The Heart to Start: Stop Procrastinating & Start Creating (Getting Art Done)

by: David Kadavy (0)

You have something to offer the world. Find the inspiration and motivation to finally start making your art.

In The Heart to Start David Kadavy, bestselling author of Design for Hackers, shows you how to overcome fear, self-doubt, and distractions to win the inner war and finally let your art shine.

Through the stories of great creators, from Picasso to Maya Angelou, interwoven with David's rise from cubicle-dweller to bestselling author, and from the guests of David's podcast, Love Your Work, you'll learn:

  • What "inner war" keeps your art inside you? You'll learn from Steven Pressfield, Ryan Holiday, and Sean Stephenson.
  • Where can you find explosive ideas worth following? Learn about the magic of your inner voice from Maya Angelou, the Impressionist painters, and J. K. Rowling.
  • Why is perfectionism the most dangerous form of procrastination, and what can you do about it? You'll hear from Ira Glass and Ed Sheeran.
  • How can your big dreams actually hold you back? You'll learn from daredevil Evel Knievel and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod.
  • What motivational martial art can knock your ego on its back and propel your project forward? Learn from behavioral scientist Dan Ariely, and a U.S. submarine captain.

If you're a writer, artist, filmmaker, musician, or entrepreneur, you'll find the inspiration and mindset to bust through fear, self-doubt, and procrastination to show your work to the world.

The Reviews

I first discovered Kadavy when a friend recommended his first book to me:  Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty . In that book, Kadavy's prose is as eye-grabbing as his insights are eye-opening.So I was excited to read this book. Again, I was dazzled by Kadavy's way with words, but the impact on me was much deeper this time, as the subject of this book is very dear to me: how to achieve consistent creative output.I believe some of us are, by temperament, born to create. If we don't labor to transfer the contents of our inner-world into the outer-world, we will silently die a spiritual death. Then eventually, we will die a physical death, with our art still trapped inside of us.This fact may be obvious to many, but when you focus on the urgency of creating, it typically makes us creatives more neurotic. We obsess over unimportant details, and get trapped in self-defeating thought loops "This isn't good enough." "I'll never make it". "I'll never finish this."Personally, these thought loops used to leave me with a sense of helplessness. It even triggered a deep depression in me last year. At times, I was convinced that I could never escape the maelstrom of my own mind.But then I discovered Kadavy's work on the subject, and I slowly started to make my way to calmer waters. In Heart to Start, Kadavy distinguishes several concepts I never considered before. Just being able to label the thoughts getting in the way of my creating helped immensely. Coupled with his very actionable strategies for training the mind out of these thoughts, these ideas buoyed my mind and helped me get my business ideas out there in the world.Now, I create and ship WAY more products, content, and ideas than I have in any other period of my life. All because I finally found the heart to start.If you're currently struggling to get started on your next business or creative venture, then you may find your heart in these pages...

This is a good book. Although it is relatively small, it is packed with excellent, highly usable advice on how to get out of your own way - so that you can create art (in whatever form - writing, painting, etc). I especially like that this book is research-based and makes sense. The only issue with this book, like any self-help book, is actually implementing the ideas in your own life and work. I recommend this book. Please mark if you find my review helpful. Thank you so much!

Basically a faultless book. Precisely what the book promises in the cover and opening preface, it performs for the reader.Kadavy delivers a precise message on how to create what your heart's desires, dividing it into three seconds on the laws of creating, the motivation, and the practical techniques. Superb, simple, direct, and sincere.I particularly like the opening which tells you why you might wish to stop reading the book. That won me over. Charming.EDIT: Reflecting on this book five days after reading it, I am impressed by the simplicity of Kadavy's thinking. He's not trying to invent anything new here, he's just trying to HELP.Here are some notes I made from the book:- Ideas are FUEL not a judgement- Look for the Pump Idea, the idea that makes your heart beat faster.I love how he talks about the Voice in such a non-mystical way, very practical.I appreciate for the first time really that when a great idea doesn't work out there is real sadness and disappointment. I never noticed that. Thankyou.- Appreciating overcomes fear and doubt. Magical advice!- The work of art reveals itself THROUGH itself. Kadavy speaks beautifully about the mystery of creativity here.My next action is: Set a timer and work on a creative project that inspires me for ten minutes.

