The title refers to getting rid of guilt for our influences. In other words, nothing is created out of nothing, and as a result we don’t have to wait to “find our voice”, but we can start creating right away.
“Don’t make excuses for not working – make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now” (p. 138).
The concept of “theft” has been thoroughly discussed in art history (there are many quotations to be found in the book). It does not however have the meaning of copy-paste but of inspiration:
“We’re talking about practice here, not plagiarism – plagiarism is trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works” (p. 33).
Some of my favorite themes of the book:
How to create interest in ourselves and to allow others to discover us:
“Find people on the internet who love the same things as you and connect with them. Share things with them” (p. 85).
The dangers of habit and the benefits of breaking it:
“When the world looks new, our brains work harder” (p. 94).
The temptation to confront bad criticism:
“Get comfortable with being misunderstood, disparaged, or ignored – the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care” (p. 112).
Advice for the moments of low self-esteem (that can happen when we feel awe for our art, which in turn can only happen when we know it in depth - which is not the case with amateurs).
“Keep a praise file. Don’t get lost in past glory – but keep it around for when you need the lift” (pp. 113, 115).