I am an introvert. But I am also a creative person. I write and paint. And there lies the rub. If you are a creative person you need to have the courage to publish your work. Today, times are better than ever in history for people who want to reach an audience.
With every blog post I state my opinion and I sometimes choose sides. I try not to insult or attack others, except call congressmen knuckleheads. Stating my opinions and feelings exposes me in several ways. First, being an introvert I am naturally reserved and I don’t want to be in the limelight. But when I say something stupid, I am right out there, front and center, obvious as a fool to all.
Supposedly Lincoln once said: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.”
I remove all doubt every day on this blog. People read these things, form an opinion, sometimes learn something, often agree, more often disagree, and sometimes they repost or refer to my posts.
Copying somebody’s work without attribution would be plagiarism. But re-blogging is like bestowing an honor. It’s like taking my work, giving it to somebody else and saying: “Check this out, you will benefit from it.”
In the world of writing, everyone with the will to collect his thoughts can publish today. You don’t need to make it past an editor, you don’t need to find a publisher. You can write, and publish yourself immediately. If it’s garbage, nobody will read it. If it’s good, you will establish a readership and a following. That’s where it starts. Writing on the blank screen and hitting the Publish button.
The same is true for artists. Every time I finish a painting, I take a picture of it and I publish it online. Just so I can share. Sometimes people have used my work and, as they should, given me credit back by a link to my blog or by adding my name. Other times, they may have just taken my work. I will never know. But even then I am honored. My work was good enough for somebody to think it valuable enough to take it and use it for something.
Sometimes I go to art shows and I look what other people are doing. Here are artists that pay a thousand dollars for a booth for a couple of days, hang up a bunch of pictures, label and price them, and wait for people to come by and buy them.
What always gets me is when artists put up signs on their walls disallowing people to take pictures of their work. This is pretty hard to enforce, now that every human being runs around with a high quality camera on their belt or in their purse. I cannot understand the attitude of the artist. Here is a great $2000 painting in a booth at a street fair. Some young person, perhaps an art student, likes the painting enough to want to take a picture of it to check it out later. But the artist gets upset. What does the artist think the viewer is going to do with the picture? Sell it? Copy it and make a similar painting that he is going to sell for $1999? Steal the idea and make a better painting?
Goodness, it’s the artist’s business to get the work out into the world. If enough people come around and take pictures of their work, perhaps their work and their names will reach the right person one day.
Are they really thinking that the only value they get is from somebody pulling out a checkbook and writing a $2000 check?
Artists with signs on their booths disallowing photographs turn me off completely and I walk on to the next booth, where I might be more welcome.
As a writer or an artist, we have to have the courage to put our best work out there, and then see what happens.
But that is hard, especially being an introvert.