Do you ever have trouble finishing creative projects?

I’m twenty-eight years old, and I’m a writer. You might think that 250,000 hours is enough time to write several novels, plays, and epic poems.

Sorry. This is my first book—fifty-nine pages, a modest start.

It’s about overcoming inertia and meeting creative goals. How appropriate.

The problem with most artists is that they don’t do their art. They have knowledge and talk shop with other artists for hours. They own books about creativity and dozens of half-empty notebooks. They complain about not having enough time and feel guilty about not using their gifts, or they stop caring altogether.

I call all those unfinished art projects “Marthas.” That’s a nice way of saying “the last known living Passenger Pigeon that died in captivity and is now rotting slowly in the archives of the Smithsonian.” As you might have guessed, all the artists are “pigeon hunters.” The fun continues from there, and along with some more animal analogies, I share the seven ingredients for establishing a sustainable creative rhythm.

If you proactively pursue your art, you stand to gain a great deal of joy, and the world stands to gain a great deal of beauty. No one else can sing your song, and it may be just what someone needs to experience peace, hope, and freedom.

I hope you’ll download Melting Chocolate Kettles: 7 Ingredients for Meeting Creative Goals and share the book with your friends. Last time I talked to my designer, oh, about five minutes ago, it was available in PDF and iPad-friendly versions. A Kindle version is coming soon.

Did I mention that it’s free?

No strings attached. You don’t even have to give me your email address, though I’d love to get some feedback. Leave a comment below. Help me write another one.

What are you waiting for? Pick your format below.

Download Melting Chocolate Kettles in .pdf format
Download Melting Chocolate Kettles in .ePub (everything-but-Kindle-friendly) format
Download Melting Chocolate Kettles in .mobi (Kindle-friendly) format


  1. Lauren Christopher
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Queen of Marthas, right here. Thanks, Austin! Excited for this read.

  2. Posted January 19, 2011 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    Austin. I’m so excited for this. I’ve told you before, but I’ll tell you again – you are one of my favorite writers. I’ll get back to you once I’m done with the book. Also, great title!

  3. Posted January 19, 2011 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    Oh. Also. I really like the new layout for “whatsleftout”. I am super impressed. It looks like it took days… or weeks? Obviously, it’s taken possibly 250,000 hours to make it fully what it is. I’m really excited for you. I’d love to meet up with you next time I’m in Knoxville.

  4. austinlchurch
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Lauren, I posted it on your birthday, so I have exceedingly high expectations for your creative work in the next twelve months. Tell me about one of your goals…

  5. austinlchurch
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Will, glad you like the title and thank you for the compliment. I really appreciate it. I’m pretty sure trying to get it right cost me several nights of sleep. I hate dreaming about what I’ve been thinking about during the day. Call me next time you’re in town.

  6. Posted January 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    i am the queen of internet distraction. i am facebook friends with your lovely wife and i am a freak germophobe. so naturally, when a video of megan sticking her head in a toilet showed up on my newsfeed, i clicked. and watched in horror as she succumbed to her farkle loss.
    from there, i clicked on the gu.e page.
    then i clicked to the gu.e website.
    next, i read a thousand witty yet eloquent posts.
    aaaaaaand then i downloaded your book and stayed up till 3.30 to finish reading it.

    i, too, am a writer/artist, but my work most certainly falls into the martha category. i am in fashion school, so i have the art-making side of me occupied and consistenly practiced, but i started a blog in august to exercise my writing. blogging really is the best way to act on that itch to write, as gaining pageviews and readers is shamelessly addictive. however, i am the best at coming up with every excuse listed in your book to not post on any given day. today i’m devising a writing plan/schedule :)

    i guess i just wanted you to know that your words are so beyond inspiring (and consuming–i seriously couldn’t stop reading), and your advice is respectable, intellectual, and totally relatable. i will be keeping my pdf copy as a reference. thank you for making your art available to such a broad and open audience! please continue sharing your gift.

  7. Posted January 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Unbelievably encouraging and humbling words. Thank you so much. Be sure to past that creative schedule for the world to see!

  8. Posted January 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Just downloaded the PDF version. Can’t wait to read!

    Congrats on the relaunch of the blog. I need to relaunch my own blog. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  9. Posted January 20, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for stopping by and downloading the book. When you do relaunch your blog, let me know how I can help. That being said, you’re the one who has been the direct and indirect inspiration for some of these thoughts (a la Now Is Gone). Hopefully, I’ll see you in Nashville sometime soon.

