The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

by: Seth Godin (0)

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.

The Quotes

“Do what you love” is for amateurs. “Love what you do” is the mantra for professionals.

If you want to change your story, change your actions first. When we choose to act a certain way, our mind can’t help but rework our narrative to make those actions become coherent. We become what we do.

Art is the generous act of making things better by doing something that might not work.

The practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the output, because the practice is all we can control.

The Reviews

So far, it's one big pep talk — with many things I disagree with. The author constantly talks about creating for other people, how it's a form of leadership, etc. He quotes a designer who says, "it is not all about you," and that you should create art to "help everyone get along," which they say is important in our capitalist society. Sorry, but I'm not such an idealist that I think my instrumentals are magically going to make someone go, "Wow, sounds great — I think I'll start being nice to people!" And he talks as though this is my DUTY. In fact, he categorically states that art happens when you change someone — "No change, no art," he says. I beg to differ. Most art that I appreciate and enjoy doesn't change who I am.The whole thing rubs me the wrong way. It's called self-expression, not selfless expression. I create, first and foremost, because *I* enjoy doing so. Is that selfish? Maybe. Is that a bad thing? Of course not.In short, read this book if you think the goal of your art should be to change the world and other people. If you create for any other reason, skip it — unless you want to start questioning whether you're even an artist. It's a pep talk that will make you feel worse about your art and your purpose for creating it.

When I find myself in times of creative trouble, need some words of wisdom, and Mother Mary is a little preoccupied (see: date), I turn to my go-to books. The "Tao Te Ching" is always a good one. When I need the big guns — down with you, Resistance! — I call in Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art" and "Going Pro." And now, there is a new book that combines aspects of all three: "The Practice", by Seth Godin.A main thrust of the book is to dismantle myths about creative output. Creativity is not a special talent reserved for the elect; you don't have to wait for the muse; wherever you are now is fine. You just have to get started and, above all, establish a regular practice (hence the title). Sure, a lot of what you produce will be dreck. That's okay, because in that big pile of dreck, a small fraction will be great. But you won't get the hits without the dreck.Early in the book, Seth serves us this list of what it means to establish a practice:"We can adopt a practice. Here are the surprising truths that have been hidden by our desire for those perfect outcomes, the ones industrial recipes promise but never quite deliver: Skill is not the same as talent. A good process can lead to good outcomes, but it doesn’t guarantee them. Perfectionism has nothing to do with being perfect. Reassurance is futile. Hubris is the opposite of trust. Attitudes are skills. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. Professionals produce with intent. Creativity is an act of leadership. Leaders are imposters. All criticism is not the same. We become creative when we ship the work. Good taste is a skill."That's a lot of wisdom in the space of 109 words, much of it counterintuitive, which Seth then unpacks in 8 sections. What does it mean to trust yourself, and to be generous with your art? How do you go pro? How important is intent? Are creative constraints good or bad?One by one, Seth dismantles the excuses and blocks creators unwittingly make up for themselves, such that by the end of the book, you just might say, "Hey, I think can do this, too."Each chapter is a short, memorable little nugget with anecdotes that stay with you. I especially appreciated the quotes from other wise people and the stories from great artists like Joni Mitchell about their creative process.This book felt like a jolt of concentrated wisdom, like one of Seth's workshops in written form. He's been walking the path of creativity and entrepreneurship for 4 decades and taught thousands of individuals, so what he shares in "The Practice" rings true to me. If you'd like to light up a booster rocket under your butt and establish a prolific practice of creating work that matters, "The Practice" is your indispensable guide and companion. It's my new go-to book for years to come. May you let it be a catalyst to *your* greatness.-- Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil., Happiness Engineer, executive coach, and author of  The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Being Absolutely Irresistible , the highest-rated dating book on Amazon for 7 years, and  Should I Go to Medical School?: An Irreverent Guide to the Pros and Cons of a Career in Medicine

I love the book. I don't love that I paid 30% more for being on the advance notice list from Seth. Don't punish your followers!

A Professional Creator creates something and sells it to someone else.If you are a Professional Creator or aspire to be a Professional Creator, I definitely and highly recommend that you read, The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, by Seth Godin. Seth has spent more than 40 years being a Professional Creator and teaching others how to be a professional creator. In my opinion, this book is his magnum opus on how to be a professional creator. He provides tremendous breadth and depth on the life of being a Professional Creator.This book is like an organized stream of consciousness by a master who has been immersed in this topic his entire career. He provides his definition on words like art, practice, creativity, intention, generosity, and so much more. He does not lay out a step-by-step recipe, but rather a mindset. He talks passionately about the importance of trusting your self, your work, and your audience. He defies age-old myths like writer's block.This book zooms quickly and provides great depth on the key topics relevant to being a Professional Creator. I believe if you will dedicate yourself to this book for 3-4 hours you will work away with a new vision of your future, and a new belief in your ability to impact and change parts of the world.

