Show Your Work

Show Your Work
Rating: 9/10

Show you work is a book that has made a big impact on me. Austin Kleon advocates sharing your work, your process and your ideas with the world and lays out a blue print on how to do it. I have certainly been inspired to share more of my work after reading this book (this blog is a direct result of it). I hope it inspires you to share your work too.

Here are some of my notes on the book.

You don’t have to be a genius
Geniuses don’t work in isolation and good work is not created in isolation. Instead, we geniuses are constantly inspired by other people’s work that drives us to hone our own craft
Be an amateur, because in the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few. They are just regular people who get obsessed by something and spend a ton of time thinking out loud about it.
The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.
You can’t find your voice if you don’t use it: If your work isn’t online in this day and age, it does not exist.
Read obituaries: take inspiration from those who have walked this earth before us.

Think Process, Not Product
Take people behind the scenes: human beings are interested in other human beings, how they work, how they solve problems. Show them this world.
Become a documentarian of what you do (start a work journal, photograph album, scrapbook and share insights).

Share Something Small Everyday
Send out a daily dispatch (could be something very small tweet, photo, blog post etc.)
The “So What?” Test: does the work matter? Ask the So What question after reading the tweet or blog post.
Turn your flow into stock. Collect small pebbles of your work everyday, and by the end you can build a wall, house, play park or however you want to arrange them with it.
Build a good domain name. You need to own your share on the internet (and not on facebook, twitter etc.) Your own name. Don’t think of it as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.

Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities
Don’t be a hoarder: Your influences are all worth sharing, because they show people who you really are.
No guilty pleasures. When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel about it.
Credit is always due. Attribution is key on the internet.

Tell good Stories
You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.
Structure is everything. You stories will get better the more you tell them.
Talk about yourself at parties. Have an answer to the question: So What do you do? at parties. For example: “I am a writer, who draws.” Don’t ever use Ninja, rockstar, guru in your bio. Ever.

Teach what you Know
Share your trade secrets: the minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others. Share your reading list. Point to helpful reference materials. teaching people doesn’t subtract value from what you do, it actually adds to it.

Don’t Turn into Human Spam
Listen, Be thoughtful. Don’t send out spam. People see straight through your selling techniques.
You want hearts not eyballs: stop worrying how many people follow you online. have a few followers that are really committed to you and your cause. Make stuff you love and talk about it and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff too.
Vampire Test. Don’t stay around people who suck the life blood out of you and drain your energy.
Identify your fellow knuckleballers. Meet with people who share a common passion as you do. Meet at meetup.

Learn to take a Punch
Let em take their best shot. As soon as you put your work out there, there will be critics. Roll with the punches. Don’t feed the trolls.

Sell Out
Even the renessaince had to be funded. People need to eat and pay the rent. Sell the work you are proud of and be proud of it.
Pass around the hat.
Keep a mailing list. Make more work for yourself: try new things, be ambitious.
Pay it forward: You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.

Stick Around
Don’t quit your show: every career is full of ups and downs. Just keep going.
Chain smoke: Artists who’ve managed to achieve lifelong careers: they all have been able to persevere, regardless of success or failure.
Go Away, so you can come back: You need rest periods too in order to recover and put your best work forward.
Begin Again. Look for something new to learn, and when you find it, dedicate yourself to learning in the open.

Book Review: Superhuman

SUperhumanI have always been interested to see how we can adopt new habits and get rid of bad habits. This book has been one of the best I have read on the subject. Here’s a short summary.

What is a habit and why are habits so important?
A habit is something you do everyday with little or no required effort or thought.
It’s the engine that drives the people we most admire.

Don’t spend you willpower, Invest it
Building a habit means converting something that requires a lot of effort and willpower into something that becomes automatic.

You already have a million habits
We are creatures of habit by design. We already have a million habits we do every day (what we do after we wake up, brushing our teeth).

Good Habits aren’t more difficult to execute than bad habits, they’re just harder to build
Getting over procrastination, or other bad habits and replacing them with a good work ethic is very difficult to do at first. One has to weigh up the cost of building the habit and keeping the habit.

New Habits vs Old Habits
New habits are things you are doing now, but old habits are things you are. Contrast waking up early and being an early riser, or eating a healthy meal to a healthy eater. Moving from doing to being.
Creating new habits takes a lot of willpower, meaning we cannot build lots of new habits all at once.

Think very long term
When choosing which habit to take on and which one to drop, it’s important to see the impact of it in the long term. One individual action won’t make a difference, but a cumulative action built up over years, that makes a difference.

Consistency is everything
Skipping a habit is detrimental to progress. This doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up about it, but it does mean you have to be aware of the consequences. Scaling down your habits is key to make sure you do it every day. For example, instead of saying meditate 30min every day, start with one minute every day.

Absolutely never skip twice
Whenever you skip doing a habit, consciously admit to yourself you are skipping the habit. This will happen on a few occasions, but do not ever skip doing a habit twice in a row. You will be starting from zero again.

Plan Variances
You need to plan well in advance for what things you will change when travelling or on holiday. Then once you are back to normal routine, your normal habit can and will kick in. Important to plan deliberately and well.

You just go – Do a terrible Job
Creating habits requires loyalty. What should you do when you sick and tired and really don’t want to do the habit. Do it anyway, but do a terrible job at it. For example, when writing 500 words, write random words, or write about how sick you feel. It’s not the individual action that counts, but the consistency.

Don’t reward the lazy brain
Your brain will try and put a few barriers in your way so it can go back to resting (easy way). This in itself can become a habit. Solution is to just push through and continue working anyway.