They say reading at night is good for you. It’s relaxing and gets your body ready for sleep. Typically I would agree but not with Show Your Work by Austin Kleon.
It was 10 pm, I was tired, ready for bed, and I assumed reading the first chapter would put me right to sleep. I was wrong. I ended up reading almost the whole book and then couldn’t sleep for another few hours with ideas racing in my head. Finally, was able to fall asleep around 2 am and wasn’t excited about waking up the following morning.
I’ve always been the type of person that enjoys sharing things. That is the reason this site exists and all my other side projects are around this same notion. Even though I share a lot at times I hit that burnout point and Show Your Work happened to be the right book at the right time for me. It helped put clarity and perspective to the things I want to do.
The book is fairly short, around 200 pages, and is a quick read. Here is the list of chapters to give you an idea what it covers:
- You don’t have to be a genius.
- Think process, not product.
- Share something small every day.
- Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
- Tell good stories.
- Teach what you know.
- Don’t turn into human spam.
- Learn to take a punch.
- Sell out.
- Stick around.
If you decide to get this book I would recommend the paperback version. It’s small in size at 6×6 but it’s high quality and has lots of little drawing and quotes included like this one.
In the past, I’ve been hesitant to share what I’ve been working on for fear I’ll never finish it. Of course, all the other fears too, like being exposed as an amateur and mocked off the internet. Austin covers all of these excuses and more.
Which brings me to one of my favorite quotes from the book about dealing with people hating your work:
Sometimes when people hate something about your work, it’s fun to push that element even further. To make something they’d hate even more.
If you have the desire to get your work seen, improve your marketing, or just want a nice book to add to your collection pick up a copy. I enjoyed it.