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The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

by Seth Godin

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin’s core message is that creative success is less about innate talent or waiting for inspiration and more about committing to being consistent and disciplined with the practice of creativity. It’s about doing the work regularly and getting it into the world.

So little did I realize that’s exactly what I did in 1994. When personal computers first came out, yeah, I’m that old. This was when personal computers were all the rage. I was inspired to create something. It got me thinking…Growing up in New Orleans, we had so many wonderful recipes that I didn’t want to lose any. They were all bits of paper stuffed in an old cookbook. So, I decided to create a family cookbook using my new personal computer. It was a scary process to create something personal and share it with the world, albeit my family and friends (it felt like the world).

The best way to create it was to be consistent, work on it every day, have a vision, and not let fear get in my way. The hard part was, at that time, I couldn’t just scan the recipe and bring it into the computer. Nope, that technology wasn’t invented yet. So, I had to retype all the recipes using the word processor. It took over a month. I even persuaded a friend who was a good artist to draw a picture for the cover.

The last scary step was taking it to Kinko’s to print and bind it. When I was able to put my hands on the finished product, I was very proud of myself, and I still have it on my cookbook shelf. It is a bit beat up and stained. Yet it was the first book I ever created and one of the best gifts to the family and friends who contributed to it.

Since then, I’ve created SO MUCH MORE. Take this blog, for example; I’ve been posting book reviews for the past three years. And I also have a blog I write every week, and that’s been going since 2012. I’m definitely dedicated to the creative process. This leads me to…

What I Loved About This Book:

In The Practice: Shipping Creative Work, Godin argues that creativity is a process that can be developed and honed through habit and routine rather than a mysterious gift that only a few people possess. By focusing on the process rather than the outcome, you can overcome the barriers that typically prevent you from being prolific and successful.

This approach demystifies creation and makes it accessible to everyone, encouraging a proactive and resilient mindset towards creative work. Yeah, I absolutely love this. It means that creative success is less about having innate talent or waiting for inspiration and more about committing to do consistent, disciplined practice of creativity. It’s about doing and shipping the work regularly – which means sharing it with people regardless of fear, perfectionism, or external validation.

A Book Summary to Inspire You To Read It!

Quick Summary:
The Practice: Shipping Creative Work is akin to attending a masterclass in unlocking your creative potential, much like an artist standing in front of a blank canvas. This book dives deep into the mental and practical processes of creativity, emphasizing that it’s not about that lightning strike of inspiration. It’s really about being disciplined and showing up and doing the work every day. It’s particularly suited for you if you seek practical advice on cultivating a sustainable and productive creative routine. This book is a valuable tool for understanding how to consistently produce and share your work, transitioning from an aspiring to a professional creative mindset. It encourages you to focus on the process rather than the product.

Who Ought to Read this Book and Why:
You should consider reading The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin if you are an artist, writer, or entrepreneur involved in creative pursuits and struggle with perfectionism, procrastination, or fear of failure. It is especially beneficial if you’re seeking practical advice on developing a sustainable and productive creative routine. Godin’s insights help demystify the creative process, making it accessible and less intimidating.

This book is a valuable tool for understanding how to consistently produce and share your work, transitioning from an aspiring to a professional creative mindset. It encourages you to focus on the process rather than the product. It gives you a blueprint for turning creativity into a disciplined practice that can lead to fulfillment and success.

Things You Will Discover:

