Review of "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon

September 20, 2018

 

One of the romantic views that we have of genius creators is that they seemed to work alone, starving Artists slaving away for their craft. They seem invincible in the ream of the untouchables, touched by the muse, but this lofty goal isn't the norm for most artists today. Author Austin Kleon offers an alternative view of being an artisan: Show Your Work. 

 

Nobody is born professional. We all have to work through the amateur phase, a phase which the author assures the reader is the best place to begin their journey into professionalism. Show your work as an amateur. He says, "The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn and make a commitment to learning it in front of others." 

 

"Learning out loud," as it were. 

 

One of the reasons this works is because humans are naturally curious beings interested in understanding the story behind the work. Austin says, "The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work...[which] affects how they value it." 

 

Sharing is about reaching and connecting with like-minded people. People who will support what you do, who will root for you when it's hard, and applaud when you accomplish the remarkable. It's about Seth Godin's principle of building a Tribe. People generally want to meet people like them. They want to share the experiences that bring humans closer. 

 

"The act of sharing is one of generosity - you're putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen." Being generous is a great way to make friends in your area.  

 

Sharing your inspirations, inspires others. 

 

Another concept I really enjoyed was the concept of starting over. When we get to a place where we're confident that we know what we're doing, we can become complacent. Complacency leads to boredom. Keep the cycle of learning and growing and sharing alive so you can keep progressing. 

 

Overall, this book, though short, was helpful in understanding why we should be sharing our process with those who follow us. It points out the various techniques in which one can share, offering a series of questions an artist might ask themselves and gives a list ways that we can share with our prospective audience. 

 

The book flowed from point to point well, clearly stating the section of each portion of text and adding helpful graphics for visual representation. The text was well-rounded out with quotes and examples from known artists to help the points along. 

 

It's a book that I recommend to new authors or artists who aren't sure where to begin building their platform online. It discusses the importance of having one's own hub on the internet and what social media platforms generally appeal to different types of art. It also walks through dealing with criticism and accepting that your work won't be glorious when you begin.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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