Do the Work - Show Your Work

Yay! New reading material arrived today! Some people get excited about clothes or jewelry. Some spend their money on tech toys, collectibles or travel. Others drop big bucks on salon treatments or fine dining... but my heart belongs to books. I LOVE to read and even get a little panicky when I near the end of a book without having another one at the ready. More often than not, if I'm going somewhere, a book is going with me.

Anyway I didn't even realize it when I bought these two titles, Do the Work and Show Your Work, but once I had them laid out side by side on the kitchen table, I wondered how I could have NOT noticed what perfect companions they seem to be.

Books: Do the Work by Stephen Pressfield and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

After all, what good is a harboring a labor of love if you never talk about it or share it? Or worse, if you only talk about it and don't actually practice it. Truth be told, I've struggled with the doing (at least consistently) and the showing over the past couple years. When I first started shooting, it was no problem. I aimed my lens at everything and probably over-shared everything too.

In the last couple years however, I've become increasingly reserved about the work I do. I don't know how or why it started, but I second guess everything. I tinker and fiddle and hem and haw. Most of the time my images don't see the light of day. Not that I expect a couple (rather puny) books to cure that, but some new ideas couldn't hurt.

About a year ago I stumbled across The War of Art, and it was a major eye opener. The idea that a force I was entirely unaware of (which the author aptly names as Resistance) could be responsible for all my artistic woes AND that this bully wasn't mine alone... was a really big deal. I chewed on it for a long time. I read it again a few months ago. I will probably read it many more times in the future. It's one of those books that makes you want to highlight damn near every other line and add notes in the margin to boot.

It was probably the best and worst book I've ever read on creativity and/or productivity. Good because now I can put a name to the struggle and more clearly see my own patterns of behavior (and resistance). I also don't feel so crazy when I do still occasionally derail. Bad because it pretty much disarmed me of all the excuses I once relied on. :)

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
— Elbert Hubbard

Speaking of derailing... back to the new books. Do the Work picks up where The War of Art left off, and Show Your Work (I'm hoping) will be just as impactful. One of the reasons I started this freshly minted blog is to prod myself into the habit of shooting and sharing regularly. It's still a little uncomfortable at this point, but with time I can imagine it becoming almost therapeutic. There's something to be said about putting yourself out there and not hiding from (or worrying about) the rest of the world. 

Even in the face of rejection or negativity, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. We all have stories to tell, and this is my story for today. Now I better get to reading before resistance pops in to say I should play World of Warcraft instead. Sly dog.