I finally managed to finish the books I posted about a little while back!
I actually finished Show Your Work pretty quickly but I wanted to wait and write about both at the same time.
Show Your Work* is a super short book, but it’s got some good helpful tips in it. The book is a companion to Steal Like an Artist*, which I read a couple months ago and really enjoyed. I must say I liked that one a little more, as it was designed to help spark creativity and show you how to draw inspiration and effectively “steal” ideas from other great artists and writers. The followup is more of a practical implementation guide for marketing yourself once you’ve managed to create something. Some of the advice is fairly obvious, but some of it was pretty interesting.
I noted a few things that I’d like to use for myself. I like his suggestion of creating a newsletter to gather your core audience in one place and be able to directly keep them updated on everything you’re working on & share cool stuff with them. I might give that a shot some time, once I actually HAVE an audience of course. The author of the book has his own newsletter where he curates some of his favorite links and photos and quotes each week. I’ve been receiving it for a while and it’s one of my fave emails to get.
(Special shout out to Femsplain who put out a pretty rad newsletter that I also love!)
Another tip in the book is to let people in on your creative process. This is probably aimed more at artists who are actually making tangible pieces of art or people who are spending months or years writing a book. He suggests that giving people a behind the scenes look of what you’re making and showing little previews and demonstrating your process makes people more interested in seeing the finished product.
I hadn’t thought of it before, but it does make sense actually. For someone like me, I guess my earlier post about writing in a notebook would be the closest thing to showing my "process". I write a lot of short articles and blog posts that take me anywhere from a few minutes to a a couple of days to finish. My process is mostly me sitting at my computer typing furiously.
But I like the concept of sharing from behind the scenes. Maybe I’ll find some ways to implement that a little more. I guess if anyone wants to ask me some questions about my creative process or daily routine or whatever, go ahead and leave it in the comments below or shoot me an email. If I get a lot of questions I’ll compile them into a Q&A post perhaps.
Ok so that was the first book. The second one was quite a bit longer! I wrote some preliminary thoughts on #Girlboss* last week while I was still reading it. I do a semi-regular feature for Void called “Read a F***ing Book” where I just write a quick summary and some thoughts about whatever book I’m reading at the moment and tell people to read it too.
The things I read online about Sophia Amoruso made me a little iffy about reading her book. She comes off as kind of a terrible person, and while she is undoubtedly a very successful and powerful woman, it feels kind of weird taking life advice from someone whom a lot of people clearly don’t like.
Her story is interesting though. I am a fan of memoirs and I love reading about other people’s dysfunctional lives. Her story is part memoir, part business advice, part self-help. Not everything she says is fantastically helpful, but her transformation from a lost, unemployed, anarchist dropout to CEO of a multi-million dollar company is inspiring and a testament to the power of working really hard. She pretty much did everything on her own from the beginning until she had the resources to bring in other people to assist. It’s incredible what one very determined person can do alone, and it is a good reminder for anyone trying to make it in the world that you have to keep pushing yourself and you are the only person that controls your life path.
Next on my reading list is probably This is How by Augusten Burroughs* who is my absolute favorite writer and probably my top pick for a living person I'd want to have coffee with. I bought it a little while ago at a used book sale and haven't gotten around to reading it yet. It's presented as a self-help book but in his signature darkly humorous style. I don't normally read any kind of inspirational self-help manuals but I guess it's a bit of a continuation of my pattern with the last few books I've read. A little bit of self-help mixed with something a little different. Should be interesting.
I also recently pre-ordered his newest book* on Amazon (because I have to own all of his books in physical form) and it's supposed to be here around the 29th of this month. I can't wait!
AND, I was intrigued by the trailer for the upcoming Tina Fey movie Whiskey Tango Foxtrot so i looked it up to read some more and discovered that it's based on a memoir by a real badass female journalist named Kim Barker so of course I had to track that down! I always gotta read the book first! I'm on the waiting list for it at the library so it'll be a while before I get my hands on it, but it's called The Taliban Shuffle* if you're interested in checking it out.
*Indicates Amazon affiliate links