Treat promoting your work as its own craft

u/AyanoNova asks, “How to get more confident in showing my art?”

There are some really great responses in the thread—depersonalizing a person’s artistic identity from their work (i.e., don’t overidentify with it), and getting less precious about the work—I want to propose a third aspect:

You get confident in showing your art by practicing showing your art (or your product, or your writing, or your deck, or any other fruit of your creative operation). If you’ve already shown it, show it twice. (If this sounds like a reach, a softer way of practicing is to show someone else’s art.)

Treat promotion and showing your art like it’s its own craft, skill, and skillset. Promoting your work is an essential skill to build, because it reinforces a feedback loop. Think about it like this:

If you don’t promote your work, nobody experiences it. You may think that’s a reflection of the merit of your work (e.g., because nobody spends time with it, it must be worthless, and thus bad work, which means you’re a bad artist). In reality, it’s a reflection of your promotional effort (e.g., you didn’t show it to anyone, so nobody spends time with it).

If you promote your work, somebody experiences it. They may give you feedback or not; but at least somebody spent time with it. If they’re a good friend, they may appreciate how seriously you’re taking your work, and occasionally ask you questions; they may even connect you with someone they know, who can support you with your work.

In the beginning, it’s up to you to figure out how to promote your work, because nobody else will. (For example, if you’re just starting to write, here’s a list of things you can do to promote your writing.) It’s a lot of work—for me, writing a book was its own project, and promoting a book is an entirely separate project.

If you’re not “the type of person who likes to promote their own work,” check out this article. Or, accept the tradeoff of not promoting your work, and be willing to practice in obscurity.

The reality is, when everyone can do creative work, it’s not just the work and talent that distinguishes one from another; it’s also the reputation, the story, and the awareness.

See Hard Work, Plus, and Marketing as the sector of the future.

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