Happy Belated New Year!
This post has been writing itself in my head for a few weeks. It’s more of a little pep talk I’ve been giving myself.
You see, about 5 years ago, after the birth of my daughter, I started drawing again, playing, trying new creative hobbies, simply experimenting and sharing that work online. My Instagram account and my blog were my main platforms of choice.
Some of my creative experiments seemed to appeal to people, they were popular even. I grew a following, landed some great commissions, opened an online shop, ran a couple of workshops, licensed a few images, I even landed PR here and there.
The Trouble with ‘Popular’
However, the trouble when you do something that is ‘popular’ online, there is the tendency to keep doing that ‘thing’. The flowery flatlays and Sassy Du Fleur illustrations (don’t get me wrong – I do still love Sassy!), were like that for me. Whilst I put them out into the world, behind the scenes I was craving drawing/photoshop illustration artwork and more recently animating. I was experimenting more with these things whilst getting sucked into the likes and numbers on Instagram and making money from it. But over time my creative soul just hasn’t been happy. Worst of all, I really started to dislike everything I made and I felt like a creative fraud.
Consequently, I never felt like the ‘real deal’. I felt stuck in the experimental stage. I saw my work improving over time, but it never felt ‘good enough’ (there’s that awful self-doubt creeping in). It was as if I was working towards some future me where everything would be perfect and I’d become the real deal. A future me where at some point I had made the switch and I’d be sharing the art that makes ME tick. Rather than work that gets likes on Instagram or views on my webpage.
Stupidly I carried on sharing work for likes – and money. Occasionally putting my passion projects out there but getting despondent because they didn’t receive as many likes as the flowery stuff. Arrgg it makes me cringe to admit this and write it down!
Whilst it can be inspiring, I think social media can be terrible for creativity too. Putting so much emotion into numbers and those little hearts – it’s really unhealthy. It’s like some awful popularity contest and I detest it. It’s particularly toxic to sensitive creative types who crave approval (yes I’ll openly admit that WAS me). But that’s another post.
It’s taken a while to realise but I need to make the switch now. I’m not 20 years of age, dreaming of the future me. I am the future me.
Perhaps it was turning 40. My darling Daisy starting school. My teenage sons becoming more independent. I have more opportunity and importantly more time than ever, to achieve everything I want to achieve. No excuses.
Facing My Fears
Therefore, I’m facing my fears and pursuing the creative projects that make me happy and satisfied. In December 2017 I started sharing my passion projects – more of my animation and illustrations. They may not turn out to be the most popular but over time…well who knows…who cares?!
I’ll admit I’m scared. Scared of facing rejection. Seeing my numbers go down has been pretty gutting. Ironically I’m receiving more work offers – just goes to show finding the right audience is so important. And putting your self-worth into social media is a terrible long-term strategy.
So things will be changing here. I hope you’ll follow along.
I’ll be 50 in 10 years time. Knowing how quickly 30 to 40 passed, I know I can’t waste another moment!
I fear I’m alone in how I’ve approached my attitudes to creativity, art and social media. However, I’d like to think I’m not the only one… I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you found yourself in the trap of social media for likes rather than the love of what you’re doing? What happens when you put money into the mix? Does it kill creativity? Do leave a comment below.
Most of all, have an inspired day
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