Show Your Work by Austin Kleon | Book summary, notes, lessons

Show Your Work isn't about self-promotion. It’s about documenting your process and sharing your work with others who might find it useful.

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In short

  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon reframes how we should judge the sharing of our craft online.
  • Put yourself out there. It’s not about self-promotion. It’s about documenting your process and sharing your work with others who might find it useful.

Best takeaways

  • It’s ok to be an amateur. Thinking like an amateur allows us to understand how it feels like to be a beginner.
  • It’s ok not to be a genius. It’s often better to contribute something instead.
  • It’s ok if the product is not perfect. The process is usually more interesting. Document what you do and how you do it behind the scenes.
  • It’s ok if it’s small, share it. Ask yourself, if what you’re about to share could potentially help someone out there. It doesn’t have to be grand, just helpful.
  • It’s ok to share other people’s work. Curate what you’re interested in and credit the creators.
  • It’s ok to talk about yourself. Tell good stories.
  • It’s ok to teach others and connect with them. You want hearts, not eyeballs.
  • It’s ok to take a punch. A bit of criticism is natural. Don’t be afraid of haters – they have no real power over you.
  • It’s ok to charge money, but don’t sell the work you love. Prioritize the craft.
  • It’s ok to stick around and take sabbaticals. You can change things up if you need to but don’t quit. Take breaks.
  • “Carving 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.” It’s completely satisfying to spend the majority of your time and creative energy into refining your craft.