I’ll be doing a Review of Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. A couple of months ago, I came across the wonder that is Austin Kleon and I was moved to do better creatively and content-wise. After I read his book, Steal Like An Artist, I have been pushed to read the sequel, Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. Read through and you will be tempted to read this book, that’s if you haven’t already.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A GENIUS
Chapter 1 of Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work” starts with a quote by Steve Martin. It says “Be so good they can’t ignore you”. While you are always going to be found by your audience, you should also put in the work to be findable. To do that, build sharing into a routine, and always talk about what you are building. Also, leave networking for a while and take advantage of your network. This simply means that while you’re looking for more people, take time to pause and build what you have already. Live in a world where your work attracts people. The building is already a long process that may not work.
In summary, Chapter 1 says
• No good work is created in a vacuum. Collaborate.
• There is no blockade online. You can share anything you want.
• Share your mistakes and let others learn from you.
• Be open to new beginnings and forget about being an expert.
• You’ll find your voice as you progress.
• Always put your work out for consumption.
THINK PROCESS, NOT PRODUCTS
Chapter two of Austin Kleon’s book comes with a simple message. Think Process, Not Products.
However, we are not wired this way. We have not been trained this way. As creatives, we like to hoard our process because we fear copycats or our work being stolen from us. The truth, however, is that no one can do it the way the master, YOU, do it. There is work that you show people, your results, and there is work that is yours. Showing your process is a way to show that you can do what you say know to do. Make a journal and show drafts. That itself is putting your work out there.
SHARE SOMETHING SMALL EVERYDAY
Don’t be overwhelmed with the long term. Start little by little, take it a day at a time. The days will eventually add up and it will matter take time to show what you’re doing at the moment. Also, make sure to know the difference between sharing and oversharing. Just like sharing your process, maintain sharing fun stuff daily while building the real deal in the background. He also shares that, as you go, you’ll develop a platform. Small things get big when you build. Buy your own internet space. Get a domain name. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to exist.
He concludes by saying, BE GOOGLEABLE. Your name, your brand. Let things be known about you.
OPEN UP YOUR CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
Chapter 4 of Share your work is very straight to the point and vivid. Some key points to take away are as follows.
• The more you share, the more you know.
• Share your inspiration as you’re only as good as your inspiration.
• Be ready to have a clear and open mind.
• Search for treasures in the dirt, don’t feel bad about what you do.
• Remember to give credit and don’t share what you cannot credit.
TELL GOOD STORIES
In chapter 5 of Show Your Work, Austin titles it’s “Tell Good Stories”. Storytelling is the driving force of fascination. It draws people in and commits them to action. Your work won’t speak for itself. The choices people will make are affected by what you say about what you do. Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Also when telling your story, learn structure. Stories should follow a progression. Take it from the beginning till where you are present. Share your journey and highlights. It only gets better as you go. More importantly, talk about yourself.
TEACH WHAT YOU KNOW
Chapter 6 Teach what you know. Austin Kleon in this chapter shares that teaching people doesn’t mean increasing your competition. This is because, although they know the technique, it doesn’t mean they will do it the right way. Goes to say that no two people can do things the same way and processes are different. So encourage people to figure out the equivalent of what you do. Teaching doesn’t take away from you. Instead, it brings people and interests in what you do. The teaching process is a circle. You teach and you learn while at it.
DON’T TURN UNTO HUMAN SPAM
In Chapter 7, Don’t Turn Into Human Spam. These are the key takeaways and action points.
• If you want to be heard, learn to listen.
• No One owes you anything.
• Find time to be anything other than yourself.
• Be on the lookout for collaborators. Interaction gives you recommendations.
• If you want fans, you have to be a fan yourself.
• Anything you want, give it out first.
• Aim for their heart and eyes. It is like building a love relationship.
• Discover your kind.
LEARN TO TAKE A PUNCH
Don’t be afraid of failure, setbacks, delays, or mistakes. Fear is just an imagination. It is your imagination taking the wrong turn. Put more of your work out there and receive reviews. Both the good and the bad.
You and your work are separate. Your work is not who you are. While you may also take reviews, don’t take feedback from trolls. The worst troll you can encounter is you. Don’t hold yourself back.
Chapter 9’s key takeaway and action points are;
• Don’t be afraid to charge for your value.
• You can ask for donations or sell products. Remember to be fair.
• Also, collect email addresses, they don’t expire.
• Be Ambitious, Stay Busy, Think Bigger, Expand Your Audience.
Chapter 10 urges us not to quit. In the words of Orson Welles, “Getting happy endings depends on where you stop in your story”. The possibilities of what you will encounter keep your business going. By keeping on, you leave room open for success possibilities, and then you jump on it when it comes. Remember that nothing is certain. Think of what comes next. Also, don’t let waiting for a review delay you. Get to work. Review yourself. Each work done will lead to the next.
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