5 Books Like Show Your Work

In today’s interconnected world, sharing your creative process can be just as important as the final product.

Austin Kleon‘s “Show Your Work” has become a guidebook for many creatives on how to navigate this new landscape.

If you’ve found value in Kleon’s insights and are looking for more inspiration, you’re in luck.

In this article, we explore five books like “Show Your Work,” which offer unique perspectives and practical advice on creativity, sharing your creations, and making your mark in the digital age.

Books Like Show Your Work

1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

the artist's way

The Artist’s Way

Julia Cameron

Quote From the Book

“Leap, and the net will appear.”

Book Summary and Key Points

This is a self-help book designed to assist people in discovering their creative self.

The book is structured as a 12-week program, with each week focusing on a different aspect of creativity.

The two main tools Cameron introduces are the ‘Morning Pages’ and the ‘Artist’s Date’.

‘Morning Pages’ are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing done first thing in the morning.

The purpose is to clear the mind of any distractions and allow for a free flow of thoughts.

The ‘Artist’s Date’ is a block of time set aside each week for nurturing one’s inner artist.

It involves doing something alone that is different from the usual routine and allows for the exploration of new ideas.

The book also emphasizes the importance of faith and confidence in one’s creative abilities.

Cameron encourages readers to let go of their fears and inhibitions and to trust in their creative process.

Personal Takeaways

“The Artist’s Way” has been a transformative book for me.

The concept of ‘Morning Pages’ has helped me clear my mind and focus on my creative tasks.

The ‘Artist’s Date’ has been a refreshing experience, allowing me to break free from my routine and explore new ideas.

Overall, the book has taught me to trust my creative instincts and not to fear failure.

Who This Book Is For

“The Artist’s Way” is for anyone who wants to explore their creative potential.

Whether you are an artist stuck in a creative block, or someone who has never considered themselves creative, this book provides practical tools and exercises to help you tap into your creativity.

Pros and Cons


  • Provides practical tools and exercises for enhancing creativity
  • Encourages self-exploration and self-discovery
  • Helps in overcoming creative blocks


  • The spiritual undertones may not appeal to everyone
  • Requires a significant time commitment
  • Some exercises may seem repetitive or unnecessary

2. On Writing by Steven King

on writing

On Writing

Steven King

Quote From the Book

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

Book Summary and Key Points

“On Writing” is a unique blend of autobiography and instructional guide by Stephen King.

The book is divided into two parts.

The first part is a memoir where King shares his journey, struggles, and experiences that shaped him as a writer.

The second part is a treasure trove of advice for aspiring writers.

King emphasizes the importance of reading and writing a lot, believing that these are the two most crucial activities for any writer.

He suggests that a first draft should be completed in no more than three months to maintain the story’s freshness and immediacy.

King also recommends setting a daily writing goal, starting low to avoid discouragement.

The book is lighter on grammar rules but provides valuable insights into the art of writing.

King believes that good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals and then filling your toolbox with the right instruments.

He also encourages writers to write about anything they want, as long as they tell the truth.

Personal Takeaways

King’s candid and practical advice is truly inspiring.

His emphasis on the importance of discipline, setting a daily writing goal, and sticking to it is a valuable lesson.

The idea that writing is not about making money or getting famous, but about enriching the lives of readers and your own life, is a powerful takeaway.

King’s advice to avoid the passive tense, adverbs, and to use the first word that comes to your mind if it is appropriate and colorful, are practical tips that can immediately improve one’s writing.

His formula for the second draft, which is the first draft minus 10%, is a simple yet effective strategy for self-editing.

Who This Book Is For

On Writing is a must-read for aspiring writers and anyone interested in learning more about the craft of writing.

It’s also for those who are fans of Stephen King and want to understand his writing process and journey.

The book provides valuable insights into the art of writing, making it a useful resource for both beginners and seasoned writers.

Pros and Cons


  • Provides practical and actionable advice on writing
  • Offers a unique blend of autobiography and writing guide
  • Written in a clear, engaging, and relatable style
  • Provides a glimpse into the life and mind of a successful author


  • More focused on fiction writing, so non-fiction writers might find less value
  • Light on grammar and writing rules
  • Some readers might find the autobiographical sections less useful than the writing advice

3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

big magic

Big Magic

Elizabeth Gilbert

Quote From the Book

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

Book Summary and Key Points

Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert is a guide to living a creative life.

The book is divided into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity, each offering lessons on how to unleash our creativity.

Gilbert believes that creativity is inherent in all of us, but fear often prevents us from expressing it.

The book explores the concept of ideas as living entities that seek to be made manifest through us.

Gilbert shares personal anecdotes and stories, such as the tale of her friend Susan who rediscovered her love for figure skating, to illustrate the joy and fulfillment that can be found in pursuing our passions.

Gilbert also discusses the importance of giving ourselves permission to create, embracing the trickster within us to keep our creative energy light and playful, and treating creativity as a love affair.

She emphasizes that creativity should not be a source of suffering but a partnership that requires our attention and devotion.

Personal Takeaways

Big Magic is a refreshing take on creativity.

It encourages us to embrace our creative instincts without fear of judgment or failure.

The concept of ideas as living entities is particularly intriguing, suggesting a dynamic relationship between us and our ideas.

The book also emphasizes the importance of persistence and courage in the creative process.

It reminds us that creativity is not just about producing great work but also about the joy and fulfillment we derive from the process itself.

