Quick Summary of the Book
With the online world, it’s become so easy for you to put yourself out there and share your work for free. You don’t even have to be an expert at it. By sharing your updates and your work online, people who care about what you care about will start to check out what you’re doing. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon teaches you how to get started.
Before I was given this book by my dad, I really fell off of social media. I started to see it as an unbeneficial time-waster. This book couldn’t have come at a better time.
How the Book Changed My Life
- It helped me start reading and writing again.
- I've become much more serious about blogging
- I post on Twitter almost once every single day.
- It introduced me to some pretty great people online.
- "Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people that are looking for you find you."
- "If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive."
- "I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If you f—king like something, like it."
- "Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it."
Summary & Notes
You Don't Have to be a Genius
A scenius is a great way to think of being creative. It's how a bunch of people can collaborate, support, talk about, and share ideas.
Everyone can contribute something, you don't have to be an expert
Be an Amateur.
Being an amateur is pretty cool because they don't have much to lose. They can try anything and share whatever they make.
"Share what you love and the people who love the same things will find you."
Find Your Voice
Talk about everything you love. Tweet about it, blog about it, post to Facebook. Respond to what people say to you in your posts.
If it's not online, it doesn't exist.
Show the Behind the Scenes
Seeing the finished product is great, but in today's age, people want to see the process.
Document Your Process
Make notes about your progress by sharing screenshots. Write down your thoughts in a physical notebook.
Send Out a Daily Dispatch
no matter what phase you're at in your work, there is always something you can send out. If you're a writer, being active on Twitter can be a great place to talk about what you're working on. Not everything you post has to be perfect either.
When getting ready to post something online, you really need to consider whether you'll actually want something online or not.
"Stock and Flow"
When creating, you should adapt the economic concept "Stock and Flow." Stock is the real beefy work that you create over time. Flow is your daily updates that remind people about you.
Get a Domain
Get your own domain name and build a website. It doesn't have to look great. The important part is that it exists. You probably won't get any views initially, but the point is that you're out there, ready for people to find you when they do.
No Guilty Pleasures
Embrace the things you like that you call "guilty pleasures." It's super important to be open and honest about the things you like so you can connect with those who like that thing too.
Always Give Credit
When you're sharing something that you like, it's super imoprtant that you give credit to the original creator. If you can't find the original creator, don't share it. People are lazy and won't look something up without a link.
Talk About Yourself at Parties
If somebody asks you what you do, then it's okay for you to talk about yourself. It's not an interrogation. It's a potential opportunity to have a new person be interested in your work.
Teach What You Know
Don't be afraid to teach what you have learned to others. It's actually extremely beneficial for multiple reasons. You are helping your peers, you are generating potential interest in your work, and people will feel closer to you because you're letting them in on what you know.
Shut Up and Listen
Don't just point to the stuff that you have. Try to spend time online checking out other people's work and look to collaborate.
Also, do not follow people online for the sake of gaining more followers. Follow them because they care about the things you care about.
Make online friends, and do your best to meet them IRL. If you're in one of your online friend's town, hit them up and see if they want to grab a coffee or something.
Funny story, a few months ago, I actually became friends with a fellow writer who lived in town through Facebook Marketplace. I was interested in buying her Apple Pencil for my iPad, noticed she was a writer, and pointed that out. We've been friends ever since.
Learn to Take a Punch
No matter what, if you put stuff online, you're likely to receive criticism. Don't let your haters scare you into never posting again about yourself or yourwork. They are the minority. You'll also need to identify what kind of person you should take criticism from. If they say something is bad and don't explain why it's bad or suggest ways to improve, you're safe to ignore these trolls. It's also important to not spend your whole life avoiding vulnerability because then you'll never share your work or connect with others.
Get a Mailing List
Even if you don't have anything to sell right now, get a mailing list. Email isn't going away anytime soon and everybody has one, love it or hate it. The mailing list model is pretty darn simple: give away great free stuff, you collect emails of people who enjoy reading your stuff, and when you have something great to share or sell, you can send them an email letting you know.
Pay It Forward
When you gain success, help out others who have reached out to you and helped you get where you are.
Keep working and keep sharing.
Take a Break
Don't forget to take breaks daily, weekly, and monthly. This is when you walk away from your work for a little while. When you're ready to get back to it, don't be afraid to change things up and start from scratch.