Show Your Work!

Austin Kleon
"Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple."

3-Point Summary
...

  1. A short, concise book on sharing your creative work packed with incredible value, something that played a pivotal role in helping me put my work out online.
  2. It wonderfully tackles everything that would make you hesitate about showing your work online, such as trolls, low confidence and the difficulty in finding your tribe.
  3. Austin sources amazing quotes and sprinkles them throughout the book to add further credibility to his points.
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Quotes and Notes

In order to be found, you have to be findable.

Imagine something simpler and just as satisfying: spending the majority of your time, energy, and attention practicing a craft, learning a trade, or running a business, while also allowing for the possibility that your work might attract a group of people who share your interests. All you have to do is show your work.

Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals; it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.

Today it is the amateur—the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love (in French, the word means “lover”), regardless of the potential for fame, money, or career—who often has the advantage over the professional. Because they have little to lose, amateurs are willing to try anything and share the results. They take chances, experiment, and follow their whims. Sometimes, in the process of doing things in an unprofessional way, they make new discoveries. “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities,” said Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki. “In the expert’s mind, there are few.”

The difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.” Amateurs know that contributing something is better than contributing nothing.

Forget about being an expert or a professional, and wear your amateurism (your heart, your love) on your sleeve. Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.

If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.

Audiences not only want to stumble across great work, but they, too, long to be creative and part of the creative process.

Ideally, you want the work you post online to be copied and spread to every corner of the Internet, so don’t post things online that you’re not ready for everyone in the world to see. As publicist Lauren Cerand says, “Post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you.”

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste,” says public radio personality Ira Glass. “But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.” Before we’re ready to take the leap of sharing our own work with the world, we can share our tastes in the work of others.

If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.

Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.

As you put yourself and your work out there, you will run into your fellow knuckleballers. These are your real peers—the people who share your obsessions, the people who share a similar mission to your own, the people with whom you share a mutual respect. There will only be a handful or so of them, but they’re so, so important. Do what you can to nurture your relationships with these people. Sing their praises to the universe. Invite them to collaborate. Show them work before you show anybody else. Call them on the phone and share your secrets. Keep them as close as you can.

Sometimes when people hate something about your work, it’s fun to push that element even further. To make something they’d hate even more. Having your work hated by certain people is a badge of honor.

If you spend your life avoiding vulnerability, you and your work will never truly connect with other people.

You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.

I write original articles for curious individuals every single week.
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