  10. Mark Northern
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to read it. You are one of my favorite writers. And you have inspired me to work on my potential Fast Company article (and maybe a book) called “Be The Salmon: How to find success by swimming against trend currents.” I will be in Knox sometime next week. Would love to see ya.

  11. Rachael
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    You have a gift. I just spent the last hour at work reading instead of working. Although I do not consider myself a writer, I do feel inspired to create a business and follow more of my passion instead of logic and to get the heck out of this cubicle.

  12. Caroline King
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait. Just downloaded it!!
    I love the title….even though the mother/cook/girl in me went “Melting Chocolate Kettles??….Ewww that would make a horrible mess…(sigh) Boys!”

  13. Posted January 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Caroline, if you would read the book, you’d know that making a horrible mess is just the point. Just like marriage, right?

  14. Adan Akerman
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Although many examples in this book are specifically intended to help writers, every single sentence rang true to me as a product development engineer. There have been so many times that I have experienced the challenge of getting creative work over that final hurdle: finished and out the door.  
    I had no idea what to expect, but I was immediately pulled into the text. It turned out to be a very quick read, but not for lack of content. I just couldn’t stop turning pages.
    Thank you, Austin, for creating and sharing this book.

  15. Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Adan, Thank you for giving the book a chance. I’m delighted that it was of some help to you. Your kind words help reassure me that the book has broad enough appeal. I wish you success in your creative projects this year. Come back and leave a link so that we can check out your work!

  16. Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Rachael. For enduring many, many Sharpie mustaches. I have no doubt that you could start a very successful business—successful in the sense that it would bring you pleasure. Enjoying oneself is contagious. Put your cubicle on Craigslist, sell what you need to on eBay, ask your friends to pitch in and buy you whatever Rosetta’s Stone program you’ve been considering, and jump.

  17. Posted January 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I think I’m blushing. Send me a draft of the article because you had me at “Salmon.” Give me a call next week.

  18. Adan Akerman
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Permalink is the blog I wrote for my woodstuffs design and fabrication company, Akertoys LLC. There are little articles about things we’ve made and thought about.

    Definitely, there’s broad appeal to _Melting Chocolate Kettles_. Everyone can use a fresh encouragement to keep creating.

  19. Posted January 22, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Austin. You may not remember me. We met at a Barking Dogs breakfast at David and Travetta’s house last spring. I’m downloading your book. I’m very excited to read it! Thanks so much for sharing, Leann =)

  20. Posted January 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Leann, I do remember you. Thanks for finding your way to gu.e and thanks for downloading the book. I hope it helps you meet some of your creative goals in the coming months.

  21. Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Hey there Austin! I read your book yesterday, and WOW! I love the way you write. The book is full of thoughtful and practical advice. I’m telling all I know about it. I’m sure this will be a book I read over and over. Thanks for sharing your talent. I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing!

  22. Posted January 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Thank you for your encouraging words, and thank you for spreading the word. I’ll keep on writing, and you keep on drawing and painting. I love that sketch that I saw at David and Travetta’s house.

  23. Posted January 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Your welcome very much, and thank you =)

  24. Bethany Massey
    Posted February 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Austin–Such useful advice and encouragement on achieving goals. Taking time to be creative is one of the topics of my resolutions for 2011. You’ve helped me take the next step on starting a blog. I love your writing and hope you are well.

  25. Posted February 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Bethany! Your comment encouraged me today. I would say, “Good luck in meeting your creative goals,” but if you’re hard at work on them, then luck doesn’t have a whole lot to do with it.

  26. alexis
    Posted April 17, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    your words are inspiring – I too am an artist who never seems to accomplish what I need to – there is always something pressing that takes priority – I will take heart in your example and try to accomplish what I need to – I will let you know how it works!
    Thank you!!!

  27. Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Alexis, Your words are inspiring too! I’m glad that my words have made a difference, and I hope that Melting Chocolate Kettles helps you to finish your projects. Please do let me know what you accomplish. Hearing about the success stories always makes my day.

  28. Posted August 18, 2011 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Congratulations! It’s great to have this out in the world. I hope you get a million downloads.

  29. Posted August 18, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Thank you! I’ll read it and come back and let you know what I think.

  30. Posted August 18, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Chris, thank you! A million downloads would mean a lot more people bringing a lot more art and beauty into the world and experiencing a lot more joy. That is certainly my dream.

  31. Posted August 18, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Luisa, please do! And when you come back, bring a story of the beautiful work that you’ve done. : )

  32. Posted August 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I LOVED it and just blogged about it.

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