Austin Kleon's "Show Your Work" pairs his advice with eye-catching design. / Provided
You write, you paint, you compose – but who really cares besides you? With a few good tips from the book ‘Show Your Work’ by Austin Kleon it might be easier to get noticed among all the other artists out there. We got some of the best advice from his boldly designed book.
Share something small every day
“The thing about sharing is that you want to make sure it’s an act of generosity, and that what you’re sharing is either interesting or useful to the people on the other end. When I say ‘share something small every day’ it can be something very small. Just one little piece of your process that you think might be interesting or helpful for someone else. Some of the writers I follow [online] share their favorite sentence that they read every day. Or an artist will just share a page from their sketchbook. Little bits and pieces you can share every day that kind of put yourself out there and keep people up to date with what you’re doing. It’s kind of like if a filmmaker will share the DVD extras – the deleted scenes and the directors commentaries – while they were still making the movie.”
Tell good stories
“We kind of have this mistaken impression that our work speaks for itself, that if we just do good work that is enough. But actually our work doesn’t speak for itself. The stories that we tell about the work that we do totally influences the way that people accept our work or what they think about our work. As far as becoming better storytellers the best thing to do it just to surround your self with really good storytellers. Spend time seeking out people who are really good at telling stories and start studying them. There are really only so many different kinds of stories. Once you start studying stories and read stories you find out they all have a structure and they all have shape. You can kind of steal the structure of the stories and fill them in with your own material. Another thing that can help is becoming a writer. Spend some time writing, blogging or keep a journal. When you’re writing down your stories you figure out what’s interesting about them.”
Learn to take a punch
When you put your work out into the world you have to be ready for the good, the bad and the ugly. I feel that sharing your work on the whole is a very pleasant and good experience, but you’re always going to take a punch, so to speak. You really just have to get your work out there and experience what it’s like to have it out. Just to have people see it and talk about it. The way to take a punch is to get hit a lot. Get used to being hit, you know. It’s important to remember that your work isn’t you. People feel really close to their work, but you have to remember that the products of your work aren’t necessarily you personally. So when people tear down your work they’re not necessarily tearing down you.
“I think that in this culture we’re very much obsessed with overnight success. But when you start digging in to people’s stories there’s a lot of work and a lot of practice that happens before people get discovered or get success. I think it’s really important just to give yourself time. You’re not going to start a blog and then it’ll take off right away. You’re going to have to give it time. It took me years before people saw my poems. I just kept making work and kept putting it out there. And slowly over time people who were looking for work like that found it. A lot of success is merely sticking around long enough to let it happen to you.”
Meet the author in Boston and New York
Monday, March 17th Talk & Signing 7:00 pm Brookline Booksmith 279 Harvard St Brookline 617-566-6660 www.brooklinebooksmith.com
Wednesday, March 19th Talk & Signing 6:00 pm Kinokuniya Bookstore 1073 Avenue of the Americas New York 212-869-1700 www.kinokuniya.com