Ever wonder how TikToks can, as is the case with XXL Scrunchie & Co, one of my new favourites, exponentially grow their business? How can social media sell out an entire line of products in a few hours, less in the case of those with larger platforms? So what is it about these creators and businesses that makes them so relatable to their audiences? According to Austin Kleon, large audience haver himself, it’s about showing your show.
In his series of books, he goes over topics close to the creator’s heart, how to keep going, generate and produce as a creative and share your talents in a natural, authentic way. I bought the books after not one but three YouTube creators I watched referenced them in how they developed their content style and audiences. It’s simple: when you get down to it, you show your work.
I had to know more, so I bought all three books and waited patiently for them to arrive.
Two of the three were in reprint at the time, and I waited a couple of months to receive them. That should tell you something about their popularity. And so, with them finally in my hot little hands, I read them in a solid evening – all three of them. To say they are an easy read is overstating it. I breezed through them, gently folding the tiniest corners of the pages I wanted to return to.
I’ve been a creator on the internet for over a decade. These books shone a light on the habits and practices I got into as a new blogger that served me in the development of my community. I could see ways I built an audience without even considering it a strategy. Things that, while we may come to them instinctively, we may forget along the way.
Things like the entire premise of one of the books, Show Your Work.
Showing your work, or even stealing like an artist, is about documenting and taking joy in the process of creating. Taking that exploration and the discoveries you are making and share them for the world to see. It could be on a blog or YouTube channel, and it might be an Instagram account or a Twitter stream. It’s about sharing and showing the process to engage others who might share your interest or learn to do so.
And no, it’s not just about manipulating the behind-the-scenes content that some businesses put forward; it’s about discovery. The curated BTS content we see nowadays is almost as hard to swallow as the perfectly placed words of an influencer reading from a how-to succeed playbook. There is a reason we, the audience, love when you share your ups AND the downs, the wins AND the losses. We want to be part of it.
You’ve grabbed our interest, and we are coming for the ride with you.
That, my friends, is showing your work. And if you feel like you’re stuck in a rut at the moment, these three little books could be just what you’re looking for. The first book to arrive, the only one not out of print, was Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad. As you know, the last few years that has been my struggle. I was trying to find a spark, keep it burning, and make stuff that I’m proud of and love. This book pushed me to make crappy stuff, try new things, and journal even when it was more complaining than big thoughts.
In many ways, I owe these books for the feeling of renewal I’ve felt as a creator lately. I go back to them and remind myself when I struggle or forget. And I think if you are running a business, a blog or a personal brand, they’ll do the same for you. Something about the happiness and love of creating comes through these books that energise you and will make you smile to yourself as you read. I think there’s a lot to be said for doing things to power you up, and these little books are great at that. It might just be time to reread them.
Available via Booktopia (affiliate links) below, or feel free to support your local bookseller because we love local booksellers around here.
Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad
Have you read any of the Austin Kleon books? Which would you say is your favourite, and do you find yourself recommending them to friends without even thinking about it?
Hi! I’m Melissa Walker Horn. Around here, they call me Suger. I’m the Chief Blogger and doer of all the things here at Suger Coat It. Blogging since 1901; I love a casual ootd, taking photos, and writing about things that irk or inspire me. I love wine and cheese, long days at the beach and spending time with my family. I make stuff for the internet over at Chalkboard Digital. You know, living the sweet life.