I am increasingly embracing a personal prioritization reboot when it comes to my artistic endeavors. In a nutshell, I am challenging myself to get back into making my art as the higher priority, and trying to market or sell it as a lessor one.
This goes in the face of many who suggest the exact opposite should be my next course. And I readily admit how many of them have works that I admire and that surely have penetrated into the lives of more of our planet’s billions of inhabitants; more than likely are any of mine. My decision to refocus on my creations rather than doubling down on past works’ promotions is not born of laziness, for I have and continue to work hard at outreach and always trying to communicate with anyone in the world of music, prose, or the larger art world. It is not my feeling dejected or depressed for I actually feel good inside about the issue as I debate it in my head. It is not my feeling sorry for myself or trying to illicit pity from you or anybody, for I detest such gigantic waste.
For me, at least, the issue has become one of sensing an atrophy of my piano playing ability, or my guitar progress as I’ve spent so much time on trying to promote that surely has driven down my practice time and communication with my muse.
Being an organized sort of man (often to the point of near-neurosis which artists are prone to do), I have spreadsheets galore and the resulting near paralysis of analysis regarding the size and scope of my comparative lack of success with my art. And I find that of late, I have more pages in my notes about my work in marketing my artworks than I have pages of actual artwork afoot. This will not do.
I’ve had to ask myself quite clearly: Is success to me completing the next 100 songs and literary projects which inspiration has come upon me for, or is it reaching thousands of people (or even millions) who might enjoy artworks already done? At least for the next year or so, I find myself smiling and inwardly saying, “shut up and play.” With the added caveat of ‘I play for myself’. I have always enjoyed small coffee house soiree’ playing more than stadiums – in fact I practically always detest large group behavior… so for me… shut up and play becomes a don’t even look up while you’re playing kind of a feeling.