In this article, I am going to tell you how the book Show Your Work by Austin Kleon opened my eyes and inspired me to continue with this website and YouTube channel.
You see, I have almost given up as I never thought that blogging and creating video content can be such a daunting task. I am glad I found this book as it encouraged me to go on, to persevere by taking one small step at a time.
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With that said, let us dive in and take a look inside this book. SHOW YOUR WORK, 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered.
SHOW YOUR WORK is Austin Kleon’s follow-up to his other bestselling book, STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST. I heard about Show Your Work from a popular YouTuber Ali Abdaal. In one of his videos wherein he talked about how he made millions of money writing online, he credited Show Your Work as one of the books that changed his life. I was naturally curious and bought a Kindle copy from Amazon. Here is a link for the Kindle format of book if you want to get a sample from Amazon.
According to the author’s profile on Amazon:
Austin Kleon is a writer and an artist from Austin, Texas. Aside from writing bestselling books, he also writes poetry by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. He is also a much sought-after speaker mostly on the topic of cultivating creativity in organizations. Here is a link to his website in case you want to find out more about him.
To date, Show Your Work has garnered a 4.7 rating out of 5 on Amazon. Impressive, right?
The title of the book neatly captures the essence of its content — show your work to the world. Do not be shy about it, do not be scared even if you are an amateur. You might be surprised to find out that people are interested in what you do.
You see, people are not just looking for your finished product; people are also interested in your journey, in your process. In contrast to what many so-called blogging coaches or mentors who tell you to fake it until you make it, who advise people to position themselves as ‘experts’ even if they are not, in other words, to be a fraud in front of others, Kleon actually encourages you to embrace your “newbieness”, to acknowledge it, to be authentic, but to make a commitment that you will learn and share your journey with others through your own website, blog or channel.
In the book, Kleon gives tips on what, how, and when to share your work, on what you should do so that you will not run out of content.
If finding your own voice is an issue, he reassures the reader that soon enough you will find your voice if you just keep going.
For a lot of people, including myself, the main barrier for stepping forward and allowing ourselves to shine is FEAR. We are worried that people will not like us or, worse, will laugh at us. We are scared of rejection and of being embarrassed publicly.
Show Your Work does not allow you to dwell on those feelings of fear. He takes the reader by the hand and shows them how to take baby steps.
Your audience already exists out there, you just have to let yourself be findable. Create your own website so people can find you. So your voice can be heard because your voice matters.
“If your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.”Austin Kleon, Show Your Work
What I love about this book is that it will teach you how to promote yourself without self-promotion. This is very interesting for many people like me who hate self-promotion.
So, how do you do it without self-promotion? Just share. Share nuggets of your work, your ideas, and thoughts every day on your website/blog.
Another helpful piece of advice from the book is to contribute. Contribute to discussions. Leave a comment, show your appreciation, ask a question. These are some of the ways to contribute.
Kleon encourages you, the reader, to document your life in any format you can (photos, videos, scrapbooks, journals). By doing this, you do not have to wrack your brain all the time trying to come up with new content because you will always have a stock of materials to work with.
This book is very practical and does not provide too much cerebral analysis of why you should show your work to the world. It will not make your nose bleed, as we Pinoys like to put it.
Austin Kleon breaks down his ideas and advice into chunks that we can digest easily. That is why this book is very readable. You can finish it in one sitting.
But it wakes up and builds up that desire in you to step forward and to actually show your stuff to the world. I myself have been inspired by this book to go on with my blog and channel, even if sometimes the stats can be discouraging.
Some of the reviews on Amazon did not find this book’s message life-changing, in contrast to Ali Abdaal’s opinion. Although the book may not provide many light bulb moments to some readers, it can definitely propel you into action.
After reading this book, I was moved to take up blogging and vlogging once again! It really gave me the push I needed. For me, it’s an eye-opener!
“What this means is that eventually as you share a little more each day, you will start to see a pattern emerge and see things in a new perspective or maybe inspire you to something bigger.”Austin Kleon, Show Your Work
Show Your Work is actually a call-to-action book. I think that if you heed his advice to Show Your Work and stick with it, it could actually change the course of your career, if not your life as it did with Ali Abdaal’s.
See for yourself and download a sample of the book from Amazon to take a peek inside the book. After you have sampled it or read it, come back here and let me know what you think about it. If you also have questions, please feel free to ask me.
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All the best!