It is easy to fall prey to the conviction that we can't share our work until it's polished and ready for a formal unveiling. We feel like we need to protect it from slipping away, getting watered-down, unfairly judged or outright stolen. These things can happen, but it is way more likely that the benefits of sharing will outweigh these risks by far.
Here are just a few of the many reasons to start sharing your Work In Process (WIP), right now!
Helps you get unstuck.
When you're under pressure to deliver completely perfected work, it's easy to feel creatively paralyzed. Sharing what you have right at that moment can serve as a release valve helping you let go of some of the perfectionism that can stall your progress in any direction. Just a simple comment or word of encouragement can be all it takes to get those gears greased up and turning again.
Draws resources to you.
Sharing WIP is a way of raising a flag that identifies your current position. It shows the direction your work is taking and invites people to offer something that helps it get there. Materials, collaborators, new directions and clients can turn up without even sharing that much. Illustrator Daphne Helvensteijn explains: “I just show sketches or parts of more finished work, enough to give an idea of how and what I am working on,” which has resulted in commission for a line of cards.
Gets people invested in your work.
The “magic” of creativity fascinates people to no end. Sharing WIP pulls back the curtain a bit and invites people to peek in. When people get an inside look at your process, they will feel more connected to the outcome. The people you include in the process will cheer you on from the sidelines and be there for you at the finish line and beyond.
Builds your brand in an authentic way.
Creating a personal brand can be daunting and can feel fake or just uninspired, incorporating WIP is an organic way to show people your unique perspective. Kayti Didriksen, a freelance artist, shares WIP from her studio daily on social media: “It helps make my style and voice even more identifiable to potential clients and collectors. My only concern is that people will want to buy something that was tagged #WIP that I have already changed—it’s happened!”
Makes the work better.
Don’t wait until your work is completed to open yourself up to feedback on your work. Sharing as you go is a crucial practice to develop, because it helps you get better at accepting and responding to input throughout the process. Over time, this will shorten your learning curve, allowing you to create better work, faster.
It might take a few tries to find strategy that works for you, but making a habit of sharing WIP is sure to supercharge your work.
Here are a few ways to get started:
- Jump on the WIP Wednesday bandwagon by using the #WIP tag in your social media each week.
- Schedule a regular meeting with colleagues or peers just to share WIP.
- Buddy up and ask a friend if you can email them your WIP weekly.
What are you doing to make sharing WIP a part of your creative practice?