All-Time Top Three Least Favorite Nuggets of Advice for Creatives

Blazin' artsy trails, kickin' creative ass and takin' names. 

The worst advice I ever got about being a self-starting, creative, passionate, scatterbrained, artsy-type person with lots of irons in the fire?  Oh, where do I begin?

Here are my all-time top three least favorite nuggets of advice that well-meaning, yet oblivious people love to give us hard-working artists.

You should make what will sell.  At times, I have felt tortured by this advice.  I touched on this topic somewhat in my last post.  It's a double-edged sword when you sell what you create.  After devoting a great deal of time and energy to creating what will sell with Deeds & Petunia, I now try to see my art as something that's channeled through me and something I can enjoy/appreciate.  If you are someone who is blessed enough to create amazing, fulfilling work that others enjoy and want to buy, then by all means put it out there and make some dough off of it!  Just remember, it's easy to fall into the trap of making only what will sell and losing your authenticity and drive to create.  I do have a photography business in addition to being a visual artist, so I walk that fine line myself.  I feel you.

Make something everyone will like.  "Yeah, your work is nice, but I don't get it.  I love your flowers and mushrooms! You should keep photographing flowers." I actually got this advice the other day.  I was annoyed but then it made me laugh a bit. When I hear that I have to remind myself that my work is not for them.  It's for those of us who get that zing of excitement and resonance when they look at it.  Like that one song - you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself.  No one should ever have to sacrifice their authenticity or their unique voice to please others.

You should suffer for your art. I do believe in a measure of artistic suffering in order to produce great work and tend to be so very melancholic myself that I am sure I utterly repel the perpetually positive.  But I don't believe you should have to let it take over every corner of your life and marinade you in misery in order for you to produce work that's meaningful.  That just stinks.  If it's making you miserable, maybe put a pin in it and come back to it in a week, a month, a year.  If you're meant to create it, it won't leave you. Or if it does, let it go.  Author Elizabeth Gilbert talks about it in her book Big Magic - how that inspiration will find someone else who can bring it forth and you'll make room for the right creative idea at the right time.  Love and respect creative inspiration like you would any other healthy relationship.

March (or gallop) to the beat of your own drum.
The Only Advice You Should Ever Listen To.
I'll end with the best advice I ever got about being a self-starting, creative, passionate, scatterbrained, artsy-type person with lots of irons in the fire.  Make what YOU LOVE.  Do your best to ignore the negative-nelly naysayers who don't understand or appreciate your creativity and artistry.  No one says you have to make it your 24-7 passion or your career, but don't stop doing what you love because you can't monetize it or because no one else appreciates or understands it.  You owe it to yourself.  It's the only advice you should ever listen toy.  Love yourself.  Love what you create. The end.

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