My daughter is reading The Alchemist, a classic by Brazilian writer Paul Coehlo, which tells the tale of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. It’s a mystic story about his adventures that will help you follow your true path. Since our cat Maddie had her spotlight, my daughter read the book beside our other cat Aleksy. He likes to hang out in her bedroom. Our little gray boy seemed to be interested. He may finish reading it before she does!
If you are a creator, chances are you want folks to see your work. Creative people know what I’m talking about. (Of course, we’re all creative in some way.) Yes, we paint, we write, we knit, we make stuff because it pleases us, because it sends us into a zone where we lose track of time, but we ultimately want to share our creations with the world. We need to take on that dirty word “self-promotion.” But how do artists who are usually solitary souls engage in self-promotion?
Promoting Yourself Feels Weird
It’s difficult to shout out about yourself to the world. It feels weird. It feels false. I have felt this way many times as I promote my blog and my writing. I am not an outgoing salesperson. In fact, I do two of the most solitary jobs I can think of: writer and gardener. At the same time, what I produce entertains and educates people so I do want them to know about it. How to get the word out sincerely and without annoying people is the question.
I got the answer this winter when I discovered Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work. It’s a book that teaches people how to self-promote when they don’t want to self-promote. It’s a book about how to keep working in private while sharing what you’re doing with the world. Quietly, nicely, and most importantly, passionately. Kleon’s asks, What are your passions? Share them because people will respond to that passion. They may not be into everything you’re into, but they’ll be into some of the stuff you’re into. And those folks will pass the word on.
So Promote Your Work
In light of this, I’m embarking on a series of Show Your Work posts. I’ll write about what sends my heart soaring. The things I love. Kleon talks about the idea of a cabinet of curiosities. The cabinet that cultured people kept centuries ago to show off their interest in the world and intellectual curiosity. We all have a cabinet of curiosities, Kleon says. It’s the modern day bookcase. We usually keep our most favorite stuff in that cabinet. Our favorite books, boxes, knick knacks, travel souvenirs, whatever. When I looked at my bookcase, I was shocked at how right he was. There, in just scanning it, I thought of at least three posts I could do about the coolest stuff on there. My favorite gardening books, a favorite box I got from far away, little recyclable coasters I love. So much of me is in that bookcase.
Your Work Is Interesting
So without further ado, I’m sharing a photo of my favorite bookcase. It’s made of pine wood by a Seattle company called Ballard Bookcase that no longer exists. It sits beside two paintings I bought for their Parisian feel. One features a flower shop, the setting of my novel, The Forgetting Flower, and one of a bicycle, on which my protagonist rides around Paris. They warm my heart. What also warms me is the green chair beside the bookcase. This is where I write most days. It’s the brightest room in the house and right by windows that face the back garden. I love that chair and I love that room. The best of me is there. I work and dream there. I also drink tea there and snuggle with my kids and squeeze in when my cat Aleksy has taken it over.
Do you have a favorite bookcase in your home? Where is your favorite place to sit?