Show your work...

Last year, I reviewed Austin Kleon's New York Times best seller Steal Like an Artist. His new book Show Your Work! is a good read for any writer, designer, photographer, blogger or artist. His ten new principles show you how to get noticed and become an artist that others will steal from.


The book has been particularly helpful to me as I am currently taking another blogging e-course, and thinking again of ways to improve my blog. Paraphrasing, here are some good points from the book that resonated with me:

Be an amateur. Amateurs, Kleon contends, are the enthusiasts who pursue their work in the spirit of love regardless of potential for fame, money or career. Take a leap of faith. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or look ridiculous. Forget about being an expert and embrace your "amateurism." Share what you love and like-minded people will find you.

You can't find your voice if you don't use it.

Share something small everyday. Overnight success is a myth. Find something to share and get it out there using your social media platform of choice.

The "so what test." (not to be confused with my aversion to the overuse of the word "so"). Don't  over share -- something I loathe. Sharing is about being helpful or entertaining. Always run everything --  including tweets and Facebook posts -- you share with others through the "so what test."


Always credit other's work. Don't share things you can't properly credit. Find the credit, or don't share it.

You want hearts, not eyeballs. To some people, numbers are everything. I love this advice from Kleon: Stop worrying about how many people are following you and start worrying about the quality of people following you. Don't waste your time reading about how people get followers, reading articles you're not interested in, following people online because you think it's going to get you somewhere or talk to people about stuff you're not interested in. If you want followers, be someone worth following. Amen.

Meet in real life. Meeting people online is nice, but turning them into real life friends is even better.

Learn how to take a punch. Don't be afraid of criticism. It can help you. If you don't want feedback, don't ask for it. If you get nasty comments, delete them. Kleon quotes his wife asking: "If someone took a dump in your living room, you wouldn't leave it there would you?" Good question. I just know I would like her if we met IRL.

Pay it forward. Help the people who have helped you get you where you are today. Or,  just be nice. The world is a small place -- advice from his last book.

The book is a short and thought-provoking read with interesting graphics and photos. At $7.50, you have nothing to lose. I highly recommend it.


  1. This was a great review--I just added this book to my Amazon cart. I can't wait to read more. (And his other book "Steal Like An Artist" has me intrigued, too.) ps--I'm digging your new 'About' page! It's so nice to see the face behind the words :)

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  3. Ha! I had to delete my first comment because, duh, you apparently reviewed his first book last year. I just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that I read this the night I got it---absolutely loved it. Thanks for the recommendation. Now I want to order his first book...I'll go catch your review on it now :)


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