Show Your Work!

by Austin Kleon

Read:  2016-12-01, Rating:  8/10. A book to help you think about work as a never-ending process. Swift and inspiring call to action.

Ignore the geniuses, experts, and professionals and adjust expectations. Comparing ourselves with others scares us from trying, from being amateurs.

“That’s all any of us are: amateurs. We don’t live long enough to be anything else.” – Charlie Chaplin

Amateurs are not afraid of making mistakes and looking ridiculous in public. You can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something. Without formal training, be a life-long learner and do so openly so others can learn from failures and successes.

Don’t worry about money, about being a professional and wear your amateurism on your sleeve.

If your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.

I’m not going to sit here and wait for things to happen, I’m going to make them happen, and if people think I’m an idiot I don’t care.

Become a documentarian of what you do.

Forget about the decades, years, months. Focus on days. We can handle that.

“One day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn’t easy: It requires incredible support and fastidious structuring.” – Russel Brand

Fastidious – very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail

What are you working on? What are you learning?

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

It’s important to share, to get feedback, good or bad. Sometimes you don’t always know what you’ve got.

“The Internet is a copy machine.” – Kevin Kelly

“Post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you.” – Lauren Cerand

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

Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.

Don’t try to be hip or cool. Be open and honest.

Credit is always due.

Online, hyperlink pointing back to the website of the creator of the work.

Find the right credit, or don’t share.

Be a better storyteller. Study story structures.

Emma Coats outlined the basic fairy tale structure:

“Once upon a time, there was ___. Every day, ___. One day, ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally, ___.”

Every presentation, essay, cover letter, request – they’re all pitches. They’re stories with the endings chopped off. A good pitch is set up in three acts: The first act is the past, the second act is the present, the third act is the future.

The first act is where you’ve been – what you want, how you came to want it, and what you’ve done so far to get it. The second act is where you are now in your work and how you’ve worked hard and used up most of your resources. The third act is where you’re going, and how exactly the person you’re pitching can help you get there.

Talk about yourself at parties

“You got to make your case” – Kanye West

Treat introductions as opportunities to connect with somebody.

Strike out the adjectives from your bio. A two sentence explanation is usually what the world wants from us. Don’t get cute. Don’t brag. Just state the facts.

Don’t turn into human spam. You want hearts, not eyeballs.

Don’t waste time and stop worrying about how many followers you have.

“Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.” – Derek Sivers

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