Book Review: “Show your work: 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered”

Loved it! It’s a short book that can be summarized as “a manifesto for creative types”. The “be good enough, that they can’t ignore you” is simply not enough. You can’t stay in the consciousness of people if you only show the result of the creative process. You need to show how things get done. As the book states, people do care “how the sausage is made”. You need to participate!!

Highly recommend the book (4.5/5 stars)

Notes and comments:

  • Scenius: Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.”
  • Creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds. (Take Leonardo, he was a great creator but never forget that he was in apprenticeship for years before striking out on his own).
  • 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.
  • Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.
  • The only way to find your voice is to use it.
  • One day you’ll be dead. (I highlighted this, because first, it’s true, second start acting now!)
  • Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal: Write your thoughts down in a notebook, or speak them into an audio recorder. Keep a scrapbook. Take a lot of photographs of your work at different stages in your process. Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you. Take advantage of all the cheap, easy tools at your disposal—these days, most of us carry a fully functional multimedia studio around in our smartphones.
  • “Stock and flow” is an economic concept that writer Robin Sloan has adapted into a metaphor for media: “Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people you exist. Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.” (I love the idea of stock and flow)
  • A blog is an ideal machine for turning flow into stock: One little blog post is nothing on its own, but publish a thousand blog posts over a decade, and it turns into your life’s work.
  • Your website doesn’t have to look pretty; it just has to exist.
  • Whether you’re telling a finished or unfinished story, always keep your audience in mind. Speak to them directly in plain language. Value their time. Be brief. Learn to speak. Learn to write. Use spell-check. You’re never “keeping it real” with your lack of proofreading and punctuation, you’re keeping it unintelligible.

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