Austin Kleon has two great books you should pick up:
- Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative and
- Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered
These are empowering books for writers and educators alike. They are so beautiful, though, you'll want to buy the print version. I particularly love Show Your Work! for two reasons:
- Kleon shows that sharing your work should be part of what you do every single day.
- Many of us are paralyzed by perfectionism. We don't want to “show” our work because our work isn't perfect.
Kleon convincingly shows how showing your work is part of a journey to better work. By sharing and showing, you get feedback. By getting feedback, you get better. When you get better and share more, you get more feedback. Thus, showing your work and learning from others as you do is the path to awesome. He puts into words what many of us who blog and share feel about our own journey. As I blog, I believe I learn far more than I share. The more I share, the more I learn. Crazy, isn't it? Not convinced — buy the book.
Be an Excellentist not a Perfectionist
Since reading his book I”ve committed to shun my desire to be perfect. I am now a self-proclaimed excellentist not a perfectionist.
Perfect is a lie. Excellence holds true. Perfection implies everyone has to love you. Perfectionism — for us mere humans — is unattainable.
Excellence is a commitment to do your best and to achieve a high standard of excellence in your field. I aspire to be that.
Perfectionism is a problem that keeps us from being creative. It can limit your life and your ability to thrive. Excellentism is a much more worthy habit as long as it is something worthy of being excellent in. I am happy to satisfice and pick any old pen to write with, however, I want posts on this blog to be excellent.
Shun the Vampires
He also talks about shunning the vampires in your life — those people who suck all the creativity and joy out of you. He uses the example of how sculptor Constantin Brancusi wouldn't tolerate the life-sucking habits of Pablo Picasso. Before the years of Facebook, he “defriended” Picasso. Quite literally in real life.
Sometimes the teacher's lounge is a hangout for vampires. If so, don't go there. Run away!
Great Graphics and a Simple Read
The other thing I love about both of Austin Kleon's book is the graphic appeal of it. He uses graphics, text, and even poetry in ways that are appealing. I have both of his books on my coffee table and read them when I need to be inspired to keep going and sharing.
Who Will Like This Book?
- Teachers and educators who advocate helping students publish their work.
- People who want to use social media but don't get the point of why they should share.
- Perfectionists and creatives of all kinds will love these books.
My favorite of the two is Show Your Work! but that is kind of like saying whether I like chocolate ice cream or Moose Tracks — both are pretty doggone good.