Many times, when we’re creating new work, there’s an idea that the audience is in place to help us fulfill our dreams. Whether it’s writing a book that we’re sure people will want to read, or writing a play that should pack the house, creators frequently fall into the trap of believing that the people who could be interested in consuming their work care deeply about the success or failure of any given artist.
While it’s occasionally the case that an audience will develop a relationship with their favorite creators, most often, audience members want nothing more from creators than to consume the next thing they’ve made, and not always on the schedule that will best help the creators.
Oftentimes, this can lead to a lot of frustration. I have seen many posts on social media from creators, especially newer creators, who think that the audience should be as invested in their success as they are, and can get actively angry with their audiences for not assisting with their creative careers.
Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn has a terrific line about helping creative people. “I can’t want this for you more than you want it for yourself.”
To me, this means that there isn’t one other person out there who can help you more than you can help yourself. While your audience may be motivated to share your work, retweet your best Twitter posts, like, share, subscribe, and be your advocate, it is in no way their job to help you beyond consuming the things you make that they want to.
That last part is most important to me. Everyone who likes your stuff won’t like all your stuff, and trying to get everyone in your audience to be so invested in your work that they’ll become super-advocates for it will lead to nothing more than frustration.
Be your own advocate. Let your audience care about your work as much as they can, but remember that your success or failure as an artist isn’t any of their concern.