Note: I originally shared a version of this post with my email list back in January, but I wanted to post it here as well because I think it’s still something many people are struggling with!
Over the past few months, I’ve seen many makers struggle with how much and how often to share (and sell) their work online. The general feeling I’m seeing from many is that it can feel frivolous and pointless to share your work in the face of everything that’s been happening.
Because I know this is something that many of you are struggling with (and it’s something I’ve struggled with), I wanted to jump in and share my thoughts.
First off, please keep sharing and selling your work. What you do has value. In fact, I believe that what you do is and will be even more valuable over the next months and years. In the face of ugliness, we need beauty. We need art. So please do not feel guilty about sharing what you do. When you decide not to share, you are saying that what you (and I and all of us creatives do) doesn’t have value, and I don’t believe that for a second.
We all have different strengths. For years, I struggled with the idea that because I was smart, I shouldn’t “waste my time” making art. I felt guilty because I hadn’t become a doctor or something else that felt more useful and practical. But the truth is I would be a terrible doctor (I can’t stand the sight of blood) and I’d probably be terrible at lots of other practical jobs as well. Art is my strength. But more importantly, that line of thinking hurts of all because it makes it seem like our contributions aren’t valid. Yes, doctors provide immense value. But so do artists.
And it’s essential that we keep sharing our work.
But because we all have different strengths, in times like this, it’s important that we use our strengths to help and make a difference if we feel driven to do so. It’s important to keep selling and promoting your work because that enables you to use your money to support the people whose strengths are helping navigate the current situation.
And the more money you make, the more you can contribute to the people and organizations doing the work that you believe in.
I realize that you may have more pragmatic questions about sharing your work online with everything that’s going on lately, and if that’s the case, I’d love to point you in the direction of this post by Brigitte Lyons. As a PR master who has worked in crisis management (not to mention one of the smartest women I know), Brigitte is uniquely qualified to give you some practical tools to navigate this tricky situation.
But I also want to remind you that your work has value! So if you’re hesitating to share simply because you don’t feel like what you’re doing can make a difference, know that it can.
I’m going to out myself as an uber-Harry Potter nerd here by pointing out that after Voldemort’s return to power, Harry gave his winnings from the Tri-Wizard Tournament to Fred and George to start a joke shop with the statement, “We could all do with a few laughs. I’ve got a feeling we’re going to to need them more than usual before long.”
I feel the same way about your art. So please keep sharing what you make. I’ve got a feeling we’re going to need art more than usual before long.