Small Book, Big Idea.

UnknownI was walking past Hunting Raven Books in Frome last weekend, with no intention of stopping to buy anything, when this book caught my eye, sitting up perkily in the window display.

A bold title with a strap line interesting enough to drag me into the shop to have a look — 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered.  Surely that’s what any artistic person wants, although to be honest it’s the share your creativity that attracted me, rather than the unrealistic promise of getting discovered.  I have a deep-seated fear/dislike/ambivalence of self-promotion, but by the time I’d read the back cover I thought maybe this was a new guide for me, a way to get my work out there without the feeling that I’m selling my soul.

And I was right.

The general philosophy is to share your work.  Not giving away your finished product like it’s not worth anything, but sharing the way you work, the process of getting from that initial spark of an idea to the finished product that deserves to be paid for.  In this way the people you’re connected to, whether in person or on the internet, have a greater understanding of what you are trying to achieve, and how you achieve it, and therefore are much more likely to pay the good bucks for your work when it’s completed.

The book includes chapters such as Don’t Turn into Human Spam, Share Something Small Every Day and Stick Around.  And he puts his money where his mouth is by sharing his work within its pages, dotting his advice with his newspaper poems which are such a clever and interesting idea that I’m dying to give it a try myself, as well as being a great exercise for students (right there is a practical demonstration on how this philosophy has the potential to grow and connect with other people).

It’s worth taking a look at Kleon’s website too, where you can see him talk about his work together with examples of his poems.  He is clearly passionate about sharing what he does and how he does it, and he has that generosity of spirit that never expects anything in return.  He just has the wisdom to know it will reap its own rewards.

A good philosophy for life in general, I think.  Happy sharing.

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