BOOK REVIEW: “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon

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Please Read

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Every creative person should read Show Your Work right now! This book will help you get noticed for any original work you make. Author Austin Kleon shows you how it’s done.

If you’ve finished a short film or a painting, tell someone about it. It can either be by word of mouth or online. Show it off on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Use these social media sites to your advantage. They’re more valuable using it that way than sharing the latest meme.

You don’t have to share everything. Share one small thing daily during your creative process.

You’re Not the Next DaVinci

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If you’ve suffered through strict art school, it’s okay. More than likely, your over-the-top art teachers had it all wrong. You don’t have to be like any particular fantastic artist to make it out in the world. Not everybody will be the next Andy Warhol or Leonardo DaVinci. They’re one of a kind.

Stay inspired, disciplined, and do your own thing. What you create is essentially food. Someone’s going to find it delicious.

Process > Resumé

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Showing your daily creation process is better than showing your resumé. Kleon recommends it. You’d want to tell potential employers and clients what you’re doing at the very moment besides waving your resumé in their faces and hope for the best.

Some people complain about not having their dream career yet. You have to ask: “What are you doing right now to reach your career goals?” They’ll probably stare at you tight-lipped then retreat to their rooms to watch 12 hours of Netflix.

You Like That? Me too!

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Another handy Show Your Work tip is meeting people who are obsessed with the same things as you. Eventually, you’ll meet someone who will land you a career doing what you already do every day.

Love writing and reading comics? Meet people online and offline who can go on all day about them.

If you’re a fashion designer, meet other fashion designers. You freaking love minimalist painting? No doubt there are others who freaking love it too.

Being a convention wanderer is not mentioned in Show Your Work, but it’s a topic worth acknowledging. Whatever you do, don’t be that person who wastes large sums of money wandering through con after con with no specific goals. Sure, you meet people, but you forget about them as soon as the convention is over.

The essence of networking is establishing your network system. Create your network map of the cool people you meet through conventions, clubs, and other meeting areas.

Art is Process

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Think of yourself as a never-ending maker, a forever expanding universe of creation.

When I’m at the library, I’ve noticed authors like Anne Rice and Agatha Christie who have written over 20 books. They have their creative universe running.

According to Kleon, art is more about the process than the final product. Think the universe created one planet and was like, “SweetI’ve made Earth! My work is done.” and stopped making planets? More we haven’t discovered yet are created every day.

Be like the universe. You are a part of it. Keep creating.

Conclusion

Overall, this is what you need to do based on Show Your Work:

  1. Show your creative process daily (via your website, social media sites, word of mouth, etc.).
  2. Meet obsessive people (not crazy though).
  3. Don’t listen to the naysayers.
  4. You don’t have to be DaVinci to be great.
  5. Create every day.

Show Your Work should be given to all imaginative people especially young art students.

You don’t need an MFA in underwater basket weaving to tell others how good you are. Show them your latest basket creation. Someone might give you an opportunity of a lifetime because you tweeted about it.

Have you read Show Your Work?

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(Book pic source: Amazon)

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Art of Doing” by Camille Sweeney & Josh Gosfield

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Ordinary people take action and reach extraordinary heights. That’s the gist of The Art of Doing. Opera superstar Anna Netrebko used to be a janitor. Tony Hsieh started out delivering pizza then turned into a billionaire CEO.

Every single person in The Art of Doing has done something and finds themselves in new, exciting places. They keep growing, doing whatever they need to do to reach their goals.

Each chapter is dedicated to an entertainer, innovator, and other notable achievers.  A few of my favorites:

One Brave Sailor: Jessica Watson 

What I admired about Jessica Watson is her journey into the unknown. Watson sailed alone around the world when she was 16 years old. Her parents had utmost faith and trust in her journey.

Watson didn’t decide one day to jump on a rickety boat and sail the seas.  Preparation lead her through her nautical obstacle. She planned it all the way through taking notes from sailing experts. If something happened to her ship while she was out at sea, Watson knew how to fix it asap.

If Watson didn’t take the proper steps, she would’ve been in deep sea trouble.

Blogging Extraordinaire: Mark Frauenfelder

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I love reading about how bloggers work. You can never stop learning how to be a better blogger.

Mark Frauenfelder created his blog out of his obsession with everything to do with gadgets. If he can do it, you can too. It’s all about creating the time and building a community with those with similar interests.

If you want to see something made, make it yourself. For example, I’ve started out with this book blog reviewing new age books. Before this blog, it was hard to find book bloggers who enjoyed reading about chakras, aliens, and the law of attraction as much as I did. Since I’ve started, I’ve finally met readers and book bloggers who do the same.

The Brain Specialist: Richard Restak

The brain works in magnificent ways. I love studying how it works and hacking it. I enjoy stimulating the brain through exercise, reading, and writing.

