Show my work?

For me, one of the oddities of producing a book is that getting it published and read causes at least as much anxiety as writing it does. As part of my continuing effort to figure out how to build a “platform,” I’ve started reading Show Your Work!, by Austin Kleon.

It’s short, so in one day I’ve read about 40 percent of it. That’s far enough to see that the title means that we should show our working selves – sharing aspects of our process in the hope of accruing not only followers but inspiration from others. Then, presumably, we’ll be able to ‘show our (finished) work’ to more people and with greater success.

Generally I like the gist of Kleon’s advice. One of my delights as an ethnographer was summarizing my research to the people whose lives I was trying to understand and hearing new complexities from them – likewise with professors and then colleagues. I’m not sure that I built much of a platform, but others’ ideas have strengthened my work.

Nonetheless, one of these days, I’ll write a caveat to this idea, based on my experience with writers’ groups. I might rewrite Kleon’s title as Show Your Work (but not to trolls).


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