In my second read for the interesting author, Austin Kleon, this book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, represents a very nice and practical steps for artists to show their work. More importantly, to have the faith and courage that their works are really worthy to be shared and promoted.
“You don’t really find an audience for your work; they find you. But it’s not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable”.
The 10 ways to show your creativity and get discovered are:
- You Don’t Have to Be a Genius: creativity is not a solo act. Instead, it is a “whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas”.
- Think Process, Not Product: there is no success that comes out of sudden. It is a process not a product. In fact, it is a messy one.
- Share Something Small Everyday: share something about your work every day. “If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you. If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress. If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting-room floor, or write about what you learned.”
- Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities: the more you share, the more you will get things back to you.
- Tell Good Stories: tell others how your work would impact them and the more you do this, the better you will be. Remember, “our work doesn’t speak for itself”.
- Teach What You Know: “Share your reading list. Point to helpful reference materials. Create some tutorials and post them online. Use pictures, words, and video. Take people step-by-step through part of your process.”
- Don’t Turn into Human Spam: in order to be interesting, you have to be interested. Try this Vampire Test: “It’s a simple way to know who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is not a vampire. Of course, The Vampire Test works on many things in our lives, not just people —you can apply it to jobs, hobbies, places, etc.”.
- Learn to Take a Punch: don’t take every single criticism personal. Relax, breath, and keep moving. This criticism should be opportunities for improvement.
- Sell Out: “We all have to get over our “starving artist” romanticism and the idea that touching money inherently corrupts creativity. Some of our most meaningful and most cherished cultural artifacts were made for money”.
- Stick Around: keep going and remember: “you. A successful or failed project is no guarantee of another success or failure. Whether you’ve just won big or lost big, you still have to face the question What’s next?”
Some of the best tips in the book are:
- How can you show your work even when you have nothing to show? The first step is to scoop up the scraps and the residue of your process and shape them into some interesting bit of media that you can share. You have to turn the invisible into something other people can see. “You have to make stuff,” said journalist David Carr when he was asked if he had any advice for students. “No one is going to give a damn about your résumé; they want to see what you have made with your own little fingers.”
- Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal: Write your thoughts down in a notebook, or speak them into an audio recorder. Keep a scrapbook. Take a lot of photographs of your work at different stages in your process. Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you. Take advantage of all the cheap, easy tools at your disposal—these days, most of us carry a fully functional multimedia studio around in our smartphones.
- Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.
- We all have our own treasured collections. They can be physical cabinets of curiosities, say, living room bookshelves full of our favorite novels, records, and movies, or they can be more like intangible museums of the heart, our skulls lined with memories of places we’ve been, people we’ve met, experiences we’ve accumulated. We all carry around the weird and wonderful things we’ve come across while doing our work and living our lives. These mental scrapbooks form our tastes, and our tastes influence our work.
- “Most story structures can be traced back to myths and fairy tales. Emma Coats, a former storyboard artist at Pixar, outlined the basic structure of a fairy tale as a kind of Mad Lib that you can fill in with your own elements: “Once upon a time, there was _____. Every day, _____. One day, _____. Because of that, _____. Because of that, _____. Until finally, _____.” Pick your favorite story and try to fill in the blanks. It’s striking how often it works.”
- Post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you.