Neurologist Richard Restak concludes focus and mind challenges improve the brain. Staying focused is a helpful tip to stay on track with your top priorities. TV and multitasking have the opposite effect.

Restak’s writing habit motivates me. In the morning, he writes 500 to 1,000 words per day. What a great way to strengthen the writing muscles.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in reading success stories, read The Art of Doing. Thanks to this book, I found new books I’ll read in the distant future:

  1. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot by Richard Restak
  2. Rule of the Web by Mark Frauenfelder
  3. True Spirit by Jessica Watson

Have you read The Art of Doing? If sowhich chapter was your favorite?

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Book Review: “The Great Pyramid Hoax” by Scott Creighton

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Something’s Fishy…

According to The Great Pyramid Hoax, the cartouches bearing King Khufu’s name are fake. Author Scott Creighton claims Colonel Richard Vyse forged Khufu’s name to prove further Khufu built the pyramid.

Mainstream archaeologists believe Vyse’s discovery is authentic. However, Creighton provides evidence in his book that doesn’t add up to Vyse’s claim:

  1. Nathaniel Davison explored the great pyramid before Vyse. He found no written names inside.
  2. How did Vyse learn about King Khufu’s name? There are no sources!
  3. Vyse had hidden knowledge about Khufu’s name in his private journal. He hasn’t made any comments about it in his public reports.
  4. Humphries Brewer worked as an assistant during Vyse’s Giza expedition. He witnessed his fellow workers committing forgery in the pyramid.
  5. Evidence of paint run on the cartouches. The ancient Egyptians would’ve left no room for errors.

Lastly, Colonel Vyse carried an ill reputation. He was involved in political bribery and corruption in Giza. Would you believe this man made such a historical accomplishment?

Final Say

The Great Pyramid Hoax was tedious to me despite all of the compelling evidence. The book was engaging at first until it came to particular details about paint, hieroglyphics, and stone markings. The book might be an intriguing book for those in love with ancient architecture and archaeology, not me.

At least, I learned something new. I didn’t know such an argument about pyramids existed.

I gave this book an unusual 2.5-3 star rating. The book had several dull moments,  but I appreciated Creighton’s lengthy sources and enthusiasm for the subject.

Have you read The Great Pyramid Hoax? What did you think?

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BOOK REVIEW: “Get Your Articles Published”

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Writing can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Writing articles for a big-time magazine can be intimidating. Fortunately, Get Your Articles Published makes it an inviting craft. Lesley Bown has written a decent guide for newbie freelance writers.

I’ve learned conversational writing is acceptable and articles are made for solutions.

What’s Your Problem?

More than likely, you’ve seen an article headline like  “30 Tummy-Toning Yoga Poses You Can Do Today”. This headline attracts readers because it offers answers. Someone out there wants a flat tummy before bikini season.

Articles state problems and presents solutions. Before writing your own article, ask yourself what problem is your focus.

Conversational Writing

Back in school, I had a frenemy relationship with class papers. I enjoyed writing essays with interesting assigned topics. Sometimes, I received poor grades for the work. The problem: I wrote like I talked instead an elite academic scholar.

I understand there are times you must write like a professional. But in the long run, who’s going to punish you for saying “I love cats” instead of “I commend the grimalkin species”.

Seriously? No.

Thanks to Bown’s book, I don’t have to attempt to write like an overexcited intellectual all the time. It’s all about conversational writing nowadays. I’m more aware of conversational-style writing in many popular magazines and high-trafficking websites.

There’s More!

Get Your Articles Published offers writing tips on reviews, prose, and travel writing. Quite handy for writers who fit in more than one category.

Beware: the book has outdated resource links. The recommended travel article site Itchy Feet hasn’t updated since 2015.   Furthermore, its latest tweet was in 2016.

Always double-check for active resource links.

Conclusion

Interested in freelance writing full-time? Read more writing books with the latest resources.

I appreciate Get Your Articles Published for its handy article writing tips. Overall, I’d recommend it!

Related book reviews and articles

 Which writing books have you read recently?

BOOK REVIEW: “Lifelong Writing Habit”

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You can’t be a successful writer if you don’t write every day. Well, that’s what only half of the writing population believes. Some writers say you must while others believe you only need to write “often”.

If you’re planning to be a daily writer, read Chris Fox’s Lifelong Writing Habit: The Secret to Writing Every Day. I’ve read this book as soon as I finished his last one, 5,000 Words Per Hour.

In Lifelong Writing Habit, Fox offers valuable writing tips to develop your writing routine. There are excellent ways signaling your subconscious to go into active writer mode.

