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Book Love: Show Your Work!

Show your Work by Austin Kleon. Go read it!
I just finished reading Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered for the second time. I first read it when it came out last year. I thought it was great then, but it was even better reading it now when I am in the middle of launching Greens & Blues Co. In addition to providing great advice, Kleon delivers it in a no nonsense fashion that when accompanied by his awesome illustrations makes for a quick and entertaining read.

I could go through the book page by page and list off all of the great ideas he has, but I won’t -just read it. It’s great.

One of my favorite parts of the whole book is near the beginning (pg.9) when he introduces the idea of a scenius. Kleon credits musician Brian Eno with this idea. A scenius is basically a group of people who come together to collaborate and create  -while a genius is the individual, a scenius is the group. Each individual is made better by the collective group.

This really stuck with me.

Let’s back up and I’ll explain why.

Since launching Greens & Blues Co. in July, like most people who are just getting started, I have struggled with how to get people to my website or my social media accounts. I know that it takes time and consistency to grow readership, but still I have wondered if I could be doing more. I have read probably every article on possible on the subject.

One idea that I consistently came across is  that you need to participate in the conversation: by commenting on blogs, following people and commenting on Instagram, just doing anything you can to engage others.  Okay, that makes sense. So, I started following lots of people on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. I wasn’t really sure where to begin, so I looked at people who wrote blogs that I admired or had Instagram accounts I enjoyed. I looked at who they were following and started following many of the same people. My feeds were now full, however a few days later it became clear to me that I had a problem.

I didn’t care about any of the people I was following or what they were posting about. Therefore, I had nothing to add to the conversation.

I don’t mean this in a negative way, because the people I was following were posting photos to Instagram that were so amazing that I could only hope to one day possess the skills to take photographs that beautiful.  Or, they were providing content that was both interesting and inspiring. Just not interesting or inspiring to me.

My problem was that I joined someone else’s scenius – not my own.

So I spent some time brainstorming.  I reflected on the following:

  • What was the point of Greens & Blues Co?
  • What I was hoping to accomplish?
  • Who was my ideal audience?
  • Who did I consider my peers (or my competition)?

Before I could create my own scenius, I had to get to know myself and my brand a little better. So I unfollowed anybody I wasn’t generally interested in hearing from on a regular basis. Now, slowly, I am finding my people. I realize it is not something that will happen overnight. The more I put myself out there, the more opportunities to get to know other people I will have.

I challenge you to look through your blog reader and your social media accounts.  Is there anyone on there that  you never actually read? That you like the idea of more than you actually like the content? If so, unfollow. Unsubscribe. Trying answering the questions I posed above and start to find your scenius.

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