An art director and education junkie working towards great ideas. I have shiny things on shelves and way too many post-it notes on my desk.

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A submission for Read A Book 24

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A submission for Read A Book 21

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Well, I've done it. I've missed quite a few days already, it's a wonder I've turned up to post again. Though there's no sense in turning back now, might as well just share what I've learned from today's read and get on with it.

When people talk about their work they really should talk about both kinds of 'work'. The 'art-work', the finished product everyone sees, and the work it took to produce. The process of a product's development can be equally as entertaining as the work itself. By sharing your process -- the stuff we artists really care about -- you can create a special bond with your audience by inviting them inside your world.

It's a bit of a terrifying idea to expose your art when it's most vulnerable and in unfinished stages. Though the fear of criticism from those who may not "get it", should never surpass your desire to produce work that tells a story. From beginning to end, posting about your unfinished work gives it character, personality, a chance to join the community, to grow and contribute. We all know that any creative work isn't just born and printed immediately as the idea happens; but rather something that develops through a careful process. Remember to include this 'work' in your creative exhibits so people can get to know with the real side of your work too.

Let's face it, we all start off as amateurs. Though that means we have little to loose, and should try everything, sharing our results along the way. Take chances, experiment, and follow your whims. As Austin Kleon describes in his book 'Show Your Work', the gap between mediocre and good work really lies between doing nothing and doing something.

Some helpful tips on how to get started sharing your work:

- do something, anything
- think about what you want to learn & make a commitment to learning it in front of others
- pay attention to what others are sharing, and what they're not sharing
- fill a void, as bad as your efforts may first be
- share what you love and the people who love the same things will find you

Another key element of sharing your work is sharing it in your own voice. Find your voice by passionately talking about things you love; your hardwired voice will shine through. In this day and age, everything is online, so work sharing on social media into your plan too. If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.

Food for thought: if you died tomorrow, what would people say about your work? about you? Make your life memorable.

You Don't Have To Be A Genius // The Alternative to Self-Promotion

Well thank god! Every other thing I've read about 'making it' in the creative industry says 'talent'; but as John Cleese said (quoted in this book) "Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating." Instead of focusing on being notice, focus on being really good at what you do. Although, there are ways to get noticed as you're still learning. Austin Kleon suggests building 'sharing' into your process, and instead of spending time networking, take advantage of your network. Rethink routine and genius will find you.

Be generous: share your ideas and knowledge with others. Helping others creates an audience you can later leverage when you need them--for fellowship, feedback or patronage (as Kleon points out). By creating a group of people you can bounce ideas off of, you are also helping yourself learn faster, as insights you never thought of will appear.

There's been a lot of buzz around the author Austin Kleon. His infamous NY Times best seller 'Steal Like An Artist' gained attention and made me reach for his book 'Show Your Work'. I read the first four pages and that was it. So here goes, the pages I read tonight....the table of contents. Going for the win here.

10 Ways To Share Your Creativity & Get Discovered
1 -- You don't have to be a genius
2 -- Think process not product
3 -- Share something small everyday
4 -- Open up your cabinet of curiosities
5 -- Tell Good Stories (*always!!*)
6 -- Teach what you know
7 -- Don't turn into human spam
8 -- Learn to take a punch
9 -- Sell out
10 -- Stick around

I have a confession, this read was more of an audio book, but learn nonetheless I did! The audio book was about how to present a creative portfolio during an interview. Essentially simple steps like 'be professional', 'share your skills' and 'dress appropriately'. For creative folk though, we also need an outstanding portfolio to get hired; but how do we talk about ourselves and our work? Thinking back to my first creative interview fresh out of high school, Lord knows I bombed that one. Mixed with my own experiences, here are some short tips for your next portfolio review:

- be yourself, quirky, knowledgable, passionate, you
- have a story, don't just say "here's a logo I designed", always think of the "yes, and" technique
- tell them who you are as a creative and why you want to be in design / advertising / architecture....
- talk about your work like you know what you're talking about, use industry lingo that makes sense
- address the content of your portfolio and why what you've designed is better
- talk about your skills, not in percentages but with proof
- professionally walk into their office, and have a strong close

My mother is the epitome of a sales lady; capable of turning leads into buyers and "selling ice to the eskimos". It's a talent I have been trying to learn for years; and found in my collection of unread articles, was one that boast six reasons someone will believe. The art of selling, I've learned, has a lot to do with being convincing -- far less about products sold and more about having people join a conversation; telling them a story they want to be a part of. From my last post's tip of "yes, and", these six points build on a seducing technique.

