Random thoughts pop to my mind from time to time, inspired by a brief experience in the world: a song lyric, a line in a book, a fleeting sound or sight on a walk, or any of the above in a film or TV show. Or from anything else. Ideas come from everywhere and anywhere at any time.
I’ve taken to the practice of capturing those thoughts when they arise. I usually do that thinking I’m going to write a sentence or two that feels profound to me at the moment. Nuggets worthy of exploration and mulling over time. But it often leads to writing more, filling out something that feels more or less like a blog post, rather than a one-liner.
I’ve noticed in the process that those spur-of-the-moment drafts are left unpolished and calling on me to “finish” it later. It’s the “later” that leads to procrastination or never again picking up the thoughts where I left them to give them shine. They lie idle as unfinished writings when the inspiration and flow that had been is gone.
So I’ve come to an idea of sharing these less as polished gems of thought so much as the whimsical inspirations they are. I’m going to make this a practice as an occasional series of sorts, which I’m calling “Thoughts on: (blank).” It’s a tool for capturing and sharing these randomly appearing thoughts.
I like creative series. I like organized ways of packaging up ongoing threads and ideas. And doing it this way will allow me to follow through with the initial sparks of thought, giving them purpose and making them shareable in their own way.
So here we go, with some unpolished Thoughts On: Audience …
Exhibiting and publishing work is not about pandering to an audience’s taste. It’s about doing the work that is mine to do and then trusting the audience it’s meant to reach will find it. It’s about doing the work that appeals to me, and trusting those who share in that taste will show up to receive it. We don’t control who or if/when/why anyone shows up to our work. But we must do it just the same.
As an artist, the work, the experience, the listening is inward more than it’s outward. The rewards likewise are inward more than outward. A sale of work is nice, but is it the priority, the motivator? If it is, we’re quite possibly talking about different work.
It’s been a challenging lesson to surrender to, but my work must first be for me. Whether an audience ever is drawn to my work or not, and I hope one is, I will know I’ve done the work that was mine to do. The relationship between me, creativity and audience will be true and real when that happens.
I can make money in countless ways. I can only make my creative work in one way: “mine,” the singular way in which I’m intuitively guided by forces I can’t logically understand or claim.
When I apply logic and strategy, rules and ambition to my work, the real purpose, the truth and true value of it is lost. My work is that genuine experience and expression of self that courses through me.
Luck, that intersection of preparation and circumstance, will bring opportunity (audience and money) and truth (my singular creativity) together if and when … but not by my attempts to force it.