The Biggest Regret of My Career

Last week, I attempted to explain why it’s not always a great idea to put your work out there in any old form towards the goal of “being noticed.” Of course, this was written from my usual pro-hobbyist bias, as the great majority of my readers are hobbyist photographers or writers.

This week, I’ll explain why this advice breaks down a bit (but not entirely) for professionals.

The greatest regret I have in my career is that what has appeared in my blog or in my books is the tip of an enormous iceberg of professional writing the public will never see. I write, edit and/or publish the equivalent of a small book every week to an intranet only visible to the employees of a large corporation.

I take no less pride in the work. It has my name on it and reputation matters. But, since it never sees the public, it does not add to my “body of work” and that’s what really hurts. It’s like it never happened.

If you let your audience in on how you create what you create, you will build a bigger, better audience. Audience matters more than anything to your career. With a large enough audience, you can dictate the terms of your career entirely. With no audience, you hold no leverage. Most of us fall somewhere in the vast middle. Where you fall usually depends on your body of work and how much you've shown.

I still believe a portfolio or gallery link is an awful way, even for a professional, to build that audience. But, putting your work out there is essential to building an audience. Putting your work out there in new creative ways, using narratives, is a better way to go about doing it.

How?

Surprise us.