1 -- Reciprocacy: People are more willing to give after they have received. If a company can be the first to give, make it personal & unexpected, then they too may get customers to give their time and (ultimately) money.

2 -- Scarcity: What we can't have, we want more. An airline previously booking 2 trips to NY reduced it's trips to one a day yet saw sales for travelling to The Big Apple skyrocket. By listing the benefits of a product/service, what's unique about it and what people stand to loose, makes all the more reason for them to buy now.

3 -- Authenticity: This is a big one. With technology intertwined at our every point of connection, we know when we're being sold to and when a brand actually cares about us. People also follow the knowledge of experts who are credible and can be referred. Sharing real results with followers and fans builds brand trust with each fulfilled promise.

4 -- Consistency: Selling hamburgers one day at 5 cents and the next at $3.95 isn't a good idea. Promotional offers are good for driving business and rewarding your existing customers but selling products shouldn't feel like the stock market. People like to know what they're going to get.

5 -- Liking: Generally, people prefer to say yes to those they like. We like people who are similar to us, give us compliments and cooperate with us. Being likeable is established way before getting down to business.

6 -- Consensus: "People do this, you should to". We often base our behaviour off the behaviour of others. If other people are liking something, we're curious to see if we'll like it to.

Just some food for thought on how to sell something. Thanks for reading!

As an art director, I am constantly challenged to think visually. However, I've noticed a need for copywriting, where projects with no budget for a good copywriter fell flat. So I've been working on my techniques to avoid poor results. A part of that practise is watching successful people work. Will Awdry is a fantastic (biased answer...but still true) copywriter who's thinking I admire. From my latest read, "Award-Winning Examples of Writing For Advertising from Will Awdry" here are his top three tips on how to write better copy:

1 -- Know who you're writing for. Bring your audience to life and be super specific.
2 -- Don't just describe what you're selling. Put purpose and mission into it. It's more interesting, vital and important to your audience that way.
3 -- You're not just telling, you're talking; and talking is a two way street. Allow some headspace for your audience to play and think.

One of my favourite techniques taken from long-ago improv lessons, is the "yes, and" technique. This has helped me ask more questions about why a story should be told, what would make it interesting, and why people would want to listen. So the next time you write, ask yourself this: "so I've got a great idea, and?"

Today, I am ill; lung infection they said. I have however read, but as things go, I slept and didn't prioritize; which means leaving this post to the very last minute, and being hyped up on antibiotics which will result in terribly written copy and a heightened realization that missing this post, on the SECOND day, is basically like giving up when things haven't even started -- and that's a no-no (and a run on sentence).

These are the main takeaways from today's read about "The Path To Happiness".

- perform five acts of kindness in one day
- long term happiness is only possible through intrinsic goals (personal goals for you), not extrinsic goals
- fulfilled intrinsic goals leave us happier because we enjoy the actual pursuit of them (ex. someone who becomes a doctor to help others vs. because their parents said to)
- as we achieve more our expectations grow as well
- practise appreciation (watch Mike Robbins' Ted Talk on appreciation)
- if you are not aware of what you have, then it is as if you do not have it
- write 1-3 things in a journal each day that you are thankful about
- reach goals by doing the actions in a different way, spice things up
- the path to happiness is pave with simple habits, not dollar signs and fancy cars

Thanks for reading! I encourage you to also read more and share your experiences with the hashtag #readabook

Today I finished reading possibly my favourite book of all time, George Lois' "Damn Good Advice (for people with talent)". If you have yet to read it, read it! If you have yet to pick it up, do it! If you've never heard of it, what?!? George Lois has been rightfully deemed an advertising guru, THE original Don Draper. With hundreds of accolades to his name; he's responsible for creating the Creative Revolution, turning advertising on its head, and giving the world Aunt Jemima Syrup. His book talks about what to do if you've got talent and advice for using it.

These are the take-aways form the last ten pages:
"You are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul"
- If you love something, do it whole heartedly or why even try
- If you aren't satisfied with where you are, change it
- And by God have courage! No one will believe you if you don't believe yourself

After reading this book, it's given me clarity and a "why not go for it?" attitude. Recommended to anyone in doubt or for those who need a bit of a kick in the rear to get started. George Lois delivers it straight. So whatever your passion may be, go do it and do it well.

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