How To Be Successful And Cut Through The Clutter
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass
I would go as far as calling that quote profound.
Hat-tip to my friend James Meny for sharing this with me.
Not only does this quote apply to artists and their art, but also to artists and the art of marketing their art.
The art of making people aware of good art is marketing.
Marketing is an art…it needs equal attention.
It’s all about authenticity these days, which is why the market valuations for Snapchat are crushing every other social media platform. There’s your proof.
Many artists have broken wide open and enlisted throngs of fans through YouTube videos because they were authentic to the extent that it was THEM performing. What they were performing wasn’t as important how they were performing it and the fact that they were the performer.
Authenticity is why I am so excited about the new music industry! It’s been long overdue for a disruption of this magnitude.
We’re right in the middle of this industry chaos and those that can’t or won’t adapt will suffer. But those that see the real opportunity will THRIVE.
Authenticity is why the new music business belongs to the true artists. You may not see that just now, but I do.
So, the reality is that you’re not wanting to quit because it’s hard to get your music out there, you’re wanting to quit because you’re not authentic…yet.
You’re either not authentic with your art or you’re not authentic with your marketing…or both.
The writing is on the wall and it’s as plain as the nose on your face.
This quote is talking about the process an artist must endure finding their authenticity, isn’t it?
Your authentic self, the raw, unique inner soul in your music and your marketing comes to you as you engage in the process.
Your job is just to practice.
Sounds easy enough!
For the over-thinkers, the self-proclaimed “researchers”, and “perfectionists” who use these monikers as an excuse to wait, your job is just to do.
I can absolutely PROMISE that you will never lay down all the necessary rail road track for your journey in advance of adding the train.
Life is about laying just enough track to stay ahead of the train.
Your job is just to practice your art.
Your job is just to practice your marketing.
Until you practice your instrument, your songwriting, and your marketing, the music will never come. Period.
You won’t create effective, killer marketing until you endure the process of working on it.
Your job is to practice.
There are no excuses for not doing your job. Period.
The market, meaning potential fans, professional business relationships, and peers will simply not tolerate anyone who claims to be an artist and doesn’t do the work.
It’s so easy to spot the artists who declare themselves authentic but clearly haven’t endured enough of the process.
It’s a turnoff.
Y’all constantly tell me that your biggest challenges are in marketing but few of you work that hard at it.
Most of you ignore it completely.
You won’t close the gap without the work.
Your job is to practice.
Let me be even clearer, your job is to practice WITH NO EXPECTATIONS whatsoever other than doing the job of an apprentice.
You must become a student of apprenticeship.
This means you need information, guidance, mentors, teachers, education, and humility to find that authenticity…that inner voice.
When you begin to truly start the journey, on your art, in your marketing, the immediate result is an increase in your passion.
People are moved by passion.
People respond to passion.
It’s one thing to have a God given talent.
It’s something else altogether to have a talent and passion.
I know several amazingly talented individuals who just don’t give a damn.
You may know someone like this. Maybe you’re envious and think to yourself, “I would be a star if I had that much talent.”
But the truth is, you both suffer from the same preventable disease, apathy in marketing.
The drive you seek, the drive you’re missing (true authenticity) will come in your art the more you practice.
The authenticity you seek and the impact you want in the marketplace will come the more you practice.
Your CONFIDENCE will blossom with preparation in your art and repetition in your marketing.
Confucius says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.
Think about that for a second, won’t you?
The more you work on your art and your marketing, the more you close the gap.
As you close the gap, you get closer and closer to true authenticity.
As you close the gap, you will inevitably become increasingly familiar with your true, inner voice.
Since every human is unique (even twins have different unique fingerprints!) the byproduct of finding your true inner voice is originality, innovation, ingenuity, and creativity.
As you become more original, your PASSION begins to swell (you can’t help it).
Don’t you dare confuse passion with arrogance, cockiness, or bravado because they are decidedly different things.
You can’t fool us. Only passion cuts through the clutter. If the true passion is swathed in arrogance, cockiness, and bravado, that’s different!
The more your passion begins to swell, the more the market place begins to respond to your passion.
Your audience will grow at live shows, on social media, and YouTube.
As your passion and your audience grows, the teachers and mentors will come out of the woodwork.
The opportunities will truly be ABUNDANT!!
Here’s the rub.
This whole reality starts with one ugly four letter word.
W O R K.
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