One of the issues many creative individuals deal with is wondering who cares about their work. That’s understandable. For many, a lack of recognition is troublesome. It kills motivation and inspiration. It leave them wondering if they should continue on. I mean, what’s the point if no one is ever going to see it?
I get it. I’ve been there myself. I worked in a bubble for years, never showing anyone my writing, the things I drew, the music I’d written. I think most of us have been in that situation. The lonely artist.
The problem, I think, is twofold.
First, we don’t give ourselves enough credit. It’s easy to think we aren’t any good at what we’re doing. We’re amateurs. We’re just fumbling about trying to make magic happen. The thing is, what we don’t realize is that there are people out there who would enjoy our work if we’d only share it. I think we can get caught up in thinking we have to be an overnight success. We think we should be able to, say, publish a novel and it’s a bestseller. But because we have a low opinion of our abilities we don’t try, so we’ll never know.
We have to realize that it’s extremely rare for anyone to be an instant success. Many writers and artists struggled for years in obscurity. If you disagree, I’d like to point to Vincent Van Gogh as Exhibit A. In about a ten year period, Van Gogh created over 2,100 pieces of art. And you know what, during his lifetime he was a commercial failure, was mostly unknown, and died in poverty. He’s now considered one of the greatest artists to have ever lived.
So yeah, you may not become an overnight success, but your art still matters. And you never know, someday it may be worth millions.
The second part of the problem is that we tend to worry about an audience. Will people like this? Will they hate it? Will they care?
My question to you is, why does it matter?
If you’ve listened to my creativity podcast or read things I’ve posted here on my blog or on social media, you know that I’m a proponent of “Creative for yourself.” What does this mean? It means don’t worry about an audience, about who might read this, look at this, like this, hate this. It doesn’t matter. Really. I promise.
What does matter is you and your opinion. Are you writing a story that you would want to read? Then you’re on the right track. If you’re writing a story that you hope other people will like, then you’re going about it the wrong way.
You have to be happy with what you’re creating. You have to be proud of it, passionate about it. You can’t do that with something you’re doing because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s fake art, fake creativity. Like paintings in hotel rooms. Sure, someone created it, but they didn’t create it because it was something they wanted to see. They did it because someone paid them to paint a pleasing and non-offensive landscape. Something generic.
You have to be the master of our creativity. Once you begin to do that, you’ll realize that what really matters is if you care about what you’re doing. That’s what it comes down to.
When you have one of those days where you wonder why you even bother to be creative, remember that you’re doing it because it makes you happy to create things you love. It’s all about you. And yes, when it comes to creativity it’s okay to be a little selfish.