I’ve written about this before, how obsessing over numbers on social media can make me miserable. And I might be beating a dead horse with this new post, but apparently it’s still needs to be worked out of my system. It’s source is typically in that conundrum of working umpteen hours on a painting I’m proud of to have it flop on social media, verses doing a fast sketch that gets triple the love. It makes me shake my head in frustration, rail my fists at the social media gods, and even slump into minor bouts of depressive thinking. Maybe I should just quit? Why am I even doing all this work? What is the point?
Let’s just look at those questions a little closer.
Maybe I should just quit? This isn’t even a realistic question. Let’s be honest, I’m never going to quit. I love being creative so much so that quitting would be a greater injury to my soul than continuing on with no recognition at all. Which leads me realize that recognition and reward drive none of what I do. Surprised? So am I. Turns out I don’t actually need it to create. That painting I spent hours pouring my heart into, the one I was actually proud of, that’s my reward. The joy of capturing what I wanted, the sense of real accomplishment are far greater gifts than any number of likes on Instagram or Facebook. And now that I have realized this, I have also inadvertently answered my other two questions above as well. I do the work because the process is fulfilling. I love the process. I create because I love creating, that is the point, and honestly, it needs nothing more.
Now this is not to say that all the likes, comments, and interactions on social media mean nothing to me. They mean a great deal in the sense that they help me to make a living. Every interaction here helps my family buy groceries. It means I can work from home, and care for my son who cannot be alone. These are deeply meaningful things. However, what I cannot do is base my intrinsic worth as an artist on the interactions I receive here. Social media is a fickle friend, and while I might need her to survive, she doesn’t deserve to be in charge of my heart.
There, done, I think perhaps I’ve got this now. Hopefully it resonated with some of your hearts as well. <3
2 thoughts on “What is the Point?”
Oh, so good. I have noticed the same. Some of the things I post are written in blood. They have cost me plenty and were a struggle to write, but I knew there was gold in them. Apparently no one else, or at least very few noticed the sparkle. I don’t even check stats most of the time anymore. I am realizing that the blogs I struggle with are mostly the result of my need to process something that matters only to me and a handful of others. They are not without value — just without hits.
Some of the things I’ve posted are more like quick sketches on the back of a junk mail letter. But something about them caught the attention of readers. Sometimes, like last week, something I wrote in 15 minutes caught the attention of someone with a large following. He shared it and within a few hours it had 6000 hits — 10,000 by the next day. I desperately wanted to back and polish it, but too late.
Sometimes I think of serious composers who spent years writing symphonies and oratorios only to have their fame and professional reputation hang on a simple silly ditty they wrote for a school play. Bobby McFerrin is a brilliant classical and jazz musician. What is he known for? “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.”
Fame is fickle. God is good. Sometimes I need a reminder not to get those confused.
Blessings, my beautiful, talented friend. You are already famous in heaven!
I love this – thank you so much for sharing!!!!! <3