Show Your Work – part 10

Stick around

Don’t quit your show

Success is mostly about pushing through failure.
Keep producing work, without assumptions of success or failure, and be prepared to seize opportunities when they present themselves.

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”


You are only as good as your last piece; no one cares what you’ve done, nor what you’re going to do next. They care about what you’re doing now.
You can’t stalling if you keep up the momentum. Do the work in front of you, review it and start your next piece while you’re still fired up.

Go away so you can come back

Working without a break is exhausting and can lead to mental burnout.
A sabbatical can be a great opportunity to restock your mental and creative reserves. Obviously, the flipside of that is that a high-stress or overly demanding scenario can drain you, even if you aren’t creating at the time.
Although a multiple month- or year-long sabbatical isn’t practical for most people, but Kleon offers three somewhat more practical mini-sabbaticals, originally suggested by Gina Trapani:

  • Commute
  • Exercise
  • Spend time in nature

The important thing is to take a break.

Start over. Begin again

Related to “being an amateur”, never rest on your laurels or allow yourself to coast. Keep learning new things, techniques, media.
Stop trying to refine old material; junk it and build something new. It takes courage and commitment, but it makes you stronger, and better able to assess your weaknesses. Learn out loud.
Go back to chapter one.

Some advice can be a vice

Feel free to take what you can use and leave the rest

There are no rules