Day 3: Find Your Scene

Today I just wanted to give a shout out to Austin Kleon, who is one of my favorite writers-on-writing. I own his first book, Steal Like an Artist, and enjoyed it greatly. Last month I read his second book, Show Your Work, which seemed particularly appropriate as I was about to begin 2015–also know as the Year of Publishing for my writing group. The image below, which I snagged from his free blogger kit, gives the gist of the book, but tonight I wanted to mention just one part.


#1, “You don’t have to be a genius,” has been one of my biggest obstacles as a writer. It’s taken me a long time to accept the idea that other writers, whose wonderful polished books I read over and over, don’t just create masterpieces right away. The concept of a messy process behind the magical result is difficult for me to wrap my head around because we don’t get to see it.

Kleon promotes the idea that a community is much more important than having some sort of unique gift, because writers draw from each other and encourage each other, so that all masterworks are the product of not just the creator but their peers and fans as well. That idea is part of what brought me back to this blog–I’m not naturally social, but I love that there is a vibrant writer/reader community, and I’d like to be a contributing part of that.

Even if I only interact with the few people I already know, and it’s a rather small conversation, I’ll still be a part of the larger community, which can only make me a better writer over time. At least that’s the theory. 🙂

I highly recommend you click the link above and check out Show Your Work, especially if you’re a writer who feels inadequate sometimes or worries about sharing your flawed work with other people. It has great tips for moving past your comfort zone to make good things happen.

Day 3: Find Your Scene

4 thoughts on “Day 3: Find Your Scene

  1. Very good points. I’m working on building that community part and trusting/reaching out to others for help with my writing. I have a habit of just doing everything on my own because I fret over things not being perfect. Slowly but surely getting better at all the anxiety.

    1. Toni Travis says:

      I think it’s definitely a process…backsliding probably included. I think the small beginning steps are the most important, so that we’re no longer completely alone. But I say that as someone who won’t be including beta readers until I’ve edited by myself first…so yeah. 🙂

  2. I’ve reserved both his books from the library so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to read them soon and soak up some much needed good writing advice. Writing communities are amazing and trust me over time you realise that no matter how much self editing you do, someone else will always have a fresh and usually more accurate take on how to improve your work.

    1. Toni Travis says:

      Even if they’re not as wise as you expect, hopefully they’ll at least be fun. I feel like he takes a very creative approach. His books oddly remind me a bit of Harold and the Purple Crayon. I am not sure why–but I loved that book growing up, so it’s certainly a compliment.

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