Posts Tagged ‘show your work’
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.
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.”
Thanks so much! Follow me on Twitter for updates: @austinkleon
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!
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 Artist—if 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.
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.
Holy crap: I just found out the pub date for Show Your Work! has been pushed up to March 6th, which means we’re less than one month away from the release.
So here’s something fun: if you preorder the book before March 5th, my publisher will send you one of these awesome SIGNED bookplates, designed by yours truly. For free.
I’ve been signing these things for a week now. They’re really cool:
Bookplate not enough for you? If you preorder the book from BookPeople here in Austin, Texas, I’ll not only SIGN it, I’ll PERSONALIZE it. It’ll look something like this:
Preorders, in case you’re wondering, are a really big deal — all preorders count towards our first week of sales, which determines bestseller status. Preorders help out A TON.
If you like my work, the best thing you can do for me is preorder a book (or two or seven or twenty) from your local bookstore or online. It lists for $12, but you can probably get it a lot cheaper than that. Every sale counts.
Oh, and PS: this book looks awesome. Here’s a Vine video of me flipping through it:
It’s the same trim size and paper quality of Steal Like An Artist, but it’s almost twice as long. It really feels nice in the hand. I just got a box yesterday:
Thanks for all your support. Buy a copy here.