Stick Around

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Don’t Quit Your Show

We were put on the earth to put on a show, hopefully, a good one that benefits everyone around you.

You cannot count on success except leaving an opening of possibility for success to find you.

Keep going from one project to another. Pause and learn if you must but never stop such that you lose momentum.

Go Away So You Can Come Back

Sometimes you might burn out and needed a break.

If an extended sabbatical is not possible (such is the case for most of us), Kleon suggested taking “practical sabbatical” opportunities.

Leverage downtime opportunities such as commute, exercise, or a walk in the nature to disconnect electronically and recharge your brain.

Begin Again

Periodically jettison the materials you are already comfortable with and rethink some new stuff.

Better yet, tear down what you have not necessarily because what you have is trash.

Tear down or reinvent to inject new possibilities into your work.

Dedicate yourself to learning and show your work along the way.

Sell Out

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Even the Renaissance Had to be Funded

Art is not always free. Artists invest time and energy into their craft, so receiving financial compensation in exchange is only natural and logical.

As a fan, celebrate your favorite artists’ successes regardless.

Pass Around the Hat

Selling your art for money is not a sin – people do that all the time. It also does not cheapen the value of the art.

Selling your work does take a value-add mindset. Do not be discouraged if some people do not wish to pay.

Work on your art and make it so much better to a point where people would pay for it.

“Keep a Mailing List”

Consider this simple model:

Give away great stuff on the website. Collect people’s emails with their permission.

When you have something remarkable to share or sell, send an email.

“Make More Work for Yourself”

Do good work and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

Creativity is all about change—moving forward, taking chances, exploring new frontiers. Meanwhile, the real risk is in not changing.

Kleon said, “Be ambitious. Keep yourself busy. Think bigger. Expand your audience. If an opportunity comes along that will allow you to do more of the kind of work you want to do, say Yes. If an opportunity comes along that would mean more money, but less of the kind of work you want to do, say No.”

 “Pay it Forward.”

Within reason, create opportunities for others.

In the end, “You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done,” said Kleon.

Learn to Take a Punch

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Let ‘Em Take Their Best Shots

When you put your work and art out there, some people will criticize.

Some criticisms are motivated by trying to be helpful.

Some criticisms are motivated by trying to be hateful.

Criticism can feel hurtful, but no one dies directly from taking in criticism.

A professional separates herself from her work.

A professional never take any criticism of her work personally.

Don’t Feed the Trolls

Trolls exist, and they are everywhere.

While we want to be transparent with our work, there is no need to be so open that we allow trolls to trample all over us.

All of us have a troll who lives inside our heads. Be smart about taking feedback, so we do not add more trolls or distraction to our lives needlessly.

Don’t Turn Into Human Spam

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Shut Up and Listen

On the continuum of sharing, hoarder and spammer sit on the opposite ends of the spectrum. The real contributor is somewhere in the middle.

Before you can be a contributor where other people notice your work, you have to first notice another person’s work.

Great art is rarely done in a vacuum. Great art is usually a collaborative effort.

Another word, if you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to get, you have to give first.

You Want Hearts, not Eyeballs

Stop worrying about how many connections you have and start working on the quality of the connections.

Clout and quality connections are achieved only by being good at what you do.

Kleon said, “Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.”

The Vampire Test

How do you know what stuff you will enjoy doing and talking about?

Do things or put yourself in environments that increase your energy level.

Avoid things or environments that drain your energy.

Scott Adams also talked about the one-and-only “Energy Metric” that matters in his books, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.”

Identify Your Fellow Knuckle Ballers

Kleon said that the knuckleball pitchers are basically the ugly ducklings of baseball. Even though there are so few of them, they love to share their approaches and secrets with fellow knuckleball pitchers.

As we put our work and ourselves out there, seek out our own “fellow knuckleballers.” These are our real peers – the people who share our obsessions, similar missions, and a mutual respect.

Keep them as close as we can.

Meet up in Meatspace

As social species, the online social network is OK but there is no substitute for making connections face-to-face.

Teach What You Know

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Share Your Trade Secrets

Unlike physical goods, ideas can be shared with more than one person at a time.

Many people are afraid to share ideas perhaps because they are afraid to lose the value the idea may carry.

While some ideas are like their physical counterpart, they can get used up or depleted. I assert the good or great ideas can be much more durable.

Just because a good idea is out there, it does not mean everyone will be able to capitalize it and reap the same benefits.

People approach executing an idea differently. Time and effort separate us the amateurs from the masters.

Great ideas also are usually uncomplicated to understand but it can take a long time to master or reach its full potential.

Teaching feed into further learning, and learning can lead to more sharing via teaching.

In the end, teaching and learning together form a virtuous cycle.

Tell Good Stories

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Work Doesn’t Speak for Itself

But the stories about the work do.

The stories about the work affect how people feel and understand about your work.

The feelings and understanding affect how people value your work.

Become a better story-teller is a must-have skill for pros who want to produce work that matters.

Structure is Everything

Our lives may be messy and unorganized, but the stories we should not be.

The most important part of a story is its structure.

Steven Pressfield talks about this structure of beginning-middle-end in his book “Do the Work.”

Story-telling is a hard skill to master and can take a lifetime to do.

Just like many things, the stories get better the more we talk about them.

Talk About Yourself at Parties

The stories about your work are non-fiction, so tell the truth and with dignity and self-respect.

You do have to make your case because no one else will.

There is no need to hijack your audience, either. Tell stories with a sense of empathy for your audience.

Your stories might not be for everyone, and that is OK.

Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Don’t be a Hoarder

The things we like to experience, collect, and learn about might not be all that different from what we can create.

It is OK to use our taste as the guide for our creation. Absorbing and creating can feed off each other and form a virtuous cycle.

Our taste and influence are worth sharing because they tell the world who we are about.

No Guilty Pleasure

Kleon said that “dumpster diving” is one of the jobs of the artist.

Many sources of inspiration came from artists who are willing to pay attention to the stuff others had discarded.

The world is full of hidden gems. Sometimes all it takes is the willingness to search for those treasures in places other people are not willing or able to go.

Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with those who appreciate what you appreciate.

Credit is Always Due

Share other’s work with care and respect. Crediting other’s work is the right thing to do.

In fact, when it comes to sharing other people’s work, proper attribution is not just nice-to-have.

Crediting is a must-do.

Share Something Small Every Day

In the follow-on book, Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered, Austin Kleon talks about the art-stealing process in reverse. Doing the giving rather than stealing. Here are my reflections on the topic in the book.

Send out a daily dispatch

Overnight, lightning-bolt or big-bang success is a myth.

Behind every success, there is usually tons of small piece of work that accumulate into something significant.

Get into a habit of regularly putting your work out on display but don’t overdo it. Strike a balance between sharing the work and doing the work.

The “So What” Test

Sure, share your stuff, but be selective about showing what you got.

Share useful or interesting work. Skip the triviality. If you are not sure, save it for later.

Turn Your Flow into Stock

Focus on building assets and achievements drip-by-drip or piece-by-piece.

It is more important to show on-going, well-orchestrated progression than a one-time flash of brilliance.

At the same time, pay attention to the common thread that might exist between some of these pieces.

Some pieces of your work just might become naturally synergetic with some other parts. You can then combine them into something even more useful or interesting.

Build a Good (Domain) Name

Find a build a right spot with your name on it.

It is your space for doing self-teaching, self-learning, or just self-invention and reinvention.

Keep it clean and don’t make compromises or selling out.