Your Friends Hate Your Art

If you’re looking to succeed in some sort of creative endeavor, then your biggest enemy will be apathy. At some point or another, you’re going to create things that you’re damn proud of, maybe things that you’ve never been prouder of and your first inclination will be to share what you’ve made. If you do (and you should) you first need to prepare yourself for the fact that nobody is going to give a shit, not as much as you do. It sounds terribly negative, but it’s a fact. It’s just something that you need to get used to or the disappointment will crush you; it will eradicate all artistic impulse. When people say to create out of love, and they say that because if you don’t create out of love; if you create with the desire to be accepted and appreciated and validated, then you will lose your goddamned mind; you’ll give up. 

The truth is that until you hit some magic tipping point where the outside world recognizes you as an artist, the majority of your friends and family will react with apathy, and remain consumed by their own lives. It’s not something that you should get angry about. They haven’t done anything wrong. It’s just that they will never know how important it is to you. They will never understand how much you are risking. They will never see that you’re determining your future upon the spine of small successes. They will never understand how fickle Facebook algorithms are and how import their likes and share are. It simply isn’t their responsibility.

If you are going to succeed then it’s your responsibility to go get fans; to find strangers and lure them onto your bandwagon. The biggest mistake that artists make when starting out is relying upon those close to them to support them and evangelize to the world. Sure it would be nice to get some retweets, some likes on Facebook and Instagram, it would be really nice if people posted your blogs to Reddit or linked your site on theirs…but they aren’t gonna do that. They’re gonna smile, double tap & move on to the picture of someone’s dog drinking beer or even worse they’re gonna miss it.  It’s just the way that things work. We, as cellphone-toting, social-media-mainlining, TV-as-background-noise abusing Americans, are just completely fucking overloaded with information and at a certain point the brain just shuts off. It powers down. We can’t absorb anything more.

Your friends don’t hate you. They don’t dislike you. In their hearts they support you. So don’t stew. Go get fans. Go look for people who want to consume what you create and let your friends just be your friends. Go find people who are eager to know when your next book is coming out or when your new art is going up on Etsy. Go find people who Google your name paired with the word “naked.” OK maybe not them, but you get the gist. Take that burden off the backs of those you love. Take that judgement off of yourself. 

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Categorized as Thoughts

By C.A. Hall

Writer / Podcaster I'm a well-written sentence marred by a curse word. In another life I might have been a criminal profiler, a jazz drummer, an architect, an acrobat, an actor, or a children’s book illustrator.