3 min read

Show Your Work

Show Your Work

by Austin Kleon

This book confirms a lot of things that I believe through posting on my YouTube Channel and this website. We live in a digital era where the most effective way of letting people know your work is through sharing your work and putting yourself out online. This book will be ground-breaking for people who have never shared their work online before. I recommend it to anyone who has interesting skills and collections of creations as well as who are just learning the skills and creating along the way.

Actionable Takeways

  1. Keep a work journal. Write one-line summary every day.
  2. Keep (re-design rather) my creativity journal. Keep track of ideas every day.
  3. Post on my website weekly.
  4. Write myself a one-line intro to what I do in plain, concise and easy to understand language. Practice.

Get the book by Amazon UK

Summary + Notes

A new way of operating

  • In the digital era, it’s no longer enough to just make stuff and hope that people find it. You have to be findable.
  • Think of your work as a never-ending process. You can share your process along the way you learn and create.

You don’t have to be a genius

  • Find something you want to learn and learn it in front of others. Share your process. Share your successes, and more importantly, your failures.
If your work isn't online, it doesn't exist.

Think process, not product

  • People really do want to see how the sausage gets made. By putting things out there, consistently, you can form a relationship with your customers.
  • Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal. Keep a scrapbook. Take photos at different stages in your process. Keep track of what's going on around you.

Share something small everyday

Share but don't overshare

  • Post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you. Share things that adds value to other people.

Turn flow into stock

  • Share a small dispatch everyday (flow, the feed) to record your work progress and remind people of your existence.
  • Maintain your flow while working on the more durable projects (stock) in the background.
  • By collecting, organising and expanding upon your flow, it can turn into your stock.

Everyone should start their own website

  • Social networks are great, but they come and go.
  • A blog is the ideal machine for turning flow into stock.

Share where you get your inspiration from

  • Share your influences will let people know who you are and what you are. You connect with people by the influences.
  • Give the influences proper credit.

Give your work a good story

  • Your work doesn't speak for itself. You need to give it a good story - ups and downs, how the person has changed.
  • Write yourself a one-line intro to what you do, in plain, concise and easy to understand language.
Always keep your audience in mind. Speak to them directly in plain language. Value their time. Be brief. Learn to speak. Learn to write. Use spell-check.

Teach what you know

The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes. -Annie Dillard
  • The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others.

Don’t turn into human spam

  • You want hearts, not eyeballs.
  • Be interested.
  • If something or someone drains your energy (toxic), stay away from them.
  • Make online friends, and then meet them in real life.

Don't take online criticism personally

  • If you get online criticism, just keep putting things out there.
  • Your work is something you do, not who you are. The real life relationships with family and friends are the most important to you.
  • Don't engage with people who provoke you with hateful, aggressive, or upsetting talk. You will gain nothing by engaging with them. Don't feed them.

Sell out

  • Don't be afraid of charging for your work as long as the price is fair.
  • Choose the opportunity that expose you to more work and audience. Reject the one that is only good on money.
  • Even if you don’t have anything to sell right now, keep a mailing list. When you have something remarkable to sell or share, send them an email letting them know.

Pay it forward

  • When you have success, help people who reach out to you. Help people who helped you get where you are.

Stick around

  • Don't quit. Stick around.
  • Look for something new to learn, and begin again.