My dearest friendly, friends and artists alike, we all know you have something that sets your soul on fire. That thing that when you think about it, it never feels like work, and the idea of it being your sole career seems like a dream to you. Well let me tell you, that dream can be your reality, and though it will take time, it is most definitely possible IF you put yourself and your work out there.
My Aunt Julie recently surprised me with Austin Kleon's books, Steal Like an Artist, the Steal like an Artist Journal, AND Share Your Work!, (best aunt ever, am I right?) and needless to say I finished them in the blink of an eye. These works are especially real and to the point for anyone looking to create as a career. The book that stood out to me most though, was Share Your Work! This book gives you multiple fool-proof strategies and inspiration for putting your work out there to get a jump-start on your career. I would definitely check this book out if you're looking for a change in your creative career. For now though, I want to share with you some inspiring tidbits of my own and information to set a foundation for you to realize just how important this aspect of being an artist is.
So many people have such incredible and mind-blowing ideas, but no one besides their close friends and family will ever get the chance to experience their idea because not enough people put what they imagine out into the world. This is due to a lot of reasons, but the number one reason is because so many never start doing this thing that they're so passionate about, and keep up with it. The work is always the hardest part - as it should be - but the reward of impacting people and allowing them to experience your gift is what's the most rewarding of all. It makes that hard work worth it! Like good ol' Benjamin Franklin said, "Hide not your Talents, they for use were made. What's a Sun-dial in the shade?!"
I know, I know, it's so much easier said than done. A common fear is that if you put your work out there, it's never going to be good enough. On top of that, why will my work matter when someone or multiple other people are doing the exact same thing I am? Well, my friends, I have some good news for you. Yes, there are literally millions and millions of videos, blogs, drawings, memes, paintings, music, cover channels, etc. out there to find on the internet. A good chunk of these videos are of the simplest things, some are tutorials, some are of people falling down, saying funny things, along with those who just want to share what they did and that they're proud of it. How is what you do any different? Because it's done by you! No one can do what you do, just the way you do it! Aren't you proud of what you do? Don't you want other people to see it and go - wow - that person really knows how to _____, I can't wait to see more - or man, that really hit me hard, in such a good way. I know I want to see what you do and get inspired - so imagine yourself sharing your work with the world and people telling you it's made a positive impact on them and their lives. How does that feel?
Know your work doesn't have to be perfect now, nor does it have to be perfect ten years from now. Perfection is a myth. The only thing that matters is that you love what you're doing, and you're learning and getting better along the way! For example, when I decided to launch my first blog, there were so many spelling and grammatical errors - heck the article might not have been interesting at all! I still have the same problems, but hey, I'm still learning and getting better as I go on. I pay more attention to my past faults so I don't make them again - this is how I improve. Same thing goes for me sharing my photos and videos. When I started film school four years ago, I had little to no idea how a camera worked. I just knew how to turn it on and press record. Now I know all of the details that go into shooting regarding color temperature, white balance, aperture, F Stops, T stops....you name it! I also know how to edit better now than I did two months ago, let alone, two days ago! See, it's all a learning process. The important part is starting and consistently putting your work out there, that way you're able to see your progress and you know what to improve upon. Look at it as a digital diary for your work. It truly is a beautiful thing.
On top of all of this, one especially exciting aspect of sharing your work is that the more eyes you get on your artwork, the more people have the chance to love what you do, and ask you to do it for them! If you're a singer and you share your covers - people are going to ask you to maybe sing at their wedding, perform at their next event, or even collaborate with you when other artists are seeking you out and see what you're doing. This could be the glorious start to you making money by doing what you love and also creating your own business after a while. This way you can switch to doing what you love full-time, and you'll never look back.
Needless to say, let the world know who you are and what you have to say, gosh darn-it! It's so important to share your gifts with the world. If you love something so much, it's connected to your purpose, and there will always be, no matter what, room for you to do what you love and make money while doing it. There are plot-points along the way that may have you questioning whether you really want to be doing what you're doing like documenting every moment of your life and process on Instagram - boy that is a lot of work - but if you give little details about your process like the beginning, middle, and end of your drawing. Possibly if you're recording a new song, you in the booth and educating them on what each piece of equipment is, etc.
Share information so others can learn - I always think that's the perfect reason to share. On the other hand, if it's something that your agent wants you to do that isn't in line with your integrity whatsoever, or you're getting the impression from society that you need to be half naked in everything you share - and that's totally not you - don't do it. If it's not you nor is it anything that speaks to the message you're trying to relay - don't ever feel obligated to do it. It's better to be hated (or just not interesting to some people), than to be loved for what you're not. You're never going to please everyone, but those 10 out of 100 people whom your work means everything to by just being you - do it for them - they're your tribe.
So GO! Do It! Share your latest drawing, your poetry, your short story - your newest video you shot no matter what. Share the cover of you singing your favorite song, launch that blog, launch that vlog, go make the start of the new year already underway!!! Go out and share your work!
In FACT! I CHALLENGE YOU!!! This week, share something of your craft on all of your different social media sites AND e-mail it to me or tag me in it (@mary.gabrielle.strause)! I want to share it with the world as well so people can see what amazing things you're doing! Send me a video of who you are and what your artwork means to you as well! I want to meet everyone!
I'm so proud of you and what you're doing! Let the world hear your voice!
Mary Gabrielle Strause