Show Your Work! | Austin Kleon

Summary of: Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
By: Austin Kleon


Embarking on a creative journey can often feel like a solitary pursuit, but Austin Kleon’s ‘Show Your Work!’ reveals the power of a collaborative, open approach to honing your craft. Ditching the ‘lone genius’ myth and embracing the ‘scenius’ mentality, this book illuminates the path to greater creativity, self-discovery, and exposure through sharing your work, interests, and even failures. In a fast-paced digital world, learning to navigate online environments, building personal connections, and maximizing the benefits of having an ‘open node’ mindset are essential aspects of sharing and growing as an artist. Gear up to immerse yourself in a world that blends creativity and connectivity, where embracing the amateur’s spirit is the key to unlocking your true potential.

Creativity is a Communal Endeavor

The idea of a “lone genius” is a myth that excludes the partners, collaborators, mentors, benefactors, and influences who made their work possible. Creativity is a social act and involves an ecology of talent. Meet the “scenius,” a group of individuals who acknowledge that inspired ideas usually don’t emerge from an individual mind but are a result of communal efforts. The internet has made it easier to share ideas and connect with people, and it’s the amateurs who often have an edge over professionals. The world is changing so quickly that it’s transforming every one of us into amateurs. Adopting the mindset of an amateur, sharing, and learning openly will help find your voice and figure out what you’re doing and where you’re going. Start sharing, and the rest will follow.

Document Your Process

In the digital age, the author argues that documenting your creative process is essential for developing your audience, holding yourself accountable, and creating a feedback loop. Sharing your work on social media allows followers to be more invested in the final product. Documenting your work also helps you see patterns and themes emerging in your process, stay accountable, and serve as evidence of your progress. Social media provides a feedback loop, allowing you to see how your audience reacts to your output. Don’t overthink it, share your work in any format, and take it day by day.

Invest in Your Career with a Web Domain

Building your own space online is the best investment one can make in their career. The author emphasizes the importance of a personalized website as a tool for self-invention. One can use their website as a storefront to display and sell their work, share their ideas, and connect with their audience. It is a permanent online space that outlasts the transient nature of social media platforms. To create one’s website, a domain name needs to be registered and a web designer can be hired or consulted online. Once established, collecting email addresses and offering donation opportunities can increase the website’s currency. Through the website, one can remain authentic and uncompromising in their craft, ready to connect with potential viewers and supporters.

The Power of Sharing

The book emphasizes that generosity is more crucial than brilliance, and the more you share, the more you’ll receive in terms of thoughts, feedback and contacts. It suggests that showcasing one’s passions and motivations will draw like-minded people. The author also stresses that creating and collecting are intertwined; our experiences determine our preferences and, in turn, affect what we present to the outside world. Furthermore, dumpster diving – seeing mundane things in a new light – can prove to be essential for creativity. The crux of the book is to share what one truly loves, be proud of it, and give credit to the individual who inspired it. Following this approach will help people to reveal their true selves to others effectively.

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