Posts Tagged ‘show your work’

The shape of days

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

i had a rough day

Kurt Vonnegut thought every story has a shape that can be graphed —  each has a beginning and an end (plotted on the x-axis) and every character goes through “good fortune” and “ill fortune” (plotted on the y-axis). I put a bunch of them together for this chart in Show Your Work!:

kurt vonnegut's story graphs

I think our days have shapes, too — each has a beginning and an end, and we go through good and ill fortune as it progresses. (more…)

Russian translation of Show Your Work!

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014


The Russians don’t screw around. Like they did for the Russian translation of Steal Like An Artist, Mann, Ivanov, & Ferber have turned Show Your Work! into a bigger, badder, hardback! You can get a copy here.

tumblr_n7kvwfryVs1qz6f4bo7_500 russian-steal

Finding a balance between doing the work and sharing it

Monday, March 31st, 2014




When I was in New York a few weeks ago, Fast Company interviewed me about the idea of a daily dispatch. They also got some great shots of my notebook and me making a blackout poem.

Watch the interview here.

Why my book isn’t just for “creatives”

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

One thing that keeps coming up over and over on this tour is that Show Your Work! is not just a book for “creatives.” (I hate that word as a noun, btw.) It’s a book for anybody doing any kind of work that they want to get noticed.

We’re not all artists or astronauts. A lot of us go about our work and feel like we have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. But whatever the nature of your work, there is an art to what you do, and there are people who would be interested in that art, if only you presented it to them in the right way. In fact, sharing your process might actually be most valuable if the products of your work aren’t easily shared, if you’re still in the apprentice stage of your work, if you can’t just slap up a portfolio and call it a day, or if your process doesn’t necessarily lead to tangible finished products.


Show Your Work Tour Diary #1: Boston, NYC, and DC

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

I’m on book tour promoting Show Your Work! See all upcoming dates or follow me Twitter or Instagram for daily updates.

Image credit: @ArtSnacks on Twitter

Image credit: @BrooklineBooksmith on Instagram 3-bpl 4-boston 2-sign


Come see me on book tour

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

show your work tour

Next week I’m starting a 20-city tour to promote Show Your Work!

God help me.

Like last tour, I hope to keep a tour diary.

I would love to see y’all out on the road. Please tell your friends and spread the word!

See all tour dates here.

Show Your Work! is out in the world

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Show Your Work! is out in paperback and ebook Thursday, March 6th at bookstores everywhere, including Amazon, B&NPowell’s, iBooks,, and your local indie bookstores.

If you want a signed copy, order one from BookPeople here in Austin, Texas. They ship everywhere. (Here’s video of me signing the last batch.)

I’ll be headed out on tour in late March. Dates here.

To get a feel for what the book is about, check out this excerpt on Medium: “10 Ways To Share Your Creativity.”

Here’s what people are saying on Twitter.

If you’ve already received your copy, please consider writing a review for AmazonGoodreads, or your personal blog! Everything helps.

Thanks so much! Follow me on Twitter for updates: @austinkleon


Little free libraries

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

little free library little free library
little free library little free library

This morning I stuck copies of Show Your Work! in Little Free Libraries around my neighborhood.

What is a Little Free Library?

It’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. You can, too!


10 Ways To Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Show Your Work cover

Show Your Work! is a book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion. It’s the followup to my New York Times bestseller, Steal Like An Artistif Steal was a book about how to be more creative by stealing influence from others, Show is a book about how to influence others by letting them steal from you.

10 ways to share your creativity


No more guilty pleasures

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014


This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Show Your Work!

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it. That’s what’s wrong with our generation: that residual punk rock guilt, like, “You’re not supposed to like that. That’s not fucking cool.” Don’t fucking think it’s not cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” It is cool to like Britney Spears’ “Toxic”! Why the fuck not? Fuck you! That’s who I am, goddamn it! That whole guilty pleasure thing is full of fucking shit.”
— Dave Grohl

About twenty years ago, a trashman in New York City named Nelson Molina started collecting little bits and pieces of art and unique objects that he found discarded along his route. His collection, The Trash Museum, is housed on the second floor of the Sanitation Department garage on East 99th Street, and it now features more than a thousand paintings, posters, photographs, musical instruments, toys, and other ephemera. There isn’t a big unifying principle to the collection, just what Molina likes. He gets submissions from some of his fellow workers, but he says what goes on the wall and what doesn’t. “I tell the guys, just bring it in and I’ll decide if I can hang it.” At some point, Molina painted a sign for the museum that reads TREASURE IN THE TRASH BY NELSON MOLINA.

“Dumpster diving” is one of the jobs of the artist—finding the treasure in other people’s trash, sifting through the debris of our culture, paying attention to the stuff that everyone else is ignoring, and taking inspiration from the stuff that people have tossed aside for whatever reasons.

More than 400 years ago, Michel de Montaigne, in his essay “On Experience,” wrote, “In my opinion, the most ordinary things, the most common and familiar, if we could see them in their true light, would turn out to be the grandest miracles . . . and the most marvelous examples.”

All it takes to uncover hidden gems is a clear eye, an open mind, and a willingness to search for inspiration in places other people aren’t willing or able to go.

We all love things that other people think are garbage. You have to have the courage to keep loving your garbage, because what makes us unique is the diversity and breadth of our influences, the unique ways in which we mix up the parts of culture others have deemed “high” and the “low.”

When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Don’t feel guilty about the pleasure you take in the things you enjoy. Celebrate them.

When you share your taste and your influences, have the guts to own all of it. Don’t give in to the pressure to self-edit too much. Don’t be the lame guys at the record store arguing over who’s the more “authentic” punk rock band. 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.

Show Your Work! comes out March 6th. It is available for pre-order right now.

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