CCT+ the Plus Means Books E2: Show Your Work Chapters 4 -> 6

09 Apr 2021


YouTube live stream:

Podcast version:

Show Notes

Show Your Work can be purchased on Amazon (Affiliate link) or preferably through your local book store. It’s also available on Apple’s Books app.

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Live Notes/Almost script

Welcome to CCT+ the plus means books episode number 2! A bi-weekly live stream YouTube book club. I’m Maegan who is going to be walking through some important points in Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. This time, I’ll be going over chapters 4 through 6.

I’m still working on that intro, so please bear with me for the next couple times as I make it more smooth (as if that will ever happen).

A quick intro about me/this live stream. I’m Maegan and I use They/Them pronouns. I work product support by day for a lighting company and I develop apps, make YouTube videos, and twitch stream whenever else I can.

This live stream book club as I like to call it is really for people who can’t just sit down and read a whole book in a short amount of time but still want to discuss what’s been read. That’s the whole point of why I started this. I just have issues focusing and wanted to read more and discuss and think about it, so here we are.

In episode 1, I talked about chapters 1 → 3 and that was really about how to start sharing and what to share. The themes of 4 → 6 continue those same themes but also encourage sharing others, good stories, and how teaching can be useful.

Chapter 4: Open up your cabinet of curiosities

This chapter is about sharing what makes you you. What do I mean by that? Well what influences you? Who are you taking hints from? Who are you learning from? What are you experiencing that’s making your work unique? By sharing this, you are showing people who you.

Kleon quotes Ira Glass.

“There is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.”

While you’re starting and getting better, your influence or your taste is great and will help you move forward and help others know that you do know what you’re talking about.

Austin Kleon also says the job of an artist is “taking inspiration from the stuff that people have tossed aside for whatever reasons” and I think this also applies to developers looking for a side project. What can you make that other apps aren’t?

This is actually why I started iHog. Hog didn’t have a remote app, and the un-official ones didn’t do what I wanted, so v1 of iHog was literally the only feature I wanted. I then added in basic necessities to make it more valuable to users and for such a niche app it has about 50 sessions a month pre-pandemic (the industry that uses it is slowly starting to comeback more, so that’s going back up).

Before we keep analyzing what Kleon says, you should really consider buying the book for the images. They are so great. Alright. Now back to analyzing because these next words need to be taken to heart.

“DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THE PLEASURE YOU TAKE IN THINGS YOU ENJOY” - Enjoy the things you like. I guarantee another person likes the same things you do! Just cause one person doesn’t don’t let that influence you. Enjoying things and taking from the things you enjoy will make you feel better.

If you share something ALWAYS GIVE CREDIT! It’s the right thing to do and you want to make sure that other creators also get credit for the work they do. It helps everyone envolved. The reader/consumer, the person who made the thing your sharing, and yourself. You start to build a report with people that they can trust you as a source of information. It helps the person who made it since more people will go to their website or read more by them. It also helps the reader/consumer find more things that they like.

Now, let’s go to Chapter 5.

Chapter 5: Tell Good Stories

Work won’t speak for itself. People want to know stories behind the work. They want to know how it was made, who made it, and where it came from. (Very similar to why we always give credit) People want that human connection, so when you can give it to them do it! It allows people to create some kind of connection to your work

Structure is everything in a story. Study structure. Get good at story telling. More people will start looking at your work.

If you’re telling you’re life story there is no end, but there can still be a structure to it. Here’s what Kleon says the structure is:

  1. Where you’ve been
  2. Where are you now in your work and how you’ve worked hard and used your resources
  3. Where are you going and how are people helping you get there

You could even think of these as different acts in your story

Practice makes perfect and just keep doing. Which is the case for most things in life!

Now where do you tell these stories? In earlier chapters, Kleon mentions the internet, but don’t forget you can always talk about them in person also! Just be truthful about what you do and who you are.

This is probably one of the hardest things for me to do in person. I’m always like “oh yeah I kinda do this” and then move on, but the more people that know my story the more opportunities I might have!

Chapter 6: Teach What You Know

Y’all. Franklin’s Barbecue is pretty good. If you’re in Austin, then it’s slightly worth the weight. There are better places but it’s still good. The reason I bring this up is because Klein’s first example in Chapter 6 Teach What You Know is a YouTube series about Franklins and how they explain how to make the best BBQ.

Teaching what you know is actually a good way to generate interest in you. People will start googling a topic and find your posts, videos, how ever it is you teach, and then find your other work.

And teaching also gives you a better understanding. Teaching a topic to someone else helps solidify your knowledge. This is one of the main reasons I love making videos and blog posts. It makes me analyze and actually make sure I know exactly what I’m doing.

That’s all I have for chapters 4 → 6. Hopefully this brought you some value! If it did, let me know what your favorite part was! My favorite parts were the Ira Glass quote about starting off like crap but eventually you get better and while you’re getting better, then share people who are good so that you can strive for more and Chapter 6. Teach what you know. It’s a short chapter but it’s such a good one.

Make sure to like heart subscribe whatever. And I’ll catch you in two weeks with the rest of the book!