I finished reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon on Wednesday. I’m not going to delve into it too much other than to recommend it as a good collection of practical advice in a fairly quick read. I chewed through it pretty quickly in two days of short reading bursts here and there.
As it’s a bit lighter. I think there are a lot of places where ideas could have been expanded or their reach broadened. There’s a heavy emphasis on sharing your work to build interest. As the work builds incrementally, so too does the audience. The unattended point here is that sharing keeps the creator involved as well.
You can’t share your work while being totally inside of it. There’s a point of inspection, a point of viewing your work from the outside and repackaging it. It’s certainly possible to dispassionately default into shilling your work, but if you aspire to anything beyond that you can’t help but be involved. It requires stepping back from your work and asking what is interesting or flawed about it. It requires caring about the work in a way that steadfast forward motion does not.
While I don’t share it, I tend to keep journals on everything I’m working on. It’s an active engagement in the process instead of the work itself. It affords me space to play with ideas and a place to reflect. Being able to read through that journal after a month or a year always leads to new ideas and the resurrection of things I’d completely forgotten about. If don’t care about the project it’s obvious in the journals I keep.
Being excited to share a project is a good sign toward its value.