Showing your work can be scary, with hundreds of thoughts discouraging you because of the fear of failure, judgment, rejection or low self-esteem. Sometimes, even the best advice or book can't keep you away from your fear. I get you because I have been feeling that way too. Too many times, and am still am, struggling with putting my work out there. But, I guess it is essential to silence our fears and the negative thoughts that stop us from stepping outside our comfort zone, where all the magic happens.
I first discovered the book Show Your Work from the you-tuber Ali Abdaal. He would praise how that book changed his life. So, It got me thinking that it might change my life too.
You might want to start something new such as a jewellery brand, clothing brand or create a community. But, what's stopping you from chasing your dreams? The book reminds us that you don't find an audience for your work because they will ultimately find you. So, be as good as you can be, so they can't ignore your work.
Austin Kleon often highlights how sharing your ideas and knowledge will help you attract your audience. The people that think alike gravitate towards each other, right? So, what can you offer to people? That's the question you should ask yourself. You might think that you are not good enough. But, the little that you know is good enough. From there, you'll keep learning.
IT IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL BOOK REVIEW. These are my key takeaways that stood out during my reading sesh. You can always come back for a reminder.
“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities,” said Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki. “In the expert’s mind, there are few.”
Don't be afraid to start small. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn along the way.
“Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people that are looking for you find you.” — Dan Harmon.
It's not until you use your voice that you'll find it. Talk about the things that you love. What helps Austin Kleon, the author, to share his work is remembering that sooner or later, he might be dead, so why not start now? Don't wait until you are on your deathbed to realize your potential.
Just be a documentarian
When you are sharing your work on your social media platforms, be a documentarian. Snap photos of the behind the scenes, record the process and share it with your audience. What are you doing this weekend that is helping you to build your project? Just show it! Sharing daily updates about your work is more fun than sharing your lunch. Find the right balance between sharing and oversharing.
30 Minutes Is enough
Stop with your excuses! Half an hour is enough to start working on your craft.
Give credit where credit's due
In this day and age, copy and pasting is the new norm. When you share the work of other creators, you have to give proper credit. This little effort is the right thing to do. Treat it with the same amount of love, care and respect, as if it was your own. As Austin Kleon says "Find the right credit or don't share it"
Provide context, share the author's name and tag the creator so people can trail them back to follow their work.
Create a Social Media page, Website, YouTube Channel...
Find a space for you online, a place where you can feel free to showcase your art, work and talent. It's one of your best investments. Think of it as your blank canvas.
During your working process, there might be times where you may feel uninspired. Austin Kleon suggests digging into people's trash that you can find online and using it as a treasure to inspire you. Paying attention to the stuff that other people are ignoring can be a great source of inspiration.
Share, teach what you are learning from others
The minute you are learning valuable things, share them with others. Share reference materials, post tutorials, and help your audience become better at something they are eager to learn. As Austin Kleon says: "Be a good citizen of your community" If people are following your work, it means that they care about it. So stay GENUINE.
Be ready for the Good & the Bad
Putting your work out there in the world can be scary. It is normal to feel that way. People can criticize your work, but every piece of criticism is an opportunity for growth. The only thing you can control is how you react to it. Getting people to talk about your art in a good or bad way means you are doing something. Doing something is better than doing nothing. The writer Colin Marshall once said that Compulsive avoidance of embarrassment is a form of suicide. Austin even highlights that your work is something you do, NOT WHO YOU ARE... but as artists, we tend to take things personally. That's why we have to distance ourselves from our work to have a bird's eye view over it.
Collect Emails, they never go out of style
Once you start creating a website, collecting email addresses should be your part-time hobby. Why email? Well, people change phone numbers, but email addresses seem to survive the test of time. Thus, when you have something breathtaking to share or sell, you can always send an email to your community. Some might never open it, but those who care will. Another fun thing to offer is an email newsletter. Put a little signup widget on your homepage so your community can better connect with you.
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Help others along the way
Always pull someone with you as you grow. Help others, share their work and throw opportunities their way! You can even be a mentor by sharing your experiences.
Stick around long enough
Never quit. I think that the gift we were born with is no accident. It is a duty and a responsibility to develop it. So, share your talents with the world. Don't give up! You never know what's the next opportunity or where your dream job is coming from.
Keep the momentum going
Here's how you do it, once you've created your website, or set up a social media page for your business, think about the next move. Create posts on the thing that inspires you. Take photos of the brand new accessories you've created, and share snippets of your writing with the public. You get it - share, create and repeat!
...are perfect places for you to create, doodle, read or enjoy your surroundings. Whether you're on the bus or in the car heading to work, use these extra hours or minutes to educate yourself on the new things you want to create.
Those were my key takeaways. I hope this book will inspire you as much as it did for me. For those interested, I bought the kindle version of Show Your Work on Amazon. Send me a message on IG or leave a comment if you have any book recommendations. Until next time, Show your work, my friends, you have nothing to lose.
Thanks for reading!