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….
17 thoughts on “I’M NOT A BAD PERSON”
Hi Luann, just wanted to say you talk a lot of sense. I always read your posts and they make me think, but I don’t often comment. Today you made me feel I should, so thanks for your wise words. Sarah
I’m exactly the same way! Esp. about not looking at other’s work and limiting social media. (believe it or not)
Now, Elaine, that IS hard to believe! :^) (Elaine is very savvy about social media.) But, hey, if SHE has to disconnect sometimes, then it’s okay for us.
Thanks for your comment!
Hi, Luann, it’s about time I checked in to thank you for your blog, which I’ve enjoyed for many months. This is a particularly apt post, since I suffer from a chronic case of comparison-itis. At its worst, it completely paralyzes me: “gee, I can’t possibly do a better job than (fill in the blank), so why should I even try?”
I’ve recommitted to defining success for myself, rather than accepting others’ definitions. This is easier on some days, and more difficult on others. You’re right that a bit of “disconnecting” can make a big difference in getting and staying clear.
Thanks again for the time you devote to your writing.
And thank you for letting me know it’s helped you. I get the benefit of working through stuff that’s holding me back–glad to know it’s working for others, too! :^)
Fab post, Luann!..and so right on….I think the urge to ‘just peek’ at all that is available to us online can really work against us if we are not careful….
like they say ” comparison can be the death of creativity”….
(blush) Thanks Kerin! :^)
What a great blog…I’m so glad I found you. Wouldn’t you think by my age (well let’s just say that I’ve passed the half century mark), that I wouldn’t need permission not to answer the phone. And, you must have read my mind with your mention of, “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.” Oh, it’s so easy to just keep making the same style because that’s what sells and then really get stuck in a rut.” Thanks so much for your words of wisdom.
You’ve just inspired another post! :^) Check back soon, Dawn.
And as always, if you’ve gotten something from these posts, spread the word. (But I promise not to check my stats…) :^D
And I thought it was just me getting old that I desire to facebook and twitter less and less — OK, honesty is a virtue, never! I do desire to connect still, but in a more thoughtful, authentic way through people like you (I get such a wonderful lift from your blog and ideas), my work (a daily source of delight and challenge) and the small but wonderful group of people who take the time to read my blog. You often write what I think. Thank you. Keep ’em coming!
I believe the world is hungry for authenticity and joy, Jeanne, and it sounds like you are giving both. :^)
Oh, and thank you so much for your comments about this post–you gave ME joy today!
A friend once told me comparison is the thief of joy. So true. I always try to remember that when the comparison bug sets in.
Oh, Melissa, I LOVE that! Thanks for sharing.
I started reading you around the first of the year, I guess I found you from someone’s blog link.
I truly appreciate what you have to say and think about your posts as I work in my studio. Although I recently started my own blog, I have only so much energy and time for the huge community out “there”.
As artists we need our alone time to dream, create and work through the very deep need to make things. Keep up the great work in your writing and artwork. I look forward to reading you often. Julie B.
This post is amazing….its so true about viewing other artists work. If i go off gallery and show hoppingfor inspiration, I find that it can at times be quite distracting in some ways, that I lose my focus and tend to spin my wheels acomplishing very little in the studio.
I suppose we are our own bosses…I think that was one of the reasons we like working for ourselves…so we can certainly not answer the phone, blog or tweet (still not sure what that is). If we were at a so called real job, we wouldnt be doing all of that goofing around. hmmmmm. this is a real job, so playing on the computer should be limited to coffee and lunch breaks 🙂
Luann, I check your blog weekly. Thank you so much for all that you do for us. It is as if I am having a coffee break with a co-worker.
Thanks for the link and the love… I’m glad it helped.
(And I loved your post about slow sellers. The yellow yarn thing is genius.)