We’re all terrified of being revealed as amateurs, but in fact, today it is the amateur who has the advantage over the professional.
Because they have little to lose, amateurs are willing to try anything and share the results.
The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs.
“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind, there are few.”
Amateurs might lack formal training, but they’re all lifelong learners, and they make a point of learning in the open, so that others can learn from their failures and successes.
We all have the opportunity to use our voices, to have our say, but so many of us are wasting it. If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.”
"Every day is an extra day"
— Writer of Star Wars
Obituaries aren’t really about death; they’re about life. Reading about people who are dead now and did things with their lives makes us want to get up and do something decent. Thinking about death every morning makes us want to live.
Audiences not only want to stumble across great work, but they, too, long to be creative and part of the creative process. By letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work, which helps us move more of our product.
“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen— really seen.”
Whatever the nature of your work, there is an art to what you do, and there are people who would be interested in that art, if only you presented it to them in the right way. In fact, sharing your process might actually be most valuable.
No one is going to give a damn about your résumé; they want to see what you have made with your own little fingers.
Take a lot of photographs of your work at different stages in your process. Shoot video of you working. This isn’t about making art, it’s about simply keeping track of what’s going on around you. You’ll start to see the work you’re doing more clearly and feel like you’re making progress.
Put yourself, and your work, out there every day, and you’ll start meeting some amazing people.
Forget about decades, forget about years, and forget about months. Focus on days.
A daily dispatch is even better than a résumé or a portfolio, because it shows what we’re working on right now.
The trouble is, we don’t always know what’s good and what sucks. That’s why it’s important to get things in front of others and see how they react.
Anything you post to the Internet has now become public. Share imperfect and unfinished work that you want feedback on, but don’t share absolutely everything.
“Is this helpful? Is it entertaining? Is it something I’d be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?”
Small things, over time, can get big.
Your stock is best made by collecting, organizing, and expanding upon your flow.
When you share your taste and your influences, have the guts to own all of it. Don’t give in to the pressure to self- edit too much.
Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them. The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel.
A good story structure is tidy, sturdy, and logical.
Whether you’re telling a finished or unfinished story, always keep your audience in mind. Speak to them directly in plain language. Value their time. Be brief.
Think about what you can share from your process that would inform the people you’re trying to reach.
The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others.
If you’re only pointing to your own stuff online, you’re doing it wrong. You have to be a connector.
Be thoughtful. Be considerate. Don’t turn into human spam. Be an open node.
Don’t waste your time reading articles about how to get more followers. Don’t talk about stuff you don’t want to talk about.
If you want followers, be someone worth following.
Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.
They’re so, so important. Do what you can to nurture your relationships with these people. Invite them to collaborate. Show them work before you show anybody else. Keep them as close as you can.
The trick is not caring what EVERYBODY thinks of you and just caring about what the RIGHT people think of you.
A troll is a person who isn’t interested in improving your work, only provoking you with hateful, aggressive, or upsetting talk. You will gain nothing by engaging with these people. Don’t feed them, and they’ll usually go away.
Don’t be afraid to charge for your work, but put a price on it that you think is fair.
The people who get what they’re after are very often the ones who just stick around long enough.
Every career is full of ups and downs
Instead of taking a break in between projects, waiting for feedback, and worrying about what’s next, use the end of one project to light up the next one. Just do the work that’s in front of you, and when it’s finished, ask yourself what you missed, what you could’ve done better, or what you couldn’t get to, and jump right into the next project.
When you get rid of old material, you push yourself further and come up with something better. When you throw out old work, what you’re really doing is making room for new work.
Have the courage to get rid of work and rethink things completely. Don’t think of it as starting over. Think of it as beginning again.
Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough
Everybody loves a good story, but good storytelling doesn’t come easy to everybody. It’s a skill that takes a lifetime to master.
Your stories will get better the more you tell them.
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