Whether it’s fear of being criticized or thinking that selling your creations is evil, Show Your Work discusses why overcoming the aversion to share your creative work is so important.
Austin writes that one of the main reasons why you should share your work is so that you can be discovered.
He also says that all the people he looks up to share regularly as part of their routine:
“By generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge, they often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it — for fellowship, feedback, or patronage.”
Sharing creates a form of positive social currency. People don’t connect well with products. People connect well with you.
By involving people in your process, you become more approachable. You give people an opportunity to see what you made while you’re making it, creating a sense of, ‘we’re in this together’.
It’s this sense that turns a visitor into a subscriber into a fan.
But this is not the only reason you should share your work with others. I ran into one of Austin’s tweets the other day that quoted Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s view on the importance of sharing your work as you go:
“Artists frequently hide the steps that lead to their masterpieces. They want their work and their career to be shrouded in the mystery that it all came out at once. It’s called hiding the brushstrokes, and those who do it are doing a disservice to people who admire their work and seek to emulate them.
If you don’t get to see the notes, the rewrites, and the steps, it’s easy to look at a finished product and be under the illusion that it just came pouring out of someone’s head like that. People who are young, or still struggling, can get easily discouraged, because they can’t do it like they thought it was done.
An artwork is a finished product, and it should be, but I always swore to myself that I would not hide my brushstrokes.”
And while we hope sharing our process will help get this book discovered, we also want to share our process because we know that by doing so, we may help someone else who wants to create a book or stake on some other big project.
We know there’s lots of stuff we’re going to have to do that we have no idea how to do. But we’re going to have to figure it out.
We’re going to be inspired by things that will shape the book. We’re going to run into problems. We’re not going to know exactly what the hell we’re doing most of the time. And if we make the time to document what we’re going through and share it with you, maybe it will be helpful.
Maybe there’s some mistake we make you can learn from or something we do that inspires you so you can apply it to something you’re working on.
Apart from sharing things publicly so you can be discovered, sharing things in public helps inspire others.
By sharing, we can help accelerate progress.
If you’re interested in what we’re doing but we didn’t share our process with you, we’d be selling you short.
We owe it to you to include you.
So here’s our brushstrokes.
P.S We’re a few weeks away from launching the Kickstarter campaign for the Unsplash Book. You can read all about what we’ve learned during the process of making the book, help us pick photos, design styles, and materials, and stay updated on the progress on the book page.