  1. Identity as a Creator: Godin discusses how viewing yourself as a professional creator changes your approach to work, encouraging you to take your efforts more seriously and commit to delivering regardless of emotional ups and downs.
  2. Importance of Shipping: You’ll learn about the critical importance of finishing and publicly sharing your work. Godin stresses that the act of shipping is what separates professionals from amateurs, as it forces you to confront and overcome the fear of judgment and failure.
  3. Role of Habits and Rituals: The book provides insights into how setting up daily habits and rituals can lower resistance to starting work and help maintain a steady output, which is more beneficial than waiting for inspiration to strike.
  4. Dealing with Fear and Resistance: Discover strategies for dealing with the internal resistance that often prevents creatives from producing work, such as fear of rejection or feeling not good enough. Godin offers practical advice on how to push through these mental barriers.
  5. Feedback and Iteration: Learn how to use feedback constructively to improve your work rather than letting criticism derail your creative process. Godin explains the importance of iteration and continuous improvement in refining your art.
  6. Generosity in Creativity: Godin encourages creators to think of their work as a form of generosity and contribution, shifting the focus from self-doubt to the value provided to others, which can be profoundly motivating.
  7. Embracing Imperfection: The book helps you embrace imperfection in your work as part of the creative process, illustrating that perfection is often an illusion and a barrier to productivity and creativity.

Inspiring Book Quotes:

Let’s Not Focus On Outcomes:
“Reassurance is futile. What we seek and how we create aren’t the same thing. Focusing on outcomes based on the process is a shortcut that will destroy your work. “

Trust is Very Important:
“The practice is trusting in yourself to show up and so the work.”

Great Questions:
“Who do I want to change? What change am I trying to make? How will I know that it worked?”

Be Concise & Focused:
“The more concise and focused you are, the more you will make change happen.”

Empathy Changes People…
Empathy will help change the people you want to serve. Who do they love? Who hurt them?Who has double-crossed them?” 

What The Work Isn’t:
“You are not your work. It’s a series of choices made with generous intent to cause something to happen. We can always make better choices.”

Outcomes Follow This:
“Focus on the process when that’s right. The outcome will follow, and ignore the parts you can’t control.”

These 3 Things Equal Art:
“Curiosity, generosity, and connection is art- make something new and better.”

You Gotta Just Be You:
“Be yourself. The Grateful Dead are anything but glam rockers. Often, they appeared on stage looking scruffy and unkempt, but their fans just loved how they looked like the average Joe.”

Know This:
“Know what your clients want before they do- know your gut. Watch what the market does and learn from that.”

Know This:
“Don’t Sabotage the work by ignoring the practice- trust yourself to find a way forward and persist as the practice continues.”

Your Success is Understanding This:
“My work won’t ever be good for everyone and will always be good for someone.”

About the Author:  Seth Godin

Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, and, Most of All, A teacher. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 20 best-selling books. His book, This is Marketing, was an instant bestseller in countries around the world. The latest book is The Practice, and creatives everywhere have made it a bestseller. He also founded two companies, Squidoo and Yoyodyne (acquired by Yahoo!). By focusing on everything from effective marketing and leadership to the spread of ideas and changing everything, Seth has been able to motivate and inspire countless people around the world.

In 2013, Seth was one of just three professionals inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. In an astonishing turn of events, in May 2018, he was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame as well. He might be the only person in both.

Where I Would Recommend Getting Your Copy:
The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin by

Other Books I’d Recommend by Seth Godin:

Other Books by Seth Godin:

All Marketers Are Liars

Lynchpin: Are You Indispensable

Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, And Friends Into Customers

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable

This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (And When to Stick)

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work

Unleashing The Idea Virus: Stop Marketing At People! Turn Your Ideas Into Epidemic

Other Books About Writing I’d Recommend: 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Put Your Heart Where Your Ass Wants to Be by Steven Pressfield

The Artist’s Journey: The Wake of The Hero’s Journey And The Lifelong Pursuit Of Meaning by Steven Pressfield

Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t And Other Tough-Love Truths To Make You A Better Writer by Steven Pressfield

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad by Austin Kleon 

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use it for Life by Twyla Thorp

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron 

A Technique For Producing Ideas by James Webb Young

A Still Small Voice by Echo Bodine

Soulfully Yours,

Shannon McCaffery

Shannon McCaffery

Strategic Marketing Coach & Consultant

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The Practice: Shipping Creative Work


Hey there, I'm Shannon! Being a voracious reader and passionate about learning, I started this site in the hopes of sharing my thoughts and my love of inspiring nonfiction books that can help you. It's kind of like Buddha meets business. I truly hope you enjoy!

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