R29: What lessons can people who aren't in fields that are deemed "creative" take away from this book?
Kurtz: "Well, the first fucking lesson is that everyone is creative. The book cover says 'life advice for creatives,' and it's my fault for being misleading. But when you broaden the definition of what a creative person is, and instead think about a type of emotive, open, human person, it's really for anyone. Anyone who's ever wanted to accomplish a goal of any kind is going to relate to the essays in this book."
R29: What do you want people in creative fields in particular to get from this book?
Kurtz: "Creative people, as I define them in the book, are a type of human who feel a certain compulsion to 'make' something out of every experience. We see beauty in the world and we are inspired. We don't always know where we fit in, we don't always know how to harness the potential we know we have, and we often feel frustrated with ourselves for not doing enough — even when we are doing so much."
"This book dissects the feelings and experiences of being that type of person in the world, breaks them down into their basic elements (success, fear, excitement, jealousy, anxiety, joy, inspiration, etc.) and then offers my approach to coping."
"'Create and meet goals' is one of the most important things for me to be a happy person. In school, you have semesters, you have tests, you have projects, basically a whole system built around short challenges and rewards. Then you enter the real world and it's like, holy fuck, I'm in terrifying control of my own life!"
"I give myself projects, I create goals, and then I get to have a reward. Whether that's a creative project with deadlines or a plan to go to the gym on a certain schedule, this kind of planning and structure gives you a framework to make sure you have a reason to keep moving forward, and to feel good about yourself when you do."
"In life, every difficult task can be broken down into smaller pieces and then built again. Artists draw faces by starting with a circle. A house is made of bricks. The pieces make a whole and even when the end product seems impossible, the steps don't have to be. You can do anything."
"Life is bad sometimes. That's just the truth. Sometimes you just need to fucking survive and that's an accomplishment in and of itself. But when you reflect on the hardships, you can find the silver lining or lesson learned. You don't want take all the bad shit with you, but you might take one thing, a souvenir that shapes you into who you are and what you'll do next, and use it to make something new.
"Life isn't always easy, but it is mostly good and I really do believe that."
Author credit: JUDITH OHIKUARE