Who This Book Is For

Big Magic is for anyone who wants to live a more creative life, whether you’re an artist seeking inspiration, a professional looking for innovative ideas, or simply someone who wants to infuse more creativity into your daily life.

It’s for those who are ready to overcome their fears and embrace the magic of creativity.

Pros and Cons


  • Offers a unique perspective on creativity.
  • Filled with inspiring and relatable anecdotes.
  • Encourages readers to embrace their creative instincts.
  • Provides practical advice on overcoming fear and self-doubt.


  • Some may find the concept of ideas as living entities hard to grasp.
  • The book’s approach to creativity may not resonate with everyone.
  • Some might find the writing style a bit too casual or conversational.

4. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

the war of art

The War of Art

Steven Pressfield

Quote From the Book

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

Book Summary and Key Points

This is a profound book that focuses on the concept of Resistance, a force that prevents us from achieving our highest potential and doing our best work.

The book is divided into three parts.

The first part discusses the various forms of Resistance we face, such as fear, self-doubt, and procrastination.

The second part introduces the concept of “Turning Pro,” a mindset shift that involves overcoming Resistance and committing to our calling.

The third part discusses the higher realm, the source of inspiration for all artists.

The book emphasizes that Resistance is the enemy within us that keeps us from pursuing our passions and fulfilling our dreams.

It is an internal force that manifests in various forms like procrastination, fear, self-doubt, and distractions.

Pressfield argues that we must recognize and confront Resistance to overcome it and unlock our true potential.

Turning Pro, according to Pressfield, is the key to overcoming Resistance.

It involves a commitment to showing up every day, staying on the job all day, and dedicating ourselves to mastering our craft.

It’s about taking our work seriously and not overidentifying with it.

Personal Takeaways

This book is a powerful reminder of the internal battles we face when pursuing our passions and dreams.

It has made me realize that Resistance is not an external force but an internal one that can only be overcome by a change in mindset and a commitment to our work.

The concept of Turning Pro has particularly resonated with me.

It’s not about achieving perfection but about showing up, practicing, and improving every day.

Who This Book Is For

The War of Art is for anyone who has a dream, a passion, or a project they want to pursue but are held back by their own internal fears and doubts.

It’s for artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to overcome their inner Resistance and unlock their true potential.

Pros and Cons


  • Provides a unique perspective on the internal struggles we face when pursuing our passions.
  • Offers practical advice on how to overcome Resistance and commit to our work.
  • Written in a straightforward and engaging style.


  • Some readers might find the concept of Resistance too abstract or hard to grasp.
  • The spiritual undertones in the third part of the book might not resonate with everyone.
  • Some might find the book repetitive in some parts.

5. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

the creative habit

The Creative Habit

Twyla Tharp

Quote From the Book

“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits.”

Book Summary and Key Points

This is a guide to nurturing creativity and harnessing it to produce extraordinary results.

Tharp, a renowned choreographer, uses her experiences to illustrate how creativity is not a gift from the gods, but the result of hard work and preparation.

The book emphasizes the importance of understanding oneself, identifying one’s unique talents, and using them to shape one’s creative identity.

Tharp suggests exercises like writing down your ambitions, accomplishments, failures, and role models to identify patterns that reveal your creative identity.

Tharp also underscores the significance of daily routines and rituals in maintaining discipline and honing skills.

She shares her own routine of waking up early, having a cup of coffee, and heading to the gym.

She encourages readers to create their own rituals that will make them feel confident and self-reliant.

Personal Takeaways

The Creative Habit is a treasure trove of insights and practical advice on fostering creativity.

Tharp’s emphasis on understanding oneself resonated with me, as it’s easy to overlook the importance of self-awareness in the creative process.

The idea of daily routines and rituals was another standout point.

It’s a reminder that creativity isn’t about waiting for inspiration to strike, but about creating the conditions for it to flourish.

Who This Book Is For

The Creative Habit is for anyone who wants to unlock their creative potential, whether they’re artists, writers, business people, or simply individuals seeking to infuse more creativity into their lives.

It’s particularly beneficial for those who view creativity as a mystical, elusive force, as Tharp demystifies it and makes it accessible to everyone.

Pros and Cons


  • Provides practical exercises to boost creativity.
  • Offers valuable insights from a successful creative professional.
  • Demystifies the concept of creativity.


  • Some readers might find the exercises repetitive.
  • The book is heavily influenced by Tharp’s experiences in dance, which might not resonate with everyone.
  • Some of the anecdotes and examples might seem outdated to a modern reader.


As we conclude our exploration of these five inspiring books, let’s recap the key takeaways:

  1. Embrace Your Creativity: All the books emphasize the importance of embracing your creativity and not being afraid to express it. They encourage readers to trust their creative instincts and to create without fear of judgment or failure.
  2. Overcome Resistance: Books like “The War of Art” and “The Creative Habit” highlight the concept of Resistance, an internal force that prevents us from achieving our creative potential. They provide strategies to overcome this resistance and unlock our true potential.
  3. Develop Good Habits: Books like “On Writing” and “The Artist’s Way” stress the importance of developing good habits, such as setting a daily writing goal or creating a routine that fosters creativity.
  4. Share Your Work: Just like “Show Your Work,” these books underscore the importance of sharing your creative process with the world. They offer advice on how to navigate the digital landscape and make your mark.
  5. Keep Learning and Growing: Each book, in its own way, encourages continuous learning and growth. They remind us that the journey of creativity is ongoing and that there’s always more to learn and explore.