Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Club - Show Your Work (alternate book)

July's book club book was The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Unfortunately, I could not find the book to be able to read it. Deb Prewitt of Blue Twig Studio (host for the book club) did a very nice write up in her blog.  Sounds like it's a good book about what causes resistance in our life to creating our art, as well as, how to combat this resistance in our life.

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
Since I couldn't get a hold of The War of Art, I read the sequel to last month's book, Steal Like an Artist (see post from July 1)  - Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon.  This book was just as fun to read as his first book, with lots of good advice. 

Whereas in Steal Like an Artist, Kleon discussed stealing influence from others, Show Your Work is about how to influence others by letting them steal from you. The book is divided into 10 chapters with the following headings:
  1. You Don't Have to Be a Genius.
  2. Think Process, not Product.
  3. Share Something Small Every Day.
  4. Open up Your Cabinet of Curiosities.
  5. Tell Good Stories.
  6. Teach What You Know.
  7. Don't Turn into Human Spam.
  8. Learn to Take a Punch.
  9. Sell Out.
  10. Stick Around.
Kleon says the best way to get started sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.

     "Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people that are looking 
       for you find you." - Dan Harmon

The main idea of the book is the process, not the product. In documenting the process, you can see your work more clearly. Kleon says to share your process (and product) with others on the Internet with a website, or a blog, or a social media site, such as Twitter or Facebook - share a little something every day, if possible.  What you share doesn't have to be perfect. (It's taken me years to realize that I don't need to strive for perfection to the point of living in so much stress all the time. I can relax now and enjoy the process!)  Your influences are worth sharing because they let people in on who you are and what you do. (This advice is also hard for me, as I've always had trouble letting people in.)  Teach what you know - when you teach, you are generating interest in your work. (I have enjoyed teaching - I think I learn more than the students every time I teach!) As you share your work, others will start seeing it, which generates more interest and more people seeing your work.  It reminds me of the Kevin Costner movie, "Field of Dreams", from several years ago about building the baseball field and he kept saying, "If you build it, they will come." 

     "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

Lastly, Kleon's advice is to pay it forward and to keep working. When one project is finished, start another. But take a break occasionally, as needed, to avoid burnout, and more importantly, to generate new ideas. 

     "We work because it's a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next." - Charles Eames

I enjoyed this book - it's full of good advice, just like his first book.I am trying to share my work online weekly at this point. Right now that is more than enough to keep me busy.

Next month's book is The Trickster's Hat by Nick Bantock. 

Keep creating!!

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