book covers the practice

A 5 Minute Overview Of

The Practice

Shipping Creative Work

About the Author

Seth Godin is a prolific author, blogger, entrepreneur, and lecturer. He is the founder and CEO of several companies including Seth Godin Productions, Do You Zoom and Squidoo. He formerly founded Yoyodyne which was sold to Yahoo! in 1998, and Seth Godin joined Yahoo! as VP Direct Marketing. Seth Godin has also founded altMBA, a business training program. He is the author of nineteen bestsellers including Purple Cow, Linchpin, The Dip, and This is Marketing. His blog,, is one of the most popular blogs in the world. He also has a podcast at Seth Godin is a graduate of Stanford University and Tufts University.

The Main Idea

Creativity is not an innate gift or a talent you're born with. Rather, creativity is a skill and a choice — it can be learned and expanded. The key to becoming more creative is to get into the habit of shipping or sharing your creative output all the time.

When you ship or share what you create — whether you get paid for it or not — you establish a "Practice" which will help your creative skills to grow and expand even more in the future. This kind of practice is self-driven, and is not outcome-based. The more you ship, the faster your creative skills will grow and expand, and the better your art will become, whatever form it may take.

At the end of the day, creativity and innovation are actions, not feelings. You become what you do. If you want to make a difference in the world with what you create, change your actions first. Establish a practice of regularly and consistently shipping, or sharing with the world, what you create. As you do that, you will find your voice.

The magic of the creative process is that there is no magic.
Seth Godin
You were born ready to make art. But you've been brainwashed into believing you can't trust yourself enough to do so. You've been told you don't have enough talent (but that's okay, because you can learn the skill instead). And you've been told that if you can't win, you shouldn't even try (but now you see the journey is the entire point). Art is the generous act of making things better by doing something that might not work.
Seth Godin

Ship Creative Work

1. The Practice — The conceptual foundation. More and more, today's economy treats people like they are cogs in the system. That's a shame, because creativity is a choice. If you aspire to find a new truth, solve an old problem, or make the world a better place, you can. To achieve this, establish a "Practice" of consistently generating, sharing, and shipping what you make. The five key principles in doing that are:

2. The Practice — Making it happen. The key to building a creative practice for yourself is to be consistent in generating and shipping your art — whatever form it may take. Certainly good processes help you generate professional-quality outputs, but consistency really is the key to moving forward. Generating art is something that you do, not merely something that you speak about. The second set of five key principles which underpin this idea are:

Key Takeaways

  1. Establish a "Practice" to ship whatever you create to a schedule. The discipline of doing that will cause you to be even more creative in the future.
  2. Write every day. Blog, and record your thoughts. It will establish your identity, and help you arrange your thoughts. That's the foundation for your creative output of the future.
The magic of the creative process is that there is no magic. Creativity is a choice. It's not a bolt of lightning from somewhere else. You have everything you need to make magic.
Seth Godin

Summaries.Com Editor's Comments

I've gotta admit right up-front I'm not a huge Seth Godin fan, but lots of people will disagree with me on that. He's written nineteen books, many of which have attained bestseller status. He's also the owner of the world's most popular blog, and has a highly successful podcast, so obviously I'm in the minority. I just find his writing style with short chapters a little too disjointed for my tastes.

That being said, the message and ideas of The Practice are very interesting. In essence, Seth Godin is suggesting artists ship, and the best way to become more creative is to establish a habit of shipping your most creative work to a schedule. He suggests once you do that, your creative skills will keep growing, even if everything you ship is not 100% world-class. Seth is basically suggesting when it comes to generating creative ideas, quantity trumps quality — or more correctly, ship often and then focus on the diamonds that will crop up.

Makes sense actually. Reminds me of that Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: "That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.” Seth Godin points out creativity is not really like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky, but arises when you're in motion, and stay that way. Style considerations aside, this is a good book worth reading. Seth himself walks the talk, and I respect that.

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