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Austin Kleon’s “Show Your Work”: The Case for Doing Creative Work on a Public Stage

So many artists, creative types and entrepreneurs are so attached to the end product that they forget to involve the audience in creative work.

Don't be afraid to share your creative work

“Whenever Picasso learned how to do something, he abandoned it.” – Milton Glaser via Austin Kleon

I’ve got a nasty habit of stripping books of their context and making them into lists that I can use for quick reference. I’m going to start posting those lists for your viewing pleasure.

I think what I’ll do is post the full list as a blog post and include a downloadable PDF at the end of the post. That way, you can read it here with my intro and keep a bare bones version for yourself.

Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered is very much worth a read. It’s beautifully designed and just plain smart. In fact, I think you should own a hard copy and keep it on your desk for a regular dip into inspiration.

I’m going to use it as steroids for my creative process. It really helped me see how making and sharing work together to grow, inform, and expand work. And also how a more open book approach to creativity can be good for mindset.

Read it if you are interested in:

  • Recruiting more like-minded fans and collaborators
  • Helping people feel a deeper connection to your work
  • Taking yourself less seriously
  • Letting go of old work/ideas and making room for more
  • Getting paid for work you love

Seth Godin recently asked “What are you competing on?” With Show Your Work, you’re competing on openness and honesty and a more complete and self-aware process.

Which is probably not a bad thing.

And now, without further ado, here’s the Show Your Work checklist. (Click the link to download.)

For more Food for Free Thought ideas, tools and strategies for creative work, click here.

The featured engraving was made by Philip Galle in 1595 after a design by Johannes Stradanus (1523-1605). Although somewhat idealized, it illustrates the various activities that might occur in a master painter’s atelier at the end of the 16th century.