Do what you love, share what you want, and put down the measuring stick.
(4 minute read)
In last week’s Fine Art Views article about possible newsletter topics (sharing our resources), I mentioned Thea Fiore-Bloom, PhD’s website, which is where that idea came from.
I ran the article by Thea first, to make sure I got it right. She mentioned she was inspired to create a resource page by another artist, Sara Paxton, whose most popular post was about how to speed up the drying time for oil paints. Which is logical and inspiring, right?
But my most popular post was about repairing a huge chip in my spongeware bowl with polymer clay.
And Quinn McDonald, a highly-respected artist/writer/life coach/corporate trainer? Her most popular post was about how to cook steel cut oats faster in the morning.
Irony: Last week’s post also had one comment. One. Comment.
But then I had more than half a dozen responses, from people who a) subscribe to my blog, where I republish my FAV articles; and b) got my newsletter referencing that article, with a link to my blog.
That number of responses is new for me, in a good way. My subscriber numbers are big-ish, but nowhere near “influencer” levels.
Until Thea told me THE NEXT DAY that her website visitors hit almost 1,000, resulting in a ton of new subscribers to her blog. She made a guestimate about the number of people who’d probably READ my article/blog/newsletter, but didn’t ‘respond’, and estimated I am truly at those ‘influencer’ levels. Which is….stunning.
The moral of this story is, numbers are everything. And…nothing.
Sometimes our ‘most popular’ numbers can reflect our true audience.
Or they can have nothing to do with our true audience. (Trust me, Quinn has given the world huge gifts over the years, and cooking steel cut oats is not her greatest legacy. Not in my book!)
Sometimes our numbers can seem so abysmally low, we question our own worth.
And 24 hours later, we see the actual impact we have in the world.
Or not. As I’ve said so many times in my articles, we do the work of our heart because it matters to us.
Then we put it out into the world, whether by selling, teaching, or sharing on social media. This is the proverbial toss-a-pebble-into-the-pond, not knowing where, nor how far, the ripples will go.
Money is lovely (yum!) and numbers can be reassuring. But they are not the only measure of our success, with our art, with our influence, with our lives.
Case in point: There’s one reason I now love to attend memorial services for those who have passed on.
It’s the stories people share about that person.
A funeral service draws people from every stage and arena of our life: Family, relatives, groups (neighbors, co-workers, customers, fellow church members, etc.) If they’re well-known, or even famous, even people who never knew them in person, may have a story.
And when they share their memories and stories, we have a peek into a life we never fully knew, or appreciated, or understood. We see moments of kindness, generosity, humor, and grace.
Even then, we still won’t know the whole story.
Because…that’s life. Even we can’t see our whole story.
When we rely on pure metrics, it can muddy the story.
In fact, when I looked up metrics, I found this:
1. the use or study of poetic meters; prosody
2. a method of measuring something, or the results obtained from this.
Do you see it?
The first definition is a form of art.
How do we measure our art?
How do we measure our worth? Our life?
How do we measure the impact we’ve had on others? Whether the good we do outweighs the mistakes we’ve made, the hurt we’ve caused, the things we’ve left undone and the things we ought NOT to have done?
We can only do our best, with all our heart, and let the rest go. Make amends as we can. Try to better. Help others do better.
Social media and social media marketing has been a game-changer, especially during this pandemic. It allows us to stay connected, and create connection, despite everything.
But how we measure our ‘success’ with that, is another matter altogether.
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