I had sat down here today to write a ranting blog about how disappointed I was with certain things that had happened recently in regards to my writing. But as I got ready to write the post, I kept staring at the screen. I didn’t want to come off whiny, or complaining, or even like I was ranting. That was when I realized that no matter how I wrote that post, I would be writing a whiny complaining rant. So I scrapped it.
What was I going to rant about? I was going to rant about how the people closest to me seemed to treat my choice to be a writer as a joke. As if I was just doing a cute little hobby. About how I have family and friends who ignore everything I post about my writing, who never share it with their friends and followers, and on and on and on. See, I am already starting to rant again.
But as I sat there looking at the blank Ranting Blog I was about to write, I wondered to myself, Why do I care? Why do I let these people bring me down? The answer is pretty simple. It is the same answer to why rejection bothers writers. It is human nature to care about what others think of you. You may not like it. You may even deny it. But we all care about what others think. We care even more when it is family and friends.
But in reality you are just letting those people drag you down into the depths. There are many reasons why people belittle artists. I am well aware that writing is not the only art form that suffers from the “that is a cute little hobby” remarks. I think every art does.
Art isn’t the Focus
We don’t live in an art based world anymore. Wait, that is not entirely true. Art is all around us. We don’t live in an art focused society. At least not here in the United States. We cut art from schools, we close museums, we cut music performances, and we close the local theaters. When money is tight, we cut from the arts first. Because our society see’s it as more important to get “real jobs” in the corporate world. If you like to write, perhaps you should get a job writing training documents for a major HR company. If you like art, perhaps you should get a job designing advertising. If you have a glorious imagination, you should be an inventor. Better yet, just learn Math and get a job as an executive that will never use those math computations. Schools, here is my idea. Just cut math, give every kid a calculator, and bring back art.
No teacher, that I have seen, has told my oldest son, who has a very active imagination, that he should consider a career in writing, acting, or art. Instead they tell me he has ADD. Or they have the nerve to say, “If he would focus that energy on math he could be a great scientist or inventor some day.” I say, how about you… Teacher… realize your personality won’t match every student. How about you foster his imagination and recommend he find an outlet for it? They didn’t make those recommendations. Instead my wife and I are seeking out art and acting classes for him. How about the fact that you admit he knows the material, so clearly he must have paid some type of attention. And if he knows the material, put your pride aside and stop worrying about if he paid attention to you.
Wait… breath…. I am ranting again.
The point is this. Our world see’s art, music, writing, and all other art forms, as hobbies. They are something to be done when you have time around your 60 hour work week. Writing is not a career. Photography, never. You want to draw pictures all day? You’re lazy. You want to be a painter, no way. You want to act? This isn’t Hollywood. This is one reason people bring you down as an artist. They just don’t see the arts as a realistic career.
There is a lot of talent in all of the arts. And well, we don’t all have that talent. I can hardly color within the lines, let along draw a realistic human form. The best photographer I can ever be is with my Android phone and I don’t pretend to even know how to use that.
Could I learn any of those things? I think so. There is an amount of natural talent needed to do any of the arts. Some are just not that into art. Others, they simply wish to do what you do. They are jealous of the fact that you are doing what they want to do. Why don’t they do it? Well they either don’t think they can, or they don’t make the time to do it. Others still, are simply jealous that you’re reaching for a dream while they accepted they’d never reach theirs.
We all get jealous from time to time. The same is true with artists. You are making a dream of yours come true, and to others that is a symbol of dreams they never accomplished. I’d argue that Jealousy is one of the most powerful human emotions.
The last of the three main reasons people bring you down, is misunderstanding. This is a two way street folks.
They misunderstand what you are trying to do with your life. They may not think that your writing is anything more than a hobby to you. They may think that writing is an easy, leisurely activity. They may not understand just how important a “share” or a “like” from them is to you and your career. They may not understand that adding their Amazon review would mean the world to you and your career. They don’t know that for a writer, their recommendation to their friends is the life blood of your success. They could think they don’t have the time to help you out, not realizing that the simple two second share on social media means a lot. This list can go on and on.
