Show your work: 5 ideas that spoke to my heart

The book titled “Show your work” has two purposes (at least for myself):

  • Pump up your emotions and believe that you can do everything.
  • Be a useful tool that you can go it back several times and re-read.

I enjoy reading a lot of books, but I am an amateur at keeping notes. As a result, it’s beneficial to re-read this book once every two months. Every time I read it I go deeper and find new ways to interpret what Mr.Austin Kleon conveys through his writing.

In this book review, we will scratch the surface of “Show your work” by sharing five ideas that spoke to my heart.

Find your “stage”

A great project/job cannot be carried out by a single artist that is working in “solitary mode.” There is a prevailing myth that geniuses work alone and achieve excellence while the whole world is waiting for them to unleash the next piece of art or scientific discovery.

“Show your work” shares a new way of looking at the term “creativity.” The author invites us to find our “stage.” A stage is a place that people share their work, exchange ideas and focus on several ways they can contribute.

In the 1990s, Kevin Dubar a psychologist at McGill University decided to alter his research approach. Instead of rendering biographies or theorizing in the lab, he watched closely as the scientists worked, using cameras.

His goal was to examine how great ideas are formed. What he discovered was that humans forget the specific (and small) actions they took to produce a great result. Monitoring and categorizing the activities of the scientists he (and his colleagues) concluded that the group environment generated breakthroughs in the field of molecular biology. The scientists challenged each other to surpass the ongoing problem.

Even with all the advanced technology of a leading molecular biology team, the most productive tool for generating good ideas remains a circle of humans at a table. ~ from the book “Where Good Ideas Come From.”

Keep in mind that the “stage” don’t have to be a physical one. As you know, there are more than enough online gatherings that you can show your work.

The show must go on

Having a greek blog about book reviews can be hard sometimes. The combination of reading, writing and learning how to show your work is fun, but sometimes the expectations you have built in your mind doesn’t come to life. The past four years in baktoblog I though two times about quiting, but as Austin Cleon states:

“People who get what they want are usually those who never gave up” ~ book “Show your work.”

Unfortunately, you can not skip your way to success, but you can show your work and be ready for success to come towards you. I couldn’t agree more with that mindset. Every time I publish an article here or in baktoblog, it feels like opening a new window and If I am lucky the freshness of the air will come in. If not, I have infinite closed windows that I am willing to open.

Build an online presence

If you are reading this article, there is a 99,999% chance that you have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn profile, but as the book states the social media platforms come and go every few years. As a result, you need a space online that you can control, like a website or a blog.

Buy a domain and a hosting service and start building your online presence. There are plenty of platforms out there that can make website design a child’s play. Note that you want a website-building platform that is open source. If it’s not open, you have the same problem as you would have with a social profile platform.

Share the secrets of your work

When you share the secrets of your work, you don’t necessarily enhance the competition. Teaching people doesn’t diminish your work but promotes it.

Apart from blogging, I work in a company and more specifical for a man who is willing to share with me his secrets and the way he works. Most of the workforce appreciate him for this willingness to help and contribute to the “stage.”

Does that mean that I can become as good as him from the moment he tells me what he knows?

Hell no!

But his contributions inspire me to do contribute as well as be more productive.

Stay amateur

I’m an amateur photographer, apart from being a professional one, and I think maybe my amateur pictures are the better ones. ~Elliott Erwitt

Amateurs aren’t afraid of mistakes.

When you are amateur, there is plenty of space to become better at what you do. You are accepting new ways of making things happen and original ways to show your work. You may not have taken the most known road, but your ability to continually learn new skills (while you work on your existing ones) can be beneficial through your journey.

Final thoughts on the book “Show Your Work.”

  • Very easy to read.
  • Inspiring for someone who devotes time in his/her art, after work and the weekends.
  • Full of valuable/practical advice.

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