For all the creators out there: work with your garage door up!
I recently stumbled upon the idea that you should work with your garage door up. This term was coined by Robin Sloan and popularized by a guy who runs under the name of
I think this is an interesting proposal to most creative people out there, people who are too afraid of sharing their journey, their learning path, their struggles. Too afraid that people might judge them, their craft, their slow progress, the tools they are using, the foods they are ingesting, and the life they are living. Am I going too meta?
Working with your garage door up means transparency. You are not afraid of looking stupid and being wrong. You do not care.
If you are a maker who's making use of the digital space, working with your garage up translates to putting yourself out there. You are documenting your journey, you are sharing it online. You build a community of like-minded people. You evolve.
We are used to seeing the finished product. The sparkles. The congratulation messages. It is what we share, what we post on social media.
If you are writing a blog post, trying to come up with a logo design, choosing the fonts for your next project, the colors, the structure. People won't be able to see it. You are doing it in the background. They won't be able to see the long hours, the struggles, sometimes the lack of motivation or discipline. No transparency. People want to see the finished product. Or do they?
And it's all tied to you being too afraid of showing up with an incomplete picture or thought pattern. Being too afraid to show your processes and workflows because we often think that people might steal those. It is also about privacy and confidentiality which I totally understand. Not everyone should do this. Steady well-balanced doses. Creative people should learn how to open up and let their ideas flow around.
And I know that there is a quote out there which states that the secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your resources. But think about it, even if people do have access to your resources, and for the most part, they do as we live on the internet. Let's face it, they won't be able to reproduce your thought patterns, your context, your background, your keystrokes, the way you write, the way you edit, the way you phrase things.
And this is why I started streaming my working sessions here on YouTube and also on Twitch. You know, doing things that I would normally do anyway: like updating my website, planning and writing my newsletter, doing some video editing as well. Here's a quick snip you might enjoy. When doing this type of activity, you are not alone. You can interact with people, possibly get some feedback. Also not care about their feedback.
This is just a way of saying it, right? Working with your garage open. And you can, of course, replace it with something like working with your carport open. If you are a student, you can essentially open up your door to have people come join a study session. This is just a simple analogy really. Share your incomplete work. I'm working on my next video right now and facing some challenges on what the intro should look like. Visuals and sounds. I am sometimes worried about not finishing it on time. We are all going through this.
I suggest you check Austin Kleon for a burst of inspiration. A tiny book called Show Your Work. I have created a book summary video as well. The guy is a writer who draws, and in the book, he is talking about this idea of flow, which translates into daily updates that remind people that you exist. Self-centered? Maybe.
You then gave the stock representing the lasting content your produce, the evergreen content. Based on your daily workflow and the feedback loops you are building by sharing the workflow with the outside world, you will find patterns, and you most likely be able to turn that workflow into stock.
Your decision. One can even do something extreme such as taping a banana on a wall. Finished work? Sometimes it just works.
Sharing your work and working with the garage door up might sometimes come to your advantage. Reckful, a Twitch streamer, managed to create a video game using the help of his community. The amount of growth you get by doing that overshadows the negative aspects of it. It is also interesting. You might get to know like-minded people who enjoy your work but weren't aware of it. Your garage door was closed.