Show Your Work Reflection

Upon reading Austin Kleon’s “10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered”, I found the second principle’s notion of valuing the process of creation over a finished creative product to be most insightful. An unfinished work didn’t immediately seem valuable to me when reflecting on this concept, but his discussion on the third principle’s emphasis on daily creation directly supported the value of works in progress by sharing process techniques at various project stages. It can be a source of knowledge, as well as an exhibit of the technical challenges and triumphs one eventually achieves when they do finish a project, for others following along as an audience.

I also found the principles of teaching others your topics of expertise and learning to take criticism to be valuable reminders when creating projects for DS106. Using your own skills to help inform others could result in a more engaged and inspired DS106 community, and can inject fresh ideas and approaches into the minds of fellow students during each week of assignments. Taking criticism might not become an issue with our DS106 students, but fostering the ability to appreciate and draw insights from other students’ critiques of our own work can strengthen both our creative products and creative process over time. I don’t doubt that learning to appreciate critiques as helpful will make us all better at critiquing others kindly and honestly.

Lastly, the idea that we should tell stories to enhance the experience of those viewing our creative work was interesting, though not completely necessary from my viewpoint. A notable literary stance which has also been applied to other creative industries to some extent is the belief that authorial intent is meaningless; the creative work of an author should be able to be analyzed on its own without additional weight from an author’s personal interpretations. If, for example, J. K. Rowling decides to comment on a characters’ ethnicity or sexual orientation after publishing novels in her ‘Harry Potter’ series, the interpretation is as valid as any other person’s interpretation if the novel does not adequately support this analysis. The aforementioned example as been a source of debate in recent years, with some questioning the validity that Hermione is written to be an African American character from vague descriptive word choices or that Dumbledore is written to be a gay character with no literary support behind this interpretation in the novels. This stance seems to contrast Kleon’s advice, but in the context of DS106, I believe regardless that adding personal anecdotes about one’s own authorial intent can help other students to nonetheless understand the creative process undergone in making a given project. To some extent, the framing of creative products with contextual stories from the students who make them can be valuable as a result.