On Saturday, 16 May, I read Austin Kleon‘s book Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered. He wrote:
When I have the privilege of talking to my readers, the most common questions they ask me are about self-promotion. How do I get my stuff out there? How do I get noticed? How do I find an audience? How did you do it? I hate talking about self-promotion. Comedian Steve Martin famously dodges these questions with the advice, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” If you just focus on getting really good, Martin says, people will come to you. I happen to agree: You don’t really find an audience for your work; they find you. But it’s not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable. I think there’s an easy way of putting your work out there and making it discoverable while you’re focused on getting really good at what you do….
Become a documentarian of what you do. Start a work journal: Write your thoughts down in a notebook, or speak them into an audio recorder. Keep a scrapbook. Take a lot of photographs of your work at different stages in your process. Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you. Take advantage of all the cheap, easy tools at your disposal—these days, most of us carry a fully functional multimedia studio around in our smartphones. Whether you share it or not, documenting and recording your process as you go along has its own rewards: You’ll start to see the work you’re doing more clearly and feel like you’re making progress. And when you’re ready to share, you’ll have a surplus of material to choose from.
While the book is short and easily consumed in an hour or so, its wisdom takes longer to digest.
I decided to do an experiment of showing my work with a Daily Dispatch on Twitter. Before you see all of the Daily Dispatches, let me first tell you 4 few things I learned in the experiment.
1. I became more creative.
Each day, I would ask myself what the Daily Dispatch would be. Is something I did today worth sharing, and how can I discuss it in 140 characters? I even planned some days around being able to document something about my work and processes.
- I used my iPhone Voice Memo app and Evernote to create a voice recording that I could share on Twitter on 21 May.
- I downloaded Evernote’s Skitch app on my iPad (also available on Android) to quickly annotate the graphics I used on 15 and 16 June.
- I downloaded TechSmith’s Jing app to do a screen capture on 19 June. This app can also do screen casting.
- I signed up for a membership on Lynda.com on 24 June and have already taken some extremely helpful coursework in Adobe Premiere and Pro Tools. I could (and might do so in the future) write a post about the quality training courses available on this site. I’m excited to learn even more and cannot recommend this site too highly! If you want to sign up for a free 10-day trial, please use this link as I would get a referral fee.
3. I created graphics of some points to encourage discussions with other people.
Graphics in a Twitter feed are very eye-catching. I was gratified to receive several comments on my dispatches with graphics. The one that sparked the most discussion was posted on 26 June, followed closely by the one I posted on 3 June.
A side benefit of graphics is that I also posted them on Pinterest, which can cause more discoverability, discussion, and dissemination.
4. I felt a sense of pressure to honor my commitment to the dispatches.
I don’t work the same amount of time or do the same tasks each day. Like most people, I also like some time completely away from work. Since I had decided to send out a dispatch every day, I created some work for myself to decide on and deliver something useful each day.
I plan to continue to show my work on Twitter without the pressure of submitting something every day. Please join me in this journey and follow me on Twitter!
You can see all of the daily dispatches in this experiment at this link.
I’d love to hear any questions or comments you have about the Daily Dispatches, so please leave a note for me on the blog.