Show your work

Show your Work

Author – Austin Kleon

It will be exhilarating

Significant Objects

Where good ideas come from

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

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

In order to be found, you have to be findable.

“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.” – Henry Longfellow

“scenius”: 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.”

We’re all terrified of being revealed as amateurs, but in fact, today it is the amateur-the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love, regardless of the potential for fame, money, or career-who often has the advantage over the professional. Because they have little to lose, amateurs are willing to try anything and share the results.

“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities.” – Zen monk Shun Ryu Suzuki

💡 The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something. Contributing something is better than contributing nothing.

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.
Don’t worry, for now, about how you’ll make money or a career off it.

Forget about being an expert or a processional, and wear your amateurism(your heart, your love) on your sleeve. 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.

By letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work, which helps us move more of our product.

“Put yourself, and your work, out there every day, and you’ll start meeting some amazing people.” – Bobby Solomon

Don’t show your lunch or your latte; show your work.

The act of sharing is one of generosity-you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen.


Ask yourself every time you turn in a piece of writing.

“Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?”

“If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.” – Kenneth Goldsmith

“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 Biao

“The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually, you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish. Somehow the more you give away, the more comes back to you.” – Paul Arden

“Stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that their effect on any given object’s subjective value can actually be measured objectively.”

“To fake a photo, all you have to do is change the caption. To fake a painting, change the attribution.” – Errol Morris

The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work, and how people feel and what they understand about your work effects how they value it.

“Humans want to connect. Personal stories can make the complex more tangible, spark associations, and offer entry into things that might otherwise leave one cold.”

“’The cat sat on a mat’ is not a story. ‘The cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is a story.” – John le Carre

You get a great idea, you go through the hard work of executing the idea, and then you release the idea out into the world, coming to a win, lose, or draw.

“The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive.” – Annie Dillard

Think about what you can share from your process that would inform the people you’re trying to reach.

“When people realize they’re being listened to, they tell you things.” – Richard Ford

The trick is not caring what EVERYBODY thinks of you and just caring about what the RIGHT people think of you” – Brian Michael Bendis

“Sellout… I’m not crazy about that word. We’re all entrepreneurs. To me, I don’t care if you own a furniture store or a whatever-the best sign you can put up is sold out.” - Bill Withers
You should always be collecting email addresses from people who come across your work and want to stay in touch.
I know people who run multimillion-dollar businesses off of their mailing lists. The model is very simple: They give away great stuff on their sites, they collect emails, and then when they have something remarkable to share or sell, they send an email. You’d be amazed at how well the model works.
“We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” - Walt Disney

“Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck-and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.” – Michael Lewis

The people who get what they’re after are very often the ones who just stick around long enough. It’s very important not to quit prematurely.

“Whatever you do, don’t quit your show. Life is very hard without a show.” – Dave Chappelle

💡 “Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough.” – Alain de Botton

The comedian Louis C.K. worked on the same hour of material for 15 years, until he found out his hero, George Carlin, threw out his material every year and started from scratch.

C.K. was scared to try it, but once he did, it set him free:

“When you’re done telling jokes about airplanes and dogs, and you throw those away, what do you have left? You can only dig deeper. You start talking about your feelings and who you are. And then you do those jokes and they’re gone. You got to dig deeper.

💡 When you get rid of old material, you push yourself further and come up with something better.

When you throw out old work, what you’re really doing is making room for new work.
Look for something new to learn, and when you find it, dedicate yourself to learning it out in the open. Document your progress and share as you go so that others can learn along with you. Show your work, and when the right people show up, pay close attention to them, because they’ll have a lot to show you.