Creatives often find trouble creating while at the same time getting their work seen. Or worse balancing the idea of sellout vs just creating what they feel like. What Austin Kleon attempts in Show Your Work is to teach a way of making your work discoverable while you focus on getting really good at what you do.
Though I work online, I’ve always had some discomfort with sharing too much online. This is a book for people like me. The author says “it’s for people who hate the idea of self promotion”. Also for people who haven’t realized that most of us are amateurs. And there’s nothing wrong with being reveled as one:
Another great chapter touches on taking people behind the scenes of your work. Because we don’t want to be seen as tacky or inept we shy away from showing the process. And that is one of the reasons why myths like the overnight success exist.
A lot of people are so used to just seeing the outcome of work. They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome.
I like how Michael Jackson put it. Most portfolios show outcome of work and not the work itself. the work is what goes into achieving the outcome. Showing the process also allow the audience to connect with the outcome. As per Brené Brown:
In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen really seen.
And then there’s the chapter Share Your Trade Secrets.
The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.
The funny thing about sharing your trade secrets is that doing so is akin to teaching. And with teaching the more you teach the more you learn. The more you let people in on your work the more interest people will have in your work.
Other than sharing, he touches on the subject of guarding your mental space so you can create. He calls this the vampire test:
not just people — you can apply it to jobs, hobbies, places, etc.
Show Your Work is a great book to read, especially if you have a shitty resume like myself. There’s nothing shameful about self-promotion. Finding ways to do what you love, share it, and make a living from it is in my opinion what life is about.
Thanks for following along. Hit me up in the comments let me know what you think.