Do It 2017! #8: Show Your Work by Austin Kleon: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered [Book]
From the author of Steal Like An Artist (see my previous blog post) comes Show Your Work, another excellent book for anyone who seeks to gain more visibility for their work — especially those in creative fields.
My reading copy of this book came from the Los Angeles Public Library in eBook format
Reading Show Your Work was like listening to my own frequent talks on career topics. Much is exactly the same message I have preached to people for years. That is, the only way to get your work noticed is to share it as widely as possible. Music must be heard. Art must be seen. Writing must be read. Otherwise, it is a wasted effort.
Share, Share, Share
One message I share deeply with the author is the utmost importance of sharing your work via blogs and social media. As the author puts it, “It sounds a little extreme, but in this day and age, if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.” If your work can’t be discovered, stumbled upon, ran into, seen in passing, found in a Google Search, etc, you are severely limiting the exposure and discovery of your work. I don’t frequently use the word “MUST”, but I will in this occasion. You MUST make your creativity discoverable, through social media or other methods, or it simply doesn’t exist. Of course, you can ignore this if you are only creating for yourself, but most who create want their work to be seen, to be cherished, to be sold, to be understood, to be an important impact on the world. Don’t let your work languish. As the Bible says, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel.” Show Your Work!
Make them come to you!
Another dream I often talk and write about is the upending of the current job search market. I envision a world where job and life opportunities comes to you instead of you going, hat in hand, begging, for your next job, you next commission, your next opportunity. Imagine what an amazing world that would be/
Kleon says, “Imagine if your next boss didn’t have to read your résumé because he already reads your blog. Imagine being a student and getting your first gig based on a school project you posted online. Imagine losing your job but having a social network of people familiar with your work and ready to help you find a new one. Imagine turning a side project or a hobby into your profession because you had a following that could support you.“
I doubt that I will see this as commonplace within my lifetime, but it is an admirable goal we should all be trying to bring to fruition. We need to move beyond the norm of job search and turn it into a world were people go seeking new collaborators from the huge stockpile of great, interesting, talented people they already know. Of course, it is up to you to share “what you do and how well you do it” so that people clearly know the type and quality of work you do and you can be in the forefront of their mind when they need someone with those talents. If not, they’ll simply — and quickly — find someone else.
What do you have to share?
It might be more than you think. Sharing the process of your work is just as important as sharing the final product. Human beings LOVE to see “behind the curtain.” They love to feel like they are getting a special, closer, deeper, more intimate look into your work. This is something only you can provide. when friends and clients bemoan “What do I have to blog/post/status update/Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr about?”, this is my first recommendation. Share what you are doing. Share your successes. Share your challenges. Share your failures. Both you and those who follow you will both be better for it. Does this mean share everything? Maybe not, but most of us share far less than we might…or should.
If you need a good kick in the seat of your pants, Show Your Work can provide it. You’ll find yourself making notes, lists and todo items continuously as you go through it — I know I did. While your at it, check out Kleon’s other book, Steal Like An Artist (see my previous blog post on this book). I think you’ll find it enjoyable and greatly useful, too.
What do you have to share? What should you be showing off to your friends, family and the world?
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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!