Monday, July 23, 2007

A Permission Slip

Why is it that people with tons of talent do not always reach the success they seem to deserve? On the other hand, some artists who are not quite so amazing, still manage to reach a certain degree of visibility and success. Why is that?

Most of us are not amazingly talented. We try to make the best of whatever gifts we have been given. But, if we do not pay attention to the work involved in getting our work out into the world, then our gifts, no matter how modest, will remain obscure. I am sure you have already figured out that it is not all about talent and ability. The cream does not always rise to the top. Why not? And if the very talented people do not necessarily succeed, what chances do we have??

The world is not static. It is moving at light speed these days. Cream can only reliably rise to the top if everything is very still. We have information coming at us from all different directions today. We can not possibly absorb all that comes our way.

So if you sit quietly, and wait for someone to notice you and your gifts, sad to say, it probably will not happen. No matter how wonderful and talented you are. You have to risk the bumps and bruises and get out there. You have to take chances. You have to stand up and get moving.

I think we sometimes are waiting for permission. Someone to tap us with their wand and say, "Okay, you are ready." Today you are ready to apply to that show you always wanted to be in. Today you are ready to take your work into that gallery that you adore. Today you are ready to run an ad for your work. Today you are ready to enter that contest. By waiting for that day to come we are also waiting for the guarantee of success.

Sorry. It ain't gonna happen. Ask any artist whose work you admire, who has a list of accomplishments you envy. Ask them how many times they have been rejected, turned down, or otherwise dismissed. The list will be longer than the list of enviable accomplishments. The list is probably continuing to grow. The rejections. The mistakes made. The bad shows. It happens to the most wonderful and amazingly talented, and successful, artists out there.

The difference is that the successful ones shrug their shoulders, maybe whine a bit, and then move on. They find the next target and start working towards it. They accept the road is bumpy. But they would rather be on the road, making the journey, than sitting on the side.

So where are you? Are you firmly planted on the side of the road? Are you looking from the side, planning to jump in? Or are you in the mix? Bumped and bruised, but recognizing this is how you learn and grow. This is how your work gets seen by more people. This is how you make connections and contacts that may help you out along the way. If you are willing to take the chance, and get out onto the road, you will go places and see things you never would have been able to before.

If you are holding back because of fear, it is time to let go and be willing to make a mistake or two. Mistakes happen. All you can do is try. There really are no fatal blunders in this game. No mistakes that cannot be corrected with some work. But there are many lessons that can only be learned by doing. Making the attempt.

So consider your permission slip signed. You can leave the classroom and go on a field trip of sorts. Set a target, and take a shot. Give it a try. I am not guaranteeing success or fame or fortune. But I can guarantee, by sitting quietly and waiting for someone to find you and your work, you will be disappointed. Being discovered is a story for the movies. This is real life we are living. It takes hard work and determination. What is your target set on?


Trina said...

OK. OK. I did register at ETSY. Now I just have to go put some things up. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

Anonymous said...

Great advice. Now I just need to make the time to work on my ideas and put them into concrete form so that I can push them out into the world.


permission slip fairy, please sign one for me. :)