Show Your Work: Please, young creatives, read this.

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For artists, the great problem to solve is how to get oneself noticed.” – Honore de Balzac

 

Who need to read this book?

People who want to: Get his/her stuff out there, get noticed and finding an audience.

What did it tell me?

In the internet era, there are various ways to get your work known. Even though there is this golden rule, “be so good they can’t ignore you“. Being just good, is not enough. You must be findable by the audience, and one way to achieve that is by built sharing into your routine.

You don’t find an audience for your work; they find you.

10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

1. You don’t have to be a genius

Amateur is the enthusiast who pursues work in the spirit of love.

“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert mind, there are few.”

Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown. Think about what you want to learn and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.

2. Think process, not product

The process is only important to you and yourself, for others what matters is the finished product.

“You have to make stuff. No one is going to give a damn about your resume: they want what you have made with your own little fingers.”

However, human beings are interested in other people and what other people do. By sharing the day-to-day process you can form a unique bond with your audience, but the private details are uninteresting to the audiences.

3. Share something small every day

Don’t overthink, just follow your guts. But always ask these two questions. First, ask yourself, is this helpful or entertaining? And second, ask again “will I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing this?” If the answer is a no, there is nothing wrong with saving things for later.

Flow vs. Stock
Flow is the feed; it reminds people you exists. Stock is the durable; it is the type of contents you produce that’s as interesting in years as it is today. A blog is an ideal tool to turn flow into stock. One blog post might mean nothing, but thousands of them can turn into a life’s work.

4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities

Our taste makes us what we are. The reading feeds the writing; the writing feeds the reading. Don’t try to be hip or cool; being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things too.

5. Tell good stories

Stories you tell about the work have a huge effect on how people feel and how they understand your work. Structure is everything, a story has beginning, middle and end.
Value the readers time. Be brief. Learn to speak. Learn to write.

You should be able to explain your work to a kindergarten, a senior citizen and everybody in between. Tell the truth and tell it with dignity and self-respect.

Know what a good story is and how to tell one (*this is one of the reasons I love the classic movies).

6. Teach what you know

The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others. Don’t be afraid, just because someone knows the master’s technique, it doesn’t mean they can follow it right away. When you teach how to do your work, you generate more interest in your work.

7. Don’t turn to human spam

If you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first.

The experience of art is a two-way street, it will be incomplete without feedback. So, shut up and listen once in a while.

“What you want is to follow and be followed by human beings who care about issues you care about. This thing we make together. This thing is about hearts and minds, not eyeballs” – Jeffrey Zeldman

8. Learn to take the punch

Do not take critique personally. When you put your work out, always be prepared for the worst. And remember:

  • Relax and breathe: No one has ever died from bad reviews.
  • Strengthen your neck: Practice getting hit a lot.
  • Roll with the punches: Control how you react to it.
  • Protect your vulnerable areas: if it will be too sensitive or personal, keep it hidden.
  • Keep your balance: work is something you do, not who you are.

Do not feed the trolls.

9. Sell out

“An amateur is an artist who supports himself with outside jobs which enable him to paint.”

Be ambitious. Keep yourself busy. Think bigger. Expand your audience. Be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.

“We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies” – Walt Disney

If you have a website, add a mailing list sign-up widget or donate button.

10. Stick around

Every career is full of ups and downs. Just stick around long enough. It’s vital not to quit prematurely. Whether you just won big or lost big, you still have to face the question: “What’s next?” Avoid stalling out in your career by never losing momentum.

“We work because it’s a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next” – Charles Eames

Remember to take a break. Practice sabbaticals daily, weekly, or monthly breaks where you walk away from work completely. Here are some three points to turn off your brains from your connected lives:

  • Commute; listen to audiobooks, write, doodle, read, or just stare out of the window.
  • Exercise; of course.
  • Nature; take a hike, disconnect from anything and everything electronic.

***

Other quotes from the book:

“Carving out a space for yourself online, somewhere where you can express yourself and share your work, is still one of the best possible investments you can make with your time” – Andy Baio

And,

“The impulse to keep yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes” – Annie Dillard

***

Yes, this blog was inspired by this book. “If your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist”, I fully agree.

 

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