I initially received a copy of this book to review, and by the time I got to the third page went to Amazon and bought it. This is a short, straightforward plan for getting started on a project and conquering the demons that will try to stop you in your tracks. Kadavy talks about how our mental programming creates barriers to moving forward, then gives concrete examples and easy to follow steps to deal with them.Kadavy points out that everyone is unique and needs to explore and build on this uniqueness in a world where so much is now mass produced. He says that the only way to do this is to find the best expression of who you are and move forward to create from that. He sees ego as born out of fear, and therefore something that holds you back. It works to protect you from potential harm. He says that your ego, in its protectiveness, hates your art.I could easily summarize the entire book; I'd recommend that you discover the rest of it for yourself. You'll find excellent ideas on getting and staying motivated, finding the vacuum that creates a demand for your ideas, and developing a routine that will keep you going. I'll be getting a hard copy so that I can find all the paragraphs I've underlined more easily. I'll also be buying this for my coaching clients

David's style is awesome! Some of his recommendations might seem obvious, but without the right way of thinking about them when approaching them- its easy to shrug them off. There are reasons you are not getting anything done and all of the reasons David presented resonated with me. Last night I jotted a few sentences down for a blog post idea ("create in little pockets of time" instead of FB or whatever) and when I went home I wrote a full blown post! I told my perfectionism to take a long walk off a short pier. Also, David talked about following your curiosity. What a breath of fresh air. And he gives great examples of how this was so crucial to some really successful people. I"m always reading "focus in tightly on one specific niche" kind of thing. I shouldnt keep trying to force myself to do that anymore, it will happen on its own. Thanks for the wonderful words David! Keep up the writing.

If the common advice of "just do it" were enough to get started, nobody would ever feel stuck. "The Heart To Start" is a concise, thought-provoking read with minimal repetition, that shines a light on the reasons why it's hard to get the momentum to begin something, and in doing so, arms you with a new perspective that can help remove obstacles and clear the path towards doing the creative work you were meant to do.It's a common practice these days for authors with successful blogs and podcasts to distill them into book form and republish their content. I'm happy to say that "The Heart To Start" is not one of these books. David Kadavy certainly draws from what he's learned from dozens of interviews he's done for his popular "Love Your Work" podcast as well as his own life experience struggling to overcome creative blocks, but the thesis he constructs here is an entirely new one within the library of his work."The Heart To Start" deconstructs the reasons, both emotional and practical, that starting something new can be difficult. These explanations are helpfully paired with ways to reframe your thinking to reduce the weight of these blocks. Some of these factors are in your head and tied to ego and emotions: What if everyone thinks my work is awful? Others are simply fallacies and biases that humans tend to get stuck in: This project is going to take so much of my time so there's no way I can start it! Kadavy picks these counterproductive feelings and biases off one by one, and leaves you with the sense that maybe that thing you thought was a scary monster under your bed was actually just a harmless shadow.While some of the advice offered is tactical, the book doesn't focus explicitly on productivity techniques, and I think this is actually to the reader's benefit. There are thousands of books full of hacks and techniques to make you more productive, but not nearly as many that take the time to help you examine why you feel the way you do, and to shine a light on the distortions and fallacies that hold you back and keep you from getting started. The act of exposing them might not kill them entirely, but it's much easier to power through them when you realize they're sabotaging your efforts.

This is a good book. Although it is relatively small, it is packed with excellent, highly usable advice on how to get out of your own way - so that you can create art (in whatever form - writing, painting, etc). I especially like that this book is research-based and makes sense. The only issue with this book, like any self-help book, is actually implementing the ideas in your own life and work. I recommend this book. Please mark if you find my review helpful. Thank you so much!

Thanks for writing this book, David, but I didn't want to buy it! I stumbled across your book, "Mind Management, Not Time Management" somehow, and then saw that "The Heart to Start" is basically a prequel.Perhaps it was my perfectionism protecting me; I bought "The Heart to Start" and read it first.The Fortress Fallacy was huge for me!Motivational Judo?! I'll be in a match with my ego tonight, in fact!John Maxwell writes that "You have to know yourself to grow yourself," and your book has helped to call out some of the "protections" my ego has set up for me, as well as ways to work around or through them.Thanks for writing this book!

I read this back to back with Digital Zettelkasten and Mind Management, Not Time Management, and I plan to read How to Write a Book next, and to put all of the advice into practice. I don't think I've ever encountered so much inspiring and useful, actionable advice on the creative process.If I were to recommend just one of the ones I've read, I'd say Mind Management is the most valuable, but I got all of them for about $3 a pop on Amazon, and I think there's certainly added value from reading and implementing all of them.

