Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 11

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 11, Diversify Your Portfolio

In this chapter, Jeff discusses how thriving artists should handle their projects and portfolios. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • The rule of portfolio says that we should strive to build a diverse body of work. While the starving artist believes he must master a single skill, the thriving artist masters more than one. Best artists regularly change and evolve; they do not restrict their art to a single form.
  • Thriving artists work like good investors. They do not just live off their art. They keep diverse portfolios and rely on multiple income streams. Building a diverse portfolio requires developing a leaky mental filter for spotting the right places to invest our time and resources.
  • A leaky mental filter is the ability to hold multiple conflicting ideas in tension to create synergy with each other. A skillful exercise of the leaky filter can give us insight into possibility as it allows us to identify new opportunities and take advantage of them.
  • If we want to create enduring work and not just a series of one-hit wonders, we must be open to learning new things. So while starving artists try to master only one skill, thriving artists acquire whatever skills necessary to get the job done.
  • There comes a time not to let our mind wander; instead, we dig in and focus. We focus on developing a body of work rather than just a single creation. Harnessing a distractable mind can be a strength in creative work. We can use our creative quirks to our advantage by identifying opportunities to do fulfilling work that we might have otherwise missed.
  • We must practice using our leaky filters to find new skills, learn them, and apply them. Then, while focusing on the big picture, we will use any skills and tools that will help us develop a more substantial portfolio, which can lead to a lifetime of creation.

In summary, “The Starving Artist masters one craft. The Thriving Artist masters many.”