Friday, January 23, 2015
Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
Looking for a new book to read, I saw this at the library and added it to the small stack of books I checked out. It looks like dozens of other books I've seen, inspirational and self-help-y. After seeing so many over the years (ten years working at Barns and Noble gave me a lot of exposure to a lot of books), I might be a little jaded.
But this one I like.
Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered is for creative people who hate self-promotion. I'm a writer, and while I was working on a book, one of the things I heard a lot about was the necessity of self-promotion. I love to write. Self promotion? Not so much. Promoting myself and my work felt like a daunting, never-ending chore. In the past I've been told to build a network, to use social media to my professional advantage. Bleah. Hard. Exhausting.
Austin Kleon offers a reframe on how I've looked at - and felt about - self-promotion. He talks about sharing our work, talking about and posting online about what we're doing, what we're thinking, what we're working on. Instead of the "lone genius" paradigm that many of us still think of when we think of creative people (I know I do), he offers the new idea of putting our stuff out there, even before there is an end "product". This inviting people to see, comment, add ideas and thoughts is not only helpful for gaining an audience, it also helps us with our own creative process and work.
The way Kleon describes it, it sounds like fun. And helpful. Even liberating.
Kleon also talked about ways to honor your own creativity and personality. One chapter I liked was the one about having no guilty pleasures. Like what you like, he says, don't be ashamed or even think of them as guilty pleasures. Me? I like pop music. I like other kinds of music too (she hurriedly qualifies), and sometimes I admit that I've been embarrassed about liking pop music. So all right, I'll say it again. I like pop music.
Kleon is saying to put yourself out there. Give attention and validity to what you do, what you like, what and how you create. And don't work in a vacuum. Excellent advice.
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