would love to take advantage of one of NC State’s Study Abroad programs if possible. My hobbies include reading (my favorite genre is fantasy), football (go PATs!), and performance theatre (especially Shakespeare).

I am a terrible writer. To clarify, my writing is usually alright from a structural perspective. I try to make use of varied syntax, proper grammar, and I tend to organize my points in comprehensible fashion. I consider myself a terrible writer because I have a ridiculously hard time fully undergoing the writing progress. I always have a hard time getting started writing anything, and often my motivation to write dwindles before I reach my conclusion. My writing process is painfully slow, plus I’m also a mild perfectionist, so even the simplest task might take me hours. My goal for this course is to learn techniques to improve my writing process because I recognize strong writing skills as essential in the world today.

My professional experience is limited to working as a café barista, which, relatively speaking, is not a lot. I do however believe that I have picked up quite a bit of professional etiquette from that experience. In regard to my capacity as a writer, I learned appropriate ways to format messages to both coworkers and managers, as well as a few note-taking skills that have been invaluable to me at work and as a student.

I was blown away by how much this personality classification spoke to me. It put to words aspects of my personality that I’ve never been able to understand, much less explain to anyone else. My MBTI type is INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinker, Judger). I know these tests are only supposed to be about sixty percent accurate, but wow. After reading just that little blurb at the end of the test, I went ahead and found a bunch of channels for people discussing their MBTI test results and was amazed at the collective depth of knowledge concerning these tests. I am so grateful that I was exposed to this wonderful tool, and I intend to continue delving into the great ocean of knowledge that is the MBTI community.