Reading this book made some good revelations to me and how to approach working on my projects. Currently, I am working on an app that I truly believe has the potential to be bigger than Snapchat, Instagram, and so on! However, sometimes I get dragged down by distractions of my daily life, work, and school. These distractions should not stop me from my creative aspect, and David explains ways we can actually stop letting certain "egos" get the best of us! (Egos are, what David calls, the voice in our head that hinders us from creating our greatest ideas into life!) Here are some helpful tips I picked up from David's book:- Do NOT let your inner voice, you know, the bad guy on your left shoulder, hinder you from making your biggest ideas come to life. This voice will tell you things like "Well, I do have a workload of classes this semester, I might not even have time to accomplish this project!" This bad inner voice, whom I will call the "little devil", distracts us from letting out the most creativity in life! Have you ever wanted to make a cool app, book, website, or any other product? Do you get somewhat started then remind yourself, little devil, that you have "other" obligations, so you just procrastinate your invention, product, etc? Well if you do, stop listening to those lies. Let your light shine in this world and make the products you have been dreaming about making since you were little! - Whenever you are working on a project, never sit around and think too much of barriers that might hinder your idea in the long run. For example, you might be working on a book, but you start thinking "Well, i do not even know how to publish a book!". If you do not know how to publish a book, no worries you will get there! Just work on your project little by little, worrying about what you need to finish on a daily-basis, rather than contemplating what barriers lie ahead months down the road! Live in the present, not the future! - The worst part about doing a project, of any sort, is STARTING. Once you start the project, you will slowly begin to build momentum and actually spend so much time on the project that it will actually be hard to get off the project to rest up! Get through the hard stuff by stop procrastinating and START your project! Do not over stress yourself, span the project day by day so you can be working on it in peace! - As you progress through your project, you will begin to generate new ideas for it. Do not, I REPREAT, DO NOT try to conclude what your "final" draft of your project will look like at the beginning of your work, because the final draft will surely change! - Perfectionism is unhealthy, please stop trying to avoid mistakes in your life! They will inevitably come, so let them come and learn from them! The more you try to make everything perfect, the more time you will consume going back and forth trying to avoid inevitable mistakes. A project that should only take you two months can end up taking you six months if you keep nitpacking at everything. Calm down and just go with the flow! In conclusion, David's book cuts straight to the point and shows how the lives of himself and others go through the same "rut" in the creative process, you just have to learn to get started and get going! (PS: I have always wanted to write amazon reviews on products I order but always worried that it would not be "perfect", but here I am after reading David's book writing my second product review on Amazon. I am getting STARTED!)

I've read lots of books like this where the advice was always the same - "just do it". If it were as simple as just doing it I would have already done it by now and wouldn't have needed the book. This one is different. There's practical advice in here. There's also explanations of WHY I am procrastinating instead of getting art done. The icing on the cake is the conversational tone in which David writes. He finds a way to actually motivate you, even when you just expect yet another book to tell you to "just do it".

I could wish I had read The Heart to Start sooner. I'm 69 years old and determined to discover "firsts" for my life. Or maybe it's "finally (s)). From learning to play the guitar I've had for 20 years to fulfilling my role as the family historian with 5 generations of photos to sort/label. I "could "wish, but I've read it now and felt the response and recognition in my head as well as heart. Mr. Kadavy was direct, respectful of the subject and the readers that needed this information, inspiration and impetus to not just start an art (work, project, passion), but to personally define it.

David sums up what we all know down deep but never allow ourselves to acknowledge. It’s great to read the words, to know that others feel the same. The author brings to light his research on the subject, as well as his own experiences and it’s great to further solidify that so many others have had the same problems with finding the motivation to start and to actually carry through.We expect to start out perfect, to have the drive to finish what we start, to breeze through quickly and efficiently from the very first moment we think of our idea to create something. David breaks down the reasons why most of us struggle and fail and he gives us tools to persevere. Everyone should read this book, as well as his other one, Mind Management not Time Management, where he goes into great detail to explain how to create creative processes to further push through the ways we battle our own selves while creating our art. That second book created a lot of “aha” moments for me and made perfect sense (as well as taught me a great deal about the inner workings of the mind and how we get stuck) and I look forward to creating my own processes so I can actually make the best use of my time. This book, the Heart to Start, was more of a motivator to even try. I plan on buying these for my daughter, and I know she will greatly benefit from them both. As a budding author, she has all the qualities David speaks of in this book that cause her shy away from a true start, even though her ideas are phenomenal and will resonate across the masses.

The Heart to Start: Stop Procrastinating & Start Creating (Getting Art Done)
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