It’s Cyber-Monday today. The Black Friday of the internet. In the UK alone there is expected to be expenditure of over £650 million. It’s the worst of consumerism. The worst of capitalism. The worst of marketing and business.
But business and marketing aren’t bad. Like anything, in the right context, they can be good – it’s the abuse and excess which taints them.
Which brings me to art. There are many artists who have and do make their living from their art. The work they create pays the bills. And we all need to pay bills.
So, naturally, for anyone wanting to make a living from their work, there becomes a huge temptation to create work which we know will sell. To invest our talent into work we know people will buy, which there is a guaranteed market for. And to market this work intensively.
As any artist will tell you, there is a cost to the work we create. Both in time, energy and money. And in time I’ve discovered, if we want to create better quality work, help more people, and expand our reach, then business and marketing have to be part of what we do.
But there’s something missing here.
We need to balance authenticity with business and marketing. So how and why do we do this?
May Sarton once said “We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”.
Authenticity is vital in art. If we lose authenticity in our craft, the quality suffers. And if we allow ourselves to be consumed by money, success and marketing, we can lose authenticity, and we’ll never create the work we were born to make.
So, just how do we balance the authenticity and the reality of business and marketing?
This is the dance of the writer.
For a long time I struggled with the balance between authenticity and business. Between the desire to create pure art and use it to help others, and marketing it honestly.
Something about business and marketing sickened me. It felt fake. Wrong. It seemed like consumerism polluting the purity of art.
When I published my first two e-books, I myself got consumed by the need to please, impress, and create work which got more readers. But what happened is my work suffered. And it didn’t have the impact I desired either.
I created unauthentic work. And I nearly lost my writers heart. But good friends pointed this out to me before it was too late, and so I took a break from writing for the public – and it saved me and my writing.
Once I came out of this, I began to get in touch with my heart. I discovered the power of authentic writing.
But I also knew the reality. Business and marketing are vital to our work. There is a cost to creating great work – both in time, energy and money – and if we are to create great work, and want to keep improving and expanding our reach, there will come a point we can’t keep giving it away for free forever.
Then of course, there’s the marketing. Now we all know at it’s worst, marketing is deceitful, immoral and sells us fake stories about what life is about.
But to get our work out to as many people as we can – so we can help as many people as possible – we’re going to have to market it. Even sharing a blog post on social media, which costs nothing, is marketing.
What It’s All About
It’s about doing this ethically, honestly and with integrity.
And this is about our heart.
To maintain the integrity and authenticity of our work, there is one simple truth we must remember:
Business is a support system for art. Not the other way around. (you can tweet that)
To maintain authenticity, we must recognise making money, running a business, and marketing our work, is not the purpose of our work. It’s simply there to support our work.
Our primary goal has to be to create the best work we can, the most honest work, which comes from the very heart of who we are. And share it in a way which can benefit others, so they will be more willing to pay, and in our marketing, simply invite others into the story we’re telling.
Once I understood this, I realised there was a desperate need for someone to speak out about the dangers which the necessary worlds of marketing and business present, and how to balance this with authenticity
So I’ve been blogging about it. And now, I’ve written a book – which is available to you for free. Today and every day. You don’t need to spend a penny. Today I’m inviting you into a new story, to grow as a writer, to discover your true writers spirit, to maintain healthy balance in the rhythms of your life, and to recognise the realities of business and marketing, whilst never losing artistic integrity.
It’s quite short, and it’s available for free. Just fill in your name and e-mail below, and you’ll get it sent to you today.
Learn the dance of the writer – and how to let our art lead the dance, rather than business or marketing.
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