[ 3 min read ]
Diary of an artist, Thursday, January 23, 2020
Woke up 4:00 am
I continue where I left off yesterday.
When your self-confidence starts to wane it obviously (naturally) becomes harder and harder to continue to believe that what you do actually is good. That what you have to say matters. That your whole life philosophy isn’t broken.
And it becomes easier and easier for the people (some of whom might care about you in earnest) to convince you that your thinking is broken, that you could be delusional (as if they weren’t), that you need to be brought back to earth, that you need to do something else.
I think it really is the way Gary Vaynerchuk said it is. If you care about the opinions of others, if you care about the recognition and accolades, and awards and invitations to speak at events, or to interviews (where only people who are viewed as successful are invited, those who already made it), or articles being written or videos being made about you, then you will struggle a lot. The journey will be hard as hell.
The fact that others got their first sign of recognition and awards (and it became much easier for them, at least for a while — the conventional success really breeds more conventional success, I mean you really need to be a true half-wit not to be able to take advantage of your first significant conventional success which naturally comes with recognition, because various people only wait to be able to capitalize on your success, people who have done it a hundred times before and who know how to do it a again) and you didn’t, will mess with your brain.
I think that what I’m about to write also appeared in at least one of my pieces before. I think it was easier for creatives (and maybe for people in general) in the pre social media world to create. Not to promote and try to sell their work, or look for funders of their projects (this I think got a lot easier), but to stay in the game (not to get bogged down with, and not to constantly check how well you fare compared to other people who try to do the same). People in the pre social media era didn’t constantly check the likes and comments (if there are any, or how many there are), or how many people viewed their stuff, or how many people followed or unfollowed them, or subscribed to or unsubscribed from their channel. They did none of those things because it was impossible to do them. This world didn’t exist back then.
So I guess it must have been easier for creatives in the previous era to stay in the game and not to develop self-doubt this quickly. Because even if social media gives you the chance to reach a lot of people (something you could only dream of in the pre-social media world, even as a famous human being), and even if some of them told you that they like or even love what you do, you can still very easily become obsessed with all those numbers and stats and want more, and become disappointed that it takes too long, or that others have more, or that they were able to accomplish way more in a way shorter time, or that their work trumps yours (and in that moment you obviously forget to factor in that most probably you’ve just compared yourself to someone who has been doing the same thing at least couple of years longer), and so on and so forth.
Paying attention to what other people do and how they fare wasn’t that much of a problem in the pre social media world. But then again, there are certain advantages to being able to see what all those people around the world do. So I’m not saying the pre social media reality was better in general. I’m saying that comparing your results to the results (especially numbers and skills) of others wasn’t that much of a problem.
Books I’m currently reading:
Oscar Wilde: A Life in Letters (on iBooks)
End of a Berlin Diary By William L. Shirer (on Scribd)
Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York (on Scribd)
YouTube videos and movies (since my last diary entry):
Erratum (on Netflix)
Sand Castle (on Netflix)
Bukowski reads “The Secret of My Endurance”
WNYC Street Shots: Bruce Gilden
NYC Street Photography POV // Street Diaries ep. 01
best $5 purchase of my life
Ideas are Only as Good as the Execution
New York City street photography — “Characters of New York City” by Pim Hendriksen
Music for this writing session: Antonio Vivaldi (on spotify)