Show Your Work!

A review of Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

May 23, 2021

Show Your work!

Austin Kleon

Doing creative work has a way of making oneself feel like they match up to the imaginary standards we have imposed on ourselves. It’s easy to hide behind unfinished projects, hoping to craft our masterpiece. Hiding results in not sharing what we have learnt, discovered and created. Our goal is to create work that is relevant, distinctive and notable where possible, but we often get caught up in our creative journey comparing ourselves to these undefined metrics. 

We forget the only way to create these distinctive projects is to do the work, in this journey we will learn where our mastery lies. Challenging ourselves to share the progress in the journey is where many of us slip up. The progress is where the magic lies. Forcing ourselves to share our daily progress, in the same way that many people share random photos on our Instagram stories is a habit I’m working on developing. Sharing your work builds trust in process and allows you to occupy the mental space of potential clients, compared to someone who hoards their work to themselves. 

“The act of sharing is one of generosity”. You never know if your work (process or finished) will inspire or motivate someone else to create something, spark an overlooked piece of insight, or be added to inspiration for someone else to benefit later on. 

When we share, don’t just dump bulk content on the audience without a way to digest or appreciate it. “The Truth is, our work doesn’t speak for itself”, learn to develop a narrative for the work you are doing and how you are making a difference. Telling stories through your work helps your audience connect with your journey. This is something I think about everytime I share a piece of work, fortunately there are some storytelling frameworks in the book to help you along the way. 

“Teach what you know”, I’ve heard this so much recently and is reshaping my approach to creative work. If nobody shared, we wouldn’t be able to learn from each other. Sharing your knowledge builds connection and trust, bringing people closer to your work. 

There are so many impactful lessons (Big & small) in this book that have made a difference in my life. Austin’s writing is free flowing and connects with the reader through personal stories and considered external examples.

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Show Your Work!