Austin Kleon’s books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Workare like snack food for the creative mind. Once you start reading, it’s impossible to stop.
This week I read Show Your Work in one sitting, and it gave me several new ideas to act on, and offered up a bunch more that are still simmering on the back burner. No matter what your line of work, if you want to have impact it’s critical that you understand how to get your ideas out into the wide world.
Here are three especially poignant ideas I took from the book:
1. Small Things Add Up To Big Things
I know it sounds obvious, but we often forget this simple principle and become overwhelmed by all that’s left to do. The reality is that no one launches a business, writes a book, or changes a company culture. All of these things are the result of a lot of little choices to start anew every day. Small acts add up to big results.
What small thing can you do every day that will accumulate over time into big results for you, your work, and your business?
2. There’s a Big Difference Between Attention and Impact
It’s easy to become convinced that scale equals success, but it all depends on what you’re scaling. In the end, you want to measure impact not just exposure. Is what you’re doing helping you accomplish the outcome you’re committed to, or is it just attracting eyeballs?
What key activity can you focus on this week that will help you achieve greater levels of intimacy with the audience you serve?
3. No One Is Going To Be As Excited About Your Work As You
The idea that doing great work will always spread, and that cream always rises to the top is false. Sure, doing remarkable work is important, but it’s just the starting point. If you believe in it, you must be willing to share it with the world.
What small thing can you do each day to help spread the world about your important work?
All in all, I found Austin’s new book to be enjoyable and provocative in all the right ways. If you struggle with getting your work in front of people, I’d recommend picking up a copy.
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Last modified: December 3, 2022
Austin’s books are great. One of my good friends bought me a copy of this book a few weeks back and I agree, it is like snack food for the creative mind.
One of my key takeaways from the book is to show a small bit of your work everyday, even your bigger projects that are in process. I recently launched my first ebook and I really wish I had released more of the content as I was writing it in the form of blog posts so I could get feedback along the way.
Love that point too, Jake. I’ve been sharing more of my current book-writing process, and I plan to do even more of it over the coming months.
That is great Todd. Let me know if you ever need anyone to read over any works in progress, I will always be happy to proofread and give feedback.
“Small acts add up to big results.” Good reminder. I enjoyed Steal Like an Artist and look forward to reading this book as well.
PS – I have greatly enjoyed reading Accidental Creative and Die Empty. Thank you for all you do.
I can’t wait to buy this book! All three points hit home for me, especially the third. I recently completed a project that I worked excitedly on and couldn’t wait to finish and share. I created a web site and published it only to realize that no one was as excited as I was. I have since begun to take action to actively share it.
Agreed, Deborah. There’s a bit of a myth in the air that great work always gets noticed, or that because there’s infinite “shelf space” everyone is on an even playing field. It really means that there’s more noise to sift through to find the good stuff. If you believe in what you’re doing, you have to be willing to talk about it broadly.