My top three writing habit takeaways:

  1. Setting up a writing log
  2. Tying a writing routine to a reward
  3. Creating a writing list

Your Writing Log

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Make sure you record your writing activity, whether you’ve written for 30 minutes or three hours.

I’m currently on a 90-day writing challenge writing 30 minutes a day. Sometimes, I write up to 90 minutes. These longer times include plotting and editing. According to Fox, they count as writing. Draft work isn’t the only important part.

If 90 minutes sounds too long, you can break it down into small time blocks in three ways:

  • 30-30-30
  • 30-60
  • 45-45

Make sure you record your writing sessions in a notebook, spreadsheet, or a calendar.

The Reward on the Stick

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Is there a temptation distracting you from your work? Minecraft, a Stranger Things marathon, or listening to K-Pop for thousands of years? Use it as your reward!

To set up a consistent work/reward routine, find your trigger. A trigger is anything that initiates a routine. Take these steps as an example:

  1. Write down tomorrow’s writing plans before going to bed. Stick this reminder somewhere you’ll see it first thing in the morning.
  2. Set up your writing tools on your desk (if you have one).
  3. Go to bed.
  4. Wake up.
  5. Find your writing plan and get to work!
  6. Smash your writing session!
  7. Enjoy your reward. 🙂

If you didn’t set up the writing reminder as your trigger, you probably wouldn’t have written anything that day.

Endless Ideas

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Have you ever had the greatest ideas in the shower only for them to disappear seconds later?

Creating an idea list will help you tremendously with your upcoming writing projects. It’s a great resource whenever you have writer’s block.

For the book bloggers reading this, I have written a list of potential ideas you can use for your own blog.

 Conclusion

Lifelong Writing Habit is a writers’ “must read” book. This short book is a writing tip gold mine!

Consistency and focus are the keys to long-term writing success. The more you write, your life changes for the better.

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What is your daily writing routine? Do you write every day or every now and then?

Craving more inspiration? Check out these daily writing/blogging articles:

And these insightful articles why you shouldn’t write/post every day:

(Pic Sources: Giphy)

 

BOOK REVIEW: “Crop Circles” by Steve & Karen Alexander

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  • Title: Crop Circles – Signs, Wonders, and Mysteries (Goodreads) (Amazon)
  • Author: Steve and Karen Alexander
  • Publication: Chartwell Books (October 5, 2009)
  • Genre: Non-Fiction, General
  • Pages: 192
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Source: Library
  • Rating: 3/5

Reading Crop Circles brings me back to the 90s when people were absolutely nuts over aliens. Aliens were in movies, TV, the news, and discussed constantly on radio stations.

Back then, I remember catching news reports about crop circles. People argued aliens truly created the circles while others believed it was only human pranksters. One duo did confess they’ve made crop circles using planks and ropes: Doug Bower and Dave Chorley.

 

However, the “non-human” made crop circle explanations are still left untold.

The Book

Photographer Steve Alexander and writer Karen Alexander created a great book filled with crop circles sightings all over the United Kingdom. They took the time to explain the possible numerology and sacred geometry meanings behind the circles.

For example, the Milk Hill Galaxy crop circle has thirteen circles on each arm. The number thirteen symbolizes transformation The Alexanders contemplated this circle might’ve had a connection to certain tragic US event:

 

“Eerily, just weeks later, the world was transformed by the 11 September attacks in New York. It’s extremely doubtful that the crop circles predicted this event, but perhaps there were just a flicker of something looming in the global consciousness, which was given expression by the appearance of this design.” -Steve & Karen Alexander, Crop Circles

We’ll possibly never know if our intergalactic neighbors were trying to send us a warning.

Strange Circles

Additionally, there are crop circles beyond numerology and sacred geometry interpretations: The Sparsholt alien and the Chilbolton face.

The Sparsholt crop circle has an alien face with a disc inscribed with binary code. The translation:

 

“Beware the bearer of false gifts

And their broken promises

Much pain

But still time

Believe

There is good out there

We oppose deception”

-Sparsholt Binary Code Message

How nice for the aliens to warn us, but from whom?

Next, the Chilbolton face in Hampshire, England. This crop selfie has appeared along with another binary code message describing beings from a different star system.

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The Code (left) and The Face (Right)

Looks like we’re not the only ones after all.

Conclusion

Altogether, Crop Circles is a great visual companion for crop circle hunters. It’s nice to know the meanings behind the circles. I’m surprised the people who made crop circles weren’t mentioned in this book at all. Even if you’re a strong alien believer, this book gives the impression that all the crop circles mentioned were all alien-made.

It would be nice to know the difference between alien and human-made crop circles.

Check out these sites to learn more about crop circles and the latest ones reported around the world:

Books Reviewed like Crop Circles

(Pic Sources: NewEarthCrop Circle ConnectorLatest UFO Sighting)

What’s your take on crop circles?