All the “how to social media/get paid for your insert creative pursuit here” guides and articles say the same thing. Make good art, share it “correctly” on social media and they will come.
But sometimes (and by sometimes I mean more often than not) they wont come, and if they do, you wont retain them. This is a conundrum I’m increasingly faced with: Without a medium sized audience I can’t make money, without money I can’t promote my art*, and without promoting my art I can’t grow my audience. It’s an endless frustrating hamster wheel I’d really love to get off please.
*I’m using art as a catch all for all of the creative things I do
On that note, here’s my handy dandy guide of what to do when you’re fed up that the creative industry only seems to offer up the same advice over and over that without a good dose of old fashioned random chance won’t do anything to get you where you want to go.
Step 1) Let yourself feel angry. Feel angry about the gatekeepers, feel angry that chance plays a roll in getting eyeballs. Feel angry that you don’t have the energy outside your day job to create the art you know you can. Feel angry that the training you did had little impact on your ability to promote your work. Feel angry that the algorithms that increasingly govern our digital space only promote those that have money or those that are already popular and feel angry that we live in a capitalist society which actively rejects the value of art and culture.
Step 2) Allow yourself one day a month to wallow in your metrics. Soak them in, lap them up. Spend the day refreshing instagram. Allow your statistics to make you miserable.
Step 3) Get better at your art. Make as much art as your body, motivation and schedule will allow. Do everything you can to perfect it. You may not be able to pay rent with it, but that’s no excuse to stop pursuing the dream.
Step 4) Go out with friends and leave your phone at home. You’ve felt all the things, and now it’s time to take a break. Go pretend that there’s no such thing as the digital space, or digital marketing, or your bank balance. Deny the very existence of the internet outside of your apartment.
Step 5) Accept the place your are right now. You don’t have to feel ok with it, but do accept that this is who/where/how you are, and it’s not going to change overnight.
Step 6) Create grassroots creative communities, and create things together. Allow yourself to play and create with no discernible purpose.
Step 7) repeat previous 6 steps until you’ve found the creative fulfilment you’re looking for or you’re dead from old age. Etiher way you’ll theoretically be content with your situation ;P