Share your work!

I have recently been re-reading Austin Kleon’s books Show your work and Steal like an Artist, as well as reading the notes that came with Susannah Conway’s Blogging from the Heart course that I did. I have been doing this with my soulbook taking notes. Which means I am processing the information in a different way, not only taking notes as I would if I were studying, but taking notes about how it relates to me and what I am doing.

Both of them encourage to share more. Austin is an advocate of sharing some of your work each day, now I am not quite sure how I can do that as a writer, except show where I find things and I am going to start to do that every fortnight or so, but showing my creative work? My visual journalling, my starting to beginning to paint and draw with Sketchbook Skool? EEK, that is truly scary.

Art supplies, ready to go!
Art supplies, ready to go!

I showed one piece on my Dreaming on Paper post and that felt like it took every piece of courage that I had. To do that on a daily basis? Ouch, I don’t know as if I can! Crystal Moody shows a painting that she does everyday, last year she did a drawing a day and she talks about how she is going for quantity over quality, that her young daughter produces lots of work each day and there are often quite good things. But I am a self taught (and online) taught artist, in fact the thought of using the word ‘artist’ to describe myself makes me deeply uncomfortable. It is only a couple of years that I have been thinking of myself as creative and a writer.

I have just got up the courage to start using Flickr to post my photos, but that is not daily, but weekly or so. That is a big step for me. So I have started to post a photo a day on Instagram. But Austin talks about focusing on the process, not the outcome, so I guess I can do that. Interestingly in the last four books like this I have read they have all focused on process, rather than the outcome. I find that a helpful way to think.

Austin says

Think about what you want to learn and then make a commitment to learning in front of others

I will write a post about how I am doing that with music, and I guess I have been in writing public for years – both blogging (I had another before this) and in PR I had a number of article published under client’s names. But visual work? I think I am going to keep that hidden for a little while longer until I am more comfortable.

Susannah advocates a more heart centred approach to writing and hopefully since I did her course you have seen the change in my writing style, I am certainly much more open about my life and the processes of it, especially of living with a chronic illness. And as I develop my visual art skills I will hopefully develop the courage and confidence to share those with you..

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  1. I’m so pleased to hear about your positive experiences with your band and also so sorry to hear about your negative experiences with graded exams, scales and practice in the past. As a teacher (piano), I try very hard to show my pupils how to practice most effectively. to gain their insight into how pieces could be better, what help they need to make them easier to play and present them with pieces which are fun, meaningful and enable them to gain a sense of achievement no matter their age, stage of accomplishment or musical ability. We also practice relaxation techniques prior to exams, how to talk to the examiner and do mock exams so that hopefully they don’t freeze too much when confronted with the real thing. If they do fail, then we use the comments as positive learning exercises and try and put the whole experience into context of the bigger picture of life as a whole. I’m teaching two adults at the moment, one is doing Grade 8 because she loves the challenge of learning new styles of music outside her comfort zone and the other is a complete beginner but has longed to play since she was five years old. (She had her first grandchild last year!) As with everything, they teach me as much as I teach them. Good luck with all your forthcoming concerts and I hope you have a thoroughly enjoyable time.

  2. I don’t know that it is my teachers’ fault (and it certainly isn’t of my current one) so much as I resented doing practice and bloody hated scales, I just didn’t get the point of them at all. I understand the reasons for them now and as I am getting my head around theory it is all starting to make more sense too.

    I know all about relaxation techniques – I meditate everyday, but exams and tests have always thrown me, even in my motorbike test I was throwing up before I went in! I think it is piling so much pressure on myself that the problem occurs

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