Reign It In

There’s a lesson you need to learn, and learn quickly, as you go out and start doing art shows, book shows, conventions, or get involved in putting together events – the need to reign it in.

What you find, in all of those scenarios, is that you are entering a world that while new to you has existed for a while, and because you are entering it you are suddenly disrupting things.  This doesn’t mean you are trying to do anything bad, or wrong, or will ill intent, but that in all of these areas there is a lot of passion, a lot of investment (personal and financial) and a lot of time has been spent to establish these things and people so as soon as you start joining the party it creates a ripple effect.  And some people will welcome you and others won’t, and you just have to roll with it and understand – the quicker the better – that any poor reception to you and what you do may be simply because you’re new, and not because you are You.  The Arts are very volatile, and things have gotten very compacted.  People don’t look to a great variety of the Arts for entertainment right now and there is not much funding for it so it makes things difficult to find places to sell, promote, and to connect.  You joining the party just makes it that much more compacted.  So there are bound to be some colored feelings towards what you are doing.

The thing is though, people need to get over it.

No one owns the Arts, or any arm thereof. There needs to be new artists, writers, conventions, art shows, movies, music, everything. We need the inspiration and outlet.  We need to keep pushing our universe outward.  An example is that a lot of traditional writers hate/d e-books.  They’re a perversion of the Art.  Well, the market changed.  Tech changed.  People’s needs changed.  And unless we’re willing to let literature and stories disappear we all need to accept that the Times change and we need to evolve with them.  The wise writers stopped fighting and the rest, well, the rest are waiting for the asteroid to finish them off with the rest of the dinosaurs.

With so many of us using social networking to promote, sell, and connect it also makes things much more pressurized because comments are instantaneous, feedback is immediate, and grudges can form and become arguments and spin out of control in a matter of moments.  The temptation to return fire when someone starts calling your work, your professionalism, and what you are doing into question is too strong sometimes to resist.  And once you respond you can easily forget that you’re online, that what you are saying is being seen by the world, and that what may have been a mere disagreement or misunderstanding can suddenly become a caustic war that damages both sides. You get so wrapped up in the pettiness that you lose sight of the bigger picture and that is your reputation.

People pay far more attention to petty squabbles than we think.  Our minor wars that we may get over in a matter hours or days will leave a stain that lasts far longer.  So for the price of our frustration, for the price of letting someone get to us, or for our own hubris in thinking we have the right to attack others we have damaged our own cause.  Perhaps fatally wounding it and all the work you’d done.  And that is what people forget – that the good things we do last but that the bad things seem to last forever.  At least as far as forever can last in this digital age.  Mounting a campaign of hate on someone, what they do, who they are, or what you think they are saying about you will only lead to damaging your own credibility and all of the work you’ve been doing.

Reign it in.

You have to.

The internet and social networking is not the place for vendettas, grudges, or romantic drama. It can’t be because our social networks are our new faces to the world.  That’s why we post happy things, happy pictures, and all of the great things we do in our lives and not the struggles we have, the sadness, the sorrow, and the frustrations.  Sure, some of us are less filtered than others but even then we must be aware of what we’re putting out there.  And that is even more important when it comes to professional work.  A loved one or friend may forgive our temporary madness but the world often will not.  So we must reign it in and always remember that in business of any sort, even in the Arts, you have to treat everyone better than they treat you because you never know when you’ll need a friend, a favor, a job, or a new client.

It’s hard.

It sucks.

But if you can’t keep control of your temper and cannot watch what you put online and out to the world when you are upset then maybe the focus needs to be more on that, and less on what dream projects you may have stirring within.



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