This age of technology is great – generally, for so many reasons – but for some creative people it can feel like they’re treading onto a minefield. Exposing one’s creative work to the world has a multitude of benefits, but it is daunting to get started, because we feel like we are exposing our very hearts and souls, setting ourselves up for criticism and potential slandering.
The youths of today perhaps don’t feel this as strongly as us older ones do, as it is part of their daily experience to share every activity, idea or happening, theirs and those of others, across the social media. For an artist though, to display one’s work is a big step in getting it noticed, but at the same time a brave move in flaunting our imperfect selves to the public. And this is doubly daunting, because the public in modern day is not just your local community or your country, but the entire world. The scariest part of all is that the world can respond – they can add their voice. They won’t only have SEEN you behind closed doors, but you will be able to HEAR them back. They have a voice, opinions, comments, reactions – favourable and otherwise.
I also used to say, “I’ll post something when I’m better,” or “I don’t feel ready for the world to see my work – it’s not good enough.” I did wait a long time before I went public with my art. I was waiting until perhaps one day I’d create something perfect. That day would never come, would it?
I started a couple of years ago, but not as much as I should. I was still terribly timid of my presence on the Internet. I also realized I needed to be more bold. Let me bare my soul, I eventually decided – also feeling like I am stepping onto a minefield, wondering, How can li’l ole me compare with the big guns?
But the more I did it, the more my confidence grew, and then a funny thing happened.
I remember shyly posting something recently and was almost shocked when I didn’t receive any response; neither good nor bad. Not one. I wondered why I had gone from being so Internet shy, to not now feeling I wasn’t even being worthy of a like, or a comment, never mind a share!! I don’t say this arrogantly in the least – on the contrary, I am very Internet shy. In fact I’m shy period. What I mean is that if 200-plus people had seen it, why did nobody respond? I felt small and insignificant. How do people get their work to be popular and shared? How do they get others talking about them? Some people’s work goes VIRAL for God’s sake! What do I have to do just for a few likes? I realized I have become a person who is ready to move on and up in my career. At long last!
I must admit, I am somewhat embarrassed when I look at some of my older posts and the perhaps inferior work to what I do presently. I could cringe!! However, I realize that it is these very work examples that has brought me to the point I am now. Also, the comments on those pieces have assisted me in the long run in many ways, as I have seen where I can improve as well as ascertain what’s more popular than others in the general market place. This has been indispensable!
My advice though to those wary and shy of your visibility on the net is this:
▪ Only ever post your present best work. Don’t flood the Internet with everything you ever do if it isn’t as good as your last.
▪ Add your personal touch to your posts. Show your personality, your quirkiness or humour. Portray the real you! That’s how people respond better to you as an individual, and not just the artwork they see.
▪ Accept the criticism and comments with an open heart. True, there are some mean people out there, but generally peoples’ intentions come from a good place.
I have often wondered, – and this is what first inspired me too to jump the hurdle and take advantage of how technology today facilitates us to be a part of the global village – I wondered how much talent, how many geniuses there must be out there who should be unveiled to the world? Instead their skills and ideas are hidden away – all because they’re too bashful to go public.
I urge you – change your mindset. Go on! Take the risks. All success comes with taking a certain amount of risk. Become willing to put your work ‘Out There’ and be seen. Get noticed! Show the world your genius! Sharing brings your contribution to this world and that is fulfilling. Perhaps the most fulfillment an artist can feel. So give it a go! Don’t be bashful and instead overcome your reluctance. You may just open doors you’d never imagined…