But you could also misunderstand. You could assume that they don’t share your stuff because they think you are just “messing around.” But it could really be that they don’t read. Or it could be that they didn’t see your post. You could assume they hate your writing, but they have just been too busy to read one line. Even though they have been dying to read it and write you a review, they just haven’t had a chance. Or you could be assuming they never pay attention, but in actuality they are reading everyone of your blog posts, publications, and social media posts. They just never said so.
So, Stop letting them drag you down.
This sounds easier than it really is. When you find out someone you care about, and follow their career closely, doesn’t do the same for you. Well it is soul crushing. But it is also a downer when you find that others just don’t care about what you do. Naturally you will get a little down. And the critics. Those that bash you just to bash you. Or, those that simply don’t understand what you want to do for a living. They are the hardest to deal with.
But you can’t let them pull you all the way down to depths. These people have had me doubt myself more than I can admit. These people have made me give up on a number of my dreams in life. I can’t let them win this round. I have to rise above them and achieve my dream for a change.
Prove them Wrong
This is a powerful motivator for many people. It is the old, I’ll show them. It works for me in many ways. I’ll be honest I even fantasize about becoming famous and snubbing those people when they come calling for something. Sure, that sounds cruel. But when I am really ready to quit, the idea of being able to shove someone’s nose into their own… well let’s just say it works. I feel a burst of motivation. It is also perfectly natural to want to show someone you did what they said you can’t do.
But more so, you have to realize that in many cases they are wrong. So show them they are wrong. If they say you can’t do it because you’re too old, show them you are never too old to learn. If they tell you you can’t because you’re not the right “type of person”, show them that art takes all types of people. If they tell you that there are too many other people out there trying to do the same thing, show them that there is room for you. As I have aged, I have quickly learned that nine times out of ten, the people telling you you can’t do something are wrong. So don’t let them be right. Show them you can, you will, and you have.
Make them Jealous
While I had said Jealously is the reason so many hate, or say you can’t, you can use it to help you too. If they are jealous, well that means you are doing something right. You are succeeding someway to warrant their jealousy. Rather then let that work against you, let that be something that raises you up. People envy that you can make time for your art. They envy that you can work forty hours, run a business, have a family, and still tell great stories.
Get Rid of the Negative
Rid yourself of the negative people. This may not always be something that can be done. I’m not about to cut off my family over something simple like, they won’t share my books with others. But if they are trashing me, perhaps I will be done with them.
But friends are a different thing. With sites like Facebook, we throw the word friend around a little too much. My wife has some 300 plus “friends” on Facebook, but I bet she really only knows about 15-25% of them. The same is true of me. Though I only have a 150 or so. Even fewer are actually my friends. I doubt again that I would get rid of any of them because they don’t actively support my writing. Though I actively seek their approval, I’ve also come to realize they likely won’t give it. By recognizing that and trying to move on from it, I lose the negative without getting rid of the person. Same is true of family.
But those that are actually dragging you down are a different story. The ones that don’t support you are one thing. But the ones that drag you down, bash you, and down right don’t care. Get rid of them. You don’t need them around you. I don’t care if they are friends or family. If they are dragging me down, they are not really good at being a friend or family.
The artists of the world are what have kept books around, entrain us with movies, provide us with stunning photographs, and mesmerize the world with their drawings. You need to ignore that fact that society seems to shun artists, because in fact they need us. If the artist disappeared tomorrow, there would be nothing on TV. There would be nothing to read. Music would fall silent. The corporate world would have no one to design their ads, write their jingles, and they wouldn’t be able to sell. All the people would have is sleep and the corporate life. And the corporate world wouldn’t last long. The world needs us, even if they don’t see it.
Take a moment to remember that. Take a moment to see the art that is all around you and such a instrumental part of your lives. Look deeper and you will see the arts all around you. That means someone else ignored what everyone had to say and rose up. They succeeded and so can you. When the negative seems to eat you up, focus on the positive.
I’m a pessimist at heart. I always see the negative first. But I can’t let people drag me down. You can’t either. Sometimes all it takes is a slight adjustment of how you view the world to set you back on track.