I saw a post today. One of my Facebook “friends” was complaining about how people who swear are the worst. Low class. No vocabulary to speak of. Vulgar as fuck.
And on that post were at least 28 other people commenting about the death of politeness and how people who swear are the devil incarnate. It made me think about a flock of chickens all gathering around to peck peck peck.
Maybe the thing they’re pecking offends them. (Golly, someone swearing online! Oh boy!) Maybe they think it shouldn’t be doing what it is doing so they’re fixing it. (Remember the olden days when things were good?) Maybe they’re bored. (Netflix can fix that.)
This is what happens to artists who get visible. When they step up on the online stage and tell people to pay attention to them and their work.
Peck! Your art isn’t true art.
Peck! Who do you think you are?
Peck! You’re doing it wrong.
And so on. Pick a complaint, anyone who has any kind of online visibility has seen it or experienced it directed at them. These people sit around and think that their work is to ensure that the world acts the way they think it should.
Your job as an artist is to focus on your work.
Your job is to make your art.
Your job is to share your art.
The people who complain, judge, comment and more do not deserve your time and energy. In fact, what they say about you is none of your business.
Yes, it can be easier said than done. I’ve been on the receiving end of people who “tell it like it is” and how it is, according to them, isn’t how I am. Often, they are less than polite while decrying the death of politeness. Usually the complaints surround my excessive use of the vernacular and then they call me a fucking bitch.
At these moments, you have to make a decision. Are you living YOUR life or THEIR life? In the big picture, do they really matter at all?
Hint: the answer is no.
People who have work to do, and actually do it, don’t tend to spend a lot of time spreading hate or trolling. People who aren’t doing their work, and yet want to feel better about themselves regardless, are trolls.
Really embrace this: YOU are doing YOUR WORK. Your work is to make your art. Your work is to share or sell it. You work is to make more art. Your work includes showing up authentically as yourself. Only you can decide what that means.
When you do your work, you ought to feel pretty good about it. You’re not looking around seeking validation from other people, or you shouldn’t be, because you’re in a bubble of making art and selling it and making it and selling it.
If anyone tries to burst that bubble, they don’t belong in your world. Block. Remove. Ignore. And then don’t think about them again.
If they are not focused on their work, whatever it may be, they do not deserve an ounce of your time and energy.
Just picture them as a flock of chickens pecking at stones on the ground. Pointless work. Fluffing their feathers. Making noise. Accomplishing nothing.
They don’t matter. Go, do what you were born to do. Go make your art.
Paula Mould is a fine artist, published author and business coach for Leigh & Paula. They emancipate artists from sitting under the doctrine of the gatekeepers who keep them chained to a life of failure and starvation. She also swears, mostly on purpose.
Their book, Sell MORE Art is now available on Amazon worldwide.