Loved his interview with Tim Ferriss--and thoroughly enjoy his blog. However, this book is redundant (it could benefit from a good edit), and feels like it could easily be a 2,000-word article.

This book is for creators, crafters, artists and anyone else who has a desire to make but doubts themselves. It is filled with sage wisdom that people searching to create need to bolster their experience.This is not me. My review is more for those who will get some value out of it. I stopped about halfway and then skimmed the rest because none of it resonated with me. This doesn't mean there aren't valuable things in this book, just be aware it might not click for you.If you've read Seth Godin's works before, you aren't getting anything "new" like a radical take on creativity or the meaning of life. This is a book to refer to when you are doubting yourself, so the same message still rings through.Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go hang out with the rule followers and the burnt out writers.

No, practice doesn't make perfect, but Seth Godin says that keeping a practice can make you better. I just finished reading his book The Practice.Many of the books I read are business books and books on marketing or leadership. This one is on the surface a bit more about a different type of work. I have heard people say "If you want to be a writer, then stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just write."Godin talks about The Practice for writers being to write. It does not matter what we write or how good it is, only that we write. This seems like the kind of advice that belongs in a more artistic (or artsy) book until you start to dig a little.Businesses produce products or services. Not all of them are market leaders. Some of them flop (remember New Coke?) and if you bet the whole company on a single product or service, you are risking your business on every release. If you delay until you are certain the product is what the market wants, then there is a good chance that one or more of your competitors will beat you to market by being willing to release something that they might be less certain about.

No, practice doesn't make perfect, but Seth Godin says that keeping a practice can make you better. I just finished reading his book The Practice.Many of the books I read are business books and books on marketing or leadership. This one is on the surface a bit more about a different type of work. I have heard people say "If you want to be a writer, then stop talking about wanting to be a writer and just write."Godin talks about The Practice for writers being to write. It does not matter what we write or how good it is, only that we write. This seems like the kind of advice that belongs in a more artistic (or artsy) book until you start to dig a little.Businesses produce products or services. Not all of them are market leaders. Some of them flop (remember New Coke?) and if you bet the whole company on a single product or service, you are risking your business on every release. If you delay until you are certain the product is what the market wants, then there is a good chance that one or more of your competitors will beat you to market by being willing to release something that they might be less certain about.

This is a life-changing book. I keep reading it over, and over and over, and it just gets better.

A very good book from Seth Godwin, I have read several of Godwin’s books, while this one ranks high it is not quite up to some of his earlier works. Shipping creative work is essential to get your work into the public sphere, and Godin gives over 200 bits of advice on how to get your work out there. Highly recommended…SLT

Recommend this book for everyone struggling to kick off their dream, or grow their dream, or sustain their dream. ☺️

I absolutely love this book! While I am giving it five stars for being incredibly encouraging and spot-on for creatives, I think the subtitle is confusing. I've even had people ask me if I suggested the right book to them because they don't want a book about packing and shipping things. Seth uses the word "shipping" as "sharing" your creative work. I do disagree that the work has to be "shipped" to count. Sometimes you can create things simply for the process, but he does reiterate that elsewhere in the book.I love his encouragement to create with joy, with generosity, and with a sense that the world is large and there is enough room for you and your work. There is no need to feel protective, jealous, or angsty about the work your creating, which is easy to do in this world of hyper-comparison on social media. I found this book to be a huge lift and I love that I can read/listen to it in little nuggets.So, if you forgive that he doesn't mean literal shipping, this book is gold.

I was attracted to this book because… I’m always challenged and inspired by Seth Godin’s writing. I know my practice of the work I want to do is failing. Common sense suggestion that lead you to believe in yourself and take responsibility for your own magic.This book was about It breaks down into three calls to action. 1. ‘Shipping - your efforts don’t count if you don’t share it.’ 2. Create because you are working toward making things better by producing a new way forward. ‘Creativity is a choice.’ 3. Work - isn’t a hobby, it’s a practice that requires commitment.Things I liked about this book I’m always amazed at Godin’s ability to speak truth in few words. Reading anything he writes is never a waste of time.Why you should read this book If your work is lagging, especially if you are a creative. If you are waiting for the next great inspiration. If you are struggling with finding the time to fo your passion. If you are experiencing any of those things, this book will pick you up out of the dust that has surrounded you and turned you around to a more satisfying outlook on your practice,This book lived up to the back cover copy -The recommendations on the back cover resonated with my experience in reading the book. From the inside cover - “If you’re ready to make a difference with your ideas and your craft, what are you waiting for? Because we’re waiting for you.”

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
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paperback: $18.53
hardcover: $5.10
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