The last few evenings I have been working on my New Year’s blogs about how to write your first (or third) book. I find I am overwhelmed with the amount of information I think is important — things I have heard, things I have learned.
I suppose this is like writing a book.
Who is your audience? How much do they know? How much do they want to know?
Not everyone is going to need or heed your advice. Some are way past you on the writing highway. Others are going to do things their way, no matter what you suggest. Some will read your book/blog like an astrology forecast; they will skim through, take what they believe is meant for them and skip the rest. Others will read what you write with a depth and desire matched only by connoisseurs of fine chocolates.
I suppose all artists experience this range of wondering. Will the viewer like this new shade of blue/green? Do they prefer landscapes to abstract designs? Are potential fans encouraged or discouraged by alien worlds? Would they rather read about their own neighborhood?
Fortunately the world is as diverse as the universe. Some will take heed on what you say; some will reject every point you make. Some people know it all; some know nothing.
You just have to find a comfortable point and go with it.
Now, of course, artists have to please themselves first. What good is a “calling” when you’re doing everything but what your soul wants you to do?
But in order to be appreciated, to be understood, in order to share your vision, you have to kind of cater to the masses too. An all-black painting with a white dot might not stir much reaction; an all-black painting with blue and green stipples might stir a darker soul.
Of course, I only have a writing frame of reference to work from. Many of you have been lost in your art for a long time. So who should know more about what works in the world in your field than you?
Should you want to sell your wares or get a major reaction down the line, you need to focus in on those who appreciate your particular style.
Who would that be?
Research is next to godliness (and cleanliness). There will always be a hundred other people who make pottery like you or needlepoint like you, but there is only one you. You have to research people and websites and craft groups and writers groups and art fairs and work with them to spread the word.
Your website, your business card, your postings, all have to be different from everyone else’s. You have to appeal to the masses while keeping that smaller niche all to yourself.
Don’t downplay yourself, don’t undersell yourself. Don’t be who you are not. There is a market for everyone. Even if that market is your friends and kids. That’s not a bad market, either.
You will find that if you reach out and make others feel good about their art, that’s just a bonus for moving forward.
Tomorrow…(or more likely over the weekend)… some bloggers and their artwork and their wares.