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.”
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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.
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.”
A page from The Steal Like An Artist Journal
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.
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This is an excerpt from my book, Show Your Work!
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.
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If you share the work of others, it’s your duty to make sure that the creators of that work get proper credit. Crediting work in our copy-and-paste age of reblogs and retweets can seem like a futile effort, but it’s worth it, and it’s the right thing to do. You should always share the work of others as if it were your own, treating it with respect and care.
When we make the case for crediting our sources, most of us concentrate on the plight of the original creator of the work. But that’s only half of the story—if you fail to properly attribute work that you share, you not only rob the person who made it, you rob all the people you’ve shared it with. Without attribution, they have no way to dig deeper into the work or find more of it.
So, what makes for great attribution? Attribution is all about providing context for what you’re sharing: what the work is, who made it, how they made it, when and where it was made, why you’re sharing it, why people should care about it, and where people can see some more work like it. Attribution is about putting little museum labels next to the stuff you share.
Another form of attribution that we often neglect is where we found the work that we’re sharing. It’s always good practice to give a shout-out to the people who’ve helped you stumble onto good work and also leave a bread-crumb trail that people you’re sharing with can follow back to the sources of your inspiration. I’ve come across so many interesting people online by following “via” and “H/T” links—I’d have been robbed of a lot of these connections if it weren’t for the generosity and meticulous attribution of many of the people I follow.
Online, the most important form of attribution is a hyperlink pointing back to the website of the creator of the work. This sends people who come across the work back to the original source. The number one rule of the Internet: People are lazy. If you don’t include a link, no one can click it. Attribution without a link online borders on useless: 99.9 percent of people are not going to bother Googling someone’s name.
All of this raises a question: What if you want to share something and you don’t know where it came from or who made it? The answer: Don’t share things you can’t properly credit. Find the right credit, or don’t share.
Can’t see the video? Watch it here→
Show Your Work! is a kind of sequel — if the last book was about stealing influence from others, this one is about influencing others by letting them steal from you.
So it made sense for the new book trailer to echo the last one. As I joked then, I sort of hate book trailers, so I decided to make a cute dog video disguised as a book trailer instead.
The thing I hate about most video production is that it just takes too much money and time. I made this trailer in two afternoons, using equipment I already owned, with software that came standard on my iMac — I shot the footage with my Panasonic Lumix, made the animations in Keynote, recorded the music and voiceover in Garageband with my Blue Yeti USB mic, and hacked it together using iMovie. (I do NOT recommend ever using iMovie for anything, but I knew it would work for what I had in mind.)
I thought I might show a little bit of my work, below. (See what I did there? Ha.) It ended up getting a little long, so skip to the end if you just want takeaways.