Today you get permission to be unsociable.
As connected as I am to the world-wide web, I try to insulate myself a bit.
I try not to look at other people’s art too much. If it’s good and I like it, I want to imitate it (which is okay for inspiration, but not for my core aesthetic.) If it’s really good, it just makes me feel bad about my work. If it’s bad, it’s just a waste of time. Or it makes me feel smug, which is not being the Buddha. (If it’s really bad, though, it’s funny.)
I try not to read too much Twitter. Either it’s pretty mundane stuff, or I get caught up in what they’re saying, and forget what I want to say. Although lately I’ve been ROTL at this one and that one. I enjoyed tweeting (love to hear the sound of my own voice, there, I said it), until I realized how much time I was spending doing it.
Same thing with blogs. There are some great ones out there, with heady stuff. But then I start comparing mine to theirs. And then I worry about how many people are reading mine (or rather, how few people are reading mine). It becomes all about the numbers, and not about what I want to say.
It feels like when I worry excessively about how much artwork I’m selling. I stop thinking about the work I want to make, and I focus on what I think will sell.
So when things are slow in the studio, I venture out a bit. Otherwise, I try to unconnect.
Today, from one of my favorite blogs, I received permission to be this way.
There are blessings to social media. But there are repercussions, too. Connection is wonderful. But I don’t want to wander aimlessly from point to point. And I don’t want to be just a point someone passes through to get somewhere else.
Except….in my artwork, and my writing.
I don’t mind being an experience people absorb and go through, to get to where they dream of being.
Not by copying my work. (I just found a website where a former customer, whose been copying my work for four years, brags about her “original” and “unique” designs…. Sigh.)
Not by being the Buddha. Because some days–okay, most days–nobody would ever mistake me for Buddha. Before I had rich dyed dark red hair, BTG (Before The Gray), I had rich medium red hair. And I embody every inch of that redhead temper thing.
I hope by sharing the hard days, and the good days, by sharing what I’ve learned and what I know, I can help people get to where they want to be–to help you get to where you want to be.
I hope that by telling you when it’s hard, it’s not always because you aren’t good enough, or not savvy enough, or not experienced enough, maybe you’ll persevere with your art.. (And even if it IS because of that, you can get better. I did.) Sometimes it’s hard because….it’s just hard. Period. I hope that encouraging you to make your art helps you stay the course.
And like Naomi over there at IttyBiz, I hope I help you by giving you permission to decide for yourself what deserves your focus, and what doesn’t. To decide for yourself what success is, and what isn’t. To make the art that is in Y-O-U, and nobody else, and to get it out into the world.
Take a minute to read her essay.
And remember, it’s okay not to answer your phone sometimes. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay not to text/IM/facebook/tweet/link/ning/blog/read today’s newspaper.
It’s okay to simply be unavailable. To turn off the ringer and let the answering machine/voice mail/thingie do its job.
Now go to your studio and make some stuff.
P.S. Now I wish I hadn’t given myself permission to publish this without thoroughly proof-reading it first! :^) I just fixed six typos….