Archive for October 30, 2019

One of the reasons creatives withhold their work, is because of fear of failure. As stated previously, art withheld is a gift un-given, a waste of your time, and a lost opportunity, but so many people will look at their work and convince themselves that their work is unworthy. They think they’ve failed.

Creatives need to learn to fail like our creative brethren, the scientists. Oh there are few people more creative than scientists, and there are no people more susceptible to failure than scientists. The thing is, scientists know how to fail. Here’s what happens. One day a scientist comes up with an idea. An idea is nothing more than a creative solution to a problem, something every creative/artist also does every day. Once the scientist has an idea, he or she begins to do experiments to test whether or not their idea will work. That experiment has really only two options. It will either succeed or fail. If it succeeds, the problem is solved. This is similar to the work we do that works the first time. If on the other hand the piece doesn’t work out, we creatives will generally consider it a failure and walk away. Scientists don’t do that and neither should we.

You see, if the experiment fails, the scientist notes what was done, and the results, why it failed etc. From there the creative process continues. The scientist learns what he can from his failure and determines what it will take for his creation to succeed. From there he or she designs another experiment and starts again. Each success, and each failure moves the scientist closer and closer to success. Basically creatives often fail and quit. Scientists experiment, fail, and experiment again as often as possible, until something works. Scientists fail forward.

We creatives need to do the same.

Okay I may have overplayed my hand, it’s not so much that the gatekeeper is dead, he’s just been neutralized in many fields. I guess I better explain myself.

You see this post goes all the way back to the beginning of my art career. Back when the way to get work was to create something and submit it to as many companies as you could, in hopes that someone would look at your work, think it was “cool” and pick you. Those agents of picking were called the gatekeepers, and your life depended on them, but then something happened. The internet “killed” or at least neutralized the gatekeeper. Where before you had to wait for them to pick you, now you get to pick yourself.

You can put your work out there for the world to see, and in the process, you bypass the gatekeepers and go straight to the audience. This should largely be a reason for creatives to celebrate, but there’s a problem. Many of us try to resurrect the gatekeeper. As a matter of fact it’s far worse than that, we act as our own gatekeeper. Instead of sharing our work with the world, we keep it to ourselves, deciding on our own that we are not good enough to put our work out there. It’s ridiculous. Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to self edit, or that you can’t withhold a piece you’re not happy with, but what I will say if you’ve brought your best to the table, it’s foolish not to share it.

Imagine you bought someone a gift. You put a lot of thought and effort into it, wrapped it up beautifully, but then you decide not to give it. You comfort yourself by saying, “Well I made the effort, I remembered the occasion, I spent the money and the time, and that’s enough. After all, it’s the thought that counts.” Ridiculous, right? But that’s what happens when we withhold our work. We created something that would bless many people, but we keep it hidden, and so we keep the blessing, the “gift” from everyone including ourselves.

Many of us have longed for the day when the gatekeepers would lose their power. Please don’t bring them back. Instead, make your best “gift” and share it with the world.