Wednesday, 5 October 2016

How Do You Get People To Take You Seriously?

Today, I was asked this question by a fellow creative; not an author but someone who is clearly fighting the same demons that I see being fought in the author community all the time.
You take yourself seriously -
you step out
into the world and you 'be'
who you want to be in the future.
This is me signing in Paris this
 summer.  This didn't
happen by accident. I made
it happen.

We didn't have long; it was a snatched conversation and I literally had a child hanging off my back at the time.

But I hope in that short 3 minute conversation, I instilled these important messages.  So what did I say in response to his question?

  • Firstly, before you can ask others to take you and your art seriously, you have to take yourself and your art seriously - you invest in your art; you seek out those who are where you want to be and you observe, study, reach out, learn from them and then emulate them, discovering your own unique 'you' along the way. 

  • You have to stop apologising for not being good enough - as a creative, you are constantly evolving, improving (You'll never be 'good enough' but you are as good as you need to be at this point) 

  • You invest in your community. You give to the creative tribe, and you give - and then you give some more - and do you know what? It comes back. You build friendships, relationships, mutual respect - I refer to it as 'TRIBE' but you may just as well call it your 'ARMY'. 

You build an army of fellow creatives and you look after your
comrades, you nurture the friendships, and you learn from each other.
You support one another and you trust one another

and most importantly, 

You define yourself as artist and you live
your life as artist. 
  • You stop waiting for others to define you as serious (sic, successful, talented, worthy, valid) YOU DEFINE YOURSELF as ARTIST. As CREATIVE. You are entirely free to be who you want to be. As my mentor, Janet Wallace  (Founder of Social Deviants) would say, "Be the future you in the present." Stop waiting for the fabled land and make it here, right now. 

I say these things like they're easy, as if they are a magic potion - and trust me, I know they're not. Unshackling the doubt demons, the fear of ridicule, the little voice that whispers 'you're delusional', 'You're a pipe-dreamer' is hard - and for some it's harder than others. 

We live in a world that prioritises money and celebrity and tries to measure everything within those terms - but the creative life isn't like that, and when you try to fit your art into such measurable quantities, that's when the tension and the doubt, and the fear smacks you in the face. 

There's a sense that unless you're doing everything on some crazy epic scale; you're topping the charts, you're making millions, you're winning awards, you're featured in magazines, on the television, that your name is part of pop-culture rhetoric, then you're a failure - that you're not serious... but that's.... well, it's rubbish! 

Nobody has the right to EVER tell you that your art isn't worthy, isn't valid, isn't 'proper'. Believe in yourself and believe in your art - and hold your head up high and wear your armour well - and if you've been wise enough to follow my advice - you're army will be standing right behind you. 

Have a wonderful Week. Go and make beautiful things, moments, and friendships. 

Kate x

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