This blog post is probably the longest we have ever written. We happened to read this book called Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. The book essentially tells us 10 ways to share our work and get discovered as artists. Here are some notable quotes/ideas from the book that we thought are worth sharing.
1. We must share our work on a regular basis while focussing on getting excellent at what we do. This can save us our precious time 'networking' and instead, we can take advantage of the network. Making the process or our journey out in the open, we can later leverage the network for fellowship, feedback, or patronage. That way our work becomes a never-ending process.
At The Cocoknot Theori, we strive to show our work on a regular basis through this blog.
2. Creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration of minds - one mind connecting to other minds. This idea, called 'scenius', makes room for people who don't consider themselves to be geniuses. This could be achieved by asking what we can do for others instead of what others can do for us.
At The Cocoknot Theori, for our music we often tend to draw inspiration from totally, unrelated activities such as interacting with people, reading books, and travelling.
3. "That's all any of us are: amateurs. We don't live long enough to be anything else." - Charlie Chaplin.
"In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind, there are few." - Zen monk, Shunryu Suzuki
Life-long learning and continuous contribution is the key here. Learning in the open also helps other people to learn from our mistakes and successes. Sometimes, these amateurs, regular people who are obsessed with something and thinking loud about it, may have more to teach us than the experts.
"The fellow-pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten." - C. S. Lewis
Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke says that whenever he feels like his songwriting is getting too comfortable or stale, he will pick up a different instrument he doesn't know how to play and write with it. It's just about using whatever tools we have and putting the ideas out into the world. That's the essential trait of an artist. This sharing behaviour and committing to learn in front of others can bring us closer to people who love the same things as we do.
4. We must read obituaries often to avoid the trap of thinking we have something to lose. Steve Jobs has said it better than anyone else in his Stanford commencement speech.
5. "A lot of people are so used to just seeing the outcome of work. They never see the side of the work you go through to produce the outcome." - Michael Jackson.
By showing our work regularly and learning out in the open, we are taking people behind the scenes. Needless to say, the process is always messy.
6. "In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen - really seen." - Brene Brown
Documenting or journalling our work regularly through a blog helps connection with people who share similar interests as ours.
7. "A daily dispatch is even better than a resume or a portfolio because it shows what we're working on right now."
Always, have an answer to the question, "What are you working on?"
"One day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn't easy. It requires incredible support and fastidious structuring." - Russell Brand
8. Before sharing our work, it's always good to ask the following:
"Is this helpful?"
"Is this entertaining?"
"Is it something I'd be comfortable with my boss or my mother seeing?"
9. We will see a pattern arising out of our regular sharing of our work.
10. Building a website or a blog is so essential in this era. One blog post may be nothing but, publishing a thousand blog posts over a decade can be turned into our life's work."
We have landed a few gig opportunities just because we chose to share our work in our blog.
11. We must be very choosy in what we consume as it affects our creation process.
"You're only as good as your record collection." - DJ Spooky
12. Always attribute where necessary. If you have observed our blog posts, we always specify hyperlinks to attribute the sources for our ideas and works.
13. Knit stories around your work.
At The Cocoknot Theori, we ensure we write a blog post about stories behind every song/movie/gig that we are a part of.
14. Structuring is important to the stories we say.
The categories in our blog imparts a personality and a character to the work we do at The Cocoknot Theori.
15. "Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful." - George Orwell
16. By sharing our work, we are becoming teachers.
17. We share our work not just to gather fans or followers but, also to look for potential collaborators.
18. The point is to win hearts and not just eyeballs.
19. "Follow me back?" is the saddest question on the internet.
20. "Don't feed the trolls.". Probably the wisest statement we have heard in a while. Many bloggers turn off comments at some point or so, they say.
21. Sticking around for a long time can help us get what we want.
"Work is never finished, only abandoned." - Paul Valery
"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story." - Actor Orson Welles
22. "A successful or failed project is no guarantee of another success or failure. Whether you've just won big or lost big, you still have to face the question, "What's next?"
Persevere regardless of success or failure.
23. "The minute you stop wanting something you get it." - Andy Warhol
Sometimes, it's best to go away for a while so that we can come back later.
We, at The Cocoknot Theori, have been asked several times by our close friends, and followers as to why haven't released any songs lately. Our answer is 1. Things will be done according to the plan as we have mentioned in this blog post. 2. Taking practical sabbaticals help us in coming up with better and new ideas that are more effective.
24. "Whenever Picasso learned how to do something, he abandoned it." - Milton Glaser
The point is once we have figured out something and became good enough, it's time to move on to the next thing.
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