Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Loved this book about sharing your work and consistently putting things out there. Inspired me to create this site.

My Notes

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

You don’t really find an audience for your work; they find you.

Instead of wasting their time “networking,” they’re taking advantage of the network.

virtual scenes where people go to hang out and talk about the things they care about.

“The stupidest possible creative act is still a creative act,”

the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.

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.

start taking note of what they’re not sharing. Be on the lookout for voids that you can fill with your own efforts, no matter how bad they are at first.

Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.

if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.

If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.” —Steve Jobs

But human beings are interested in other human beings and what other human beings do. “People really do want to see how the sausage gets made.”

in their book on entrepreneurship, It Will Be Exhilarating. “By putting things out there, consistently, you can form a relationship with your customers.

By letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work, which helps us move more of our product.

“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen—really seen.” —Brené Brown

How can you show your work even when you have nothing to show?

The first step is to scoop up the scraps and the residue of your process and shape them into some interesting bit of media that you can share.

“No one is going to give a damn about your résumé; they want to see what you have made with your own little fingers.”

“Put yourself, and your work, out there every day, and you’ll start meeting some amazing people.” —Bobby Solomon

The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around.

Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share.

If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you.

“When I ask them to show me work, they show me things from school, or from another job, but I’m more interested in what they did last weekend.”

The form of what you share doesn’t matter.

Your daily dispatch can be anything you want—a blog post, an email, a tweet, a YouTube video, or some other little bit of media.

I like the tagline at dribbble.com: “What are you working on?” Stick to that question and you’ll be good.

Don’t show your lunch or your latte; show your work.

The trouble is, we don’t always know what’s good and what sucks. That’s why it’s important to get things in front of others and see how they react.

“How do you find the time for all this?” And I answer, “I look for it.”

“One day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn’t easy: It requires incredible support and fastidious structuring.” —Russell Brand

“Make no mistake: This is not your diary. You are not letting it all hang out. You are picking and choosing every single word.” —Dani Shapiro

Ideally, you want the work you post online to be copied and spread to every corner of the Internet, so don’t post things online that you’re not ready for everyone in the world to see.

“SO WHAT?” She threw the piece of chalk down and said, “Ask yourself that every time you turn in a piece of writing.” It’s a lesson I never forgot.

If you’re unsure about whether to share something, let it sit for 24 hours.

Ask yourself, “Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?”

“If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.” —Kenneth Goldsmith

“Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people you exist.

Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today.

the magic formula is to maintain your flow while working on your stock in the background.

For example, a lot of the ideas in this book started out as tweets, which then became blog posts, which then became book chapters.

“Carving out a space for yourself online, somewhere where you can express yourself and share your work, is still one of the best possible investments you can make with your time.” —Andy Baio

If you’re really interested in sharing your work and expressing yourself, nothing beats owning your own space online, a place that you control, a place that no one can take away from you, a world headquarters where people can always find you.

Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine.

Be concerned with doing good work . . . and if you can build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.”

Ira Glass. “But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.”

Before we’re ready to take the leap of sharing our own work with the world, we can share our tastes in the work of others.

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you f—ing like something, like it.” —Dave Grohl

When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it.

Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things, too.

“Do what you do best and link to the rest.” —Jeff Jarvis

“When shown an object, or given a food, or shown a face, people’s assessment of it—how much they like it, how valuable it is—is deeply affected by what you tell them about it.”

Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them.

The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work, and how people feel and what they understand about your work effects how they value it.

The most important part of a story is its structure.

“Once upon a time, there was _____. Every day, _____. One day, _____. Because of that, _____. Because of that, _____. Until finally, _____.”

Author John Gardner said the basic plot of nearly all stories is this: “A character wants something, goes after it despite opposition (perhaps including his own doubts), and so arrives at a win, lose, or draw.”

like Gardner’s plot formula because it’s also the shape of most creative work: You get a great idea, you go through the hard work of executing the idea, and then you release the idea out into the world, coming to a win, lose, or draw. Sometimes the idea succeeds, sometimes it fails, and more often than not, it does nothing at all.

This simple formula can be applied to almost any type of work project: There’s the initial problem, the work done to solve the problem, and the solution.

Speak to them directly in plain language. Value their time. Be brief. Learn to speak. Learn to write.

“The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.” —Annie Dillard

Think about what you can share from your process that would inform the people you’re trying to reach. Have you learned a craft? What are your techniques? Are you skilled at using certain tools and materials? What kind of knowledge comes along with your job?

The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others.

Share your reading list. Point to helpful reference materials.

As blogger Kathy Sierra says, “Make people better at something they want to be better at.”

“When people realize they’re being listened to, they tell you things.” —Richard Ford

“What you want is to follow and be followed by human beings who care about issues you care about. This thing we make together. This thing is about hearts and minds, not eyeballs.” —Jeffrey Zeldman

“Connections don’t mean shit,” says record producer Steve Albini.

Albini laments how many people waste time and energy trying to make connections instead of getting good at what they do, when “being good at things is the only thing that earns you clout or connections.”

“Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.” —Derek Sivers

The Vampire Test. It’s a simple way to know who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is not a vampire.

You can’t control what sort of criticism you receive, but you can control how you react to it.

Paul McCartney has said that he and John Lennon used to sit down before a Beatles songwriting session and say, “Now, let’s write a swimming pool.”

you should always be collecting email addresses from people who come across your work and want to stay in touch.

often the most boring and utilitarian technologies are the ones that stick around the longest.

The model is very simple: They give away great stuff on their sites, they collect emails, and then when they have something remarkable to share or sell, they send an email.

You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.