Show Your Work


This weekend was spent cleaning my office.

I’m very lucky to have the home office that I do. It is bigger than most executive corners in the tallest of skyscrapers. There is a big leather couch, reading chair, television, Xbox and a desk where I’m writing this now.

There is also the constant build up of clutter, things that arrive in the mail and gear. Lots and lots of gear.

Who would have known that buying a new bookshelf would lead to such an upheaval in my little corner of the world. It did, but thankfully now that it is done it looks great.

Sunday afternoon I suddenly found myself with a sense of accomplishment and no desire to see a screen for a while so I grabbed Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon for a solid read.

I had scanned the book when I first bought it, but hadn’t actually sat down and read the entire thing from start to finish.

This isn’t a book that contains the secret plans to evolve you from a starving artist into a sellout. Rather, it is full of motivations and kicks in the ass that might shift you in the right direction if you need it.

As an author, I LOVED that at the end of it he practiced what he preached and showed some of the brainstorms for the book. We don’t get to look into the mind of a writer that often and I loved even just a few pages of it.

In the spirit of #ShowYourWork here is a photo of my office mid clean as I had piles of everything that I was going through.

Office Before

And here is the same view from my desk after I had finished cleaning it.

Office After

Definitely looks better now that it is cleaned and hopefully I can keep it looking this way for a while.

If you read Kleon’s previous book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative than you’ll like this one too. They both will keep permanent places on my bookshelf for when I need a reminder of that what I’m doing and why I’m doing it are the right things.

  • It must be a spring cleaning thing because I did the same thing last weekend…though I didn’t show my work. There’s something about sitting down and getting to work in a newly tidied office.

    • There is DEFINITELY a good feeling when you get it done and you get back to work.

      The funny thing is I took the photos and only shared them on Path, but then as I was writing this post I realized that I should really show my work so I included them. I usually wouldn’t have included such a blurry photo, but if I hadn’t it wouldn’t have kept in line with the themes of the book so I figured why not.

      I’m most excited because now many of the photography books I’ve bought over the years now have a home. That way I can pull one out when I need inspiration.

  • Heh. I just finished the book over the weekend as well. I haven’t actually told anyone yet, but I decided to launch a tumblr just for showing my work. So now is a thing. So far it contains a whopping one post that talks about finishing the book, natch.

  • I’m going to check both those books out from my library – they look really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • Great idea, but be sure you return them! 🙂

  • Thanks CC. I had the opportunity to hear Austin Kleon at SXSWi this year, and have the book ready to go. I was inspired by his openness and the idea of sharing the process. So often we (I) just present our work with ” ‘tada’ look what I made ” but see the value in sharing the process. Thanks for the post .x

    • I’m jealous you got to see that.

      I missed it when they live streamed it and I’m hoping that SXSW releases it in some format.

  • I am in a constant state of purge. I love the feeling of cleaning up/cleaning out. I take lots of donations to charitable organizations. I give things away. I recycle. My house, office and me are always in a state of rejuvenation and renewal. Nice office:) Cheers! Kaarina