My friend Martha Orlando inspired today’s column with Shine Your Light, a column she wrote at her on blog last month. In that column she wrote:
J. R. R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings, but hung onto it for twelve long years before even offering his masterpiece to a publisher. And this happened only after constant and unflagging encouragement by his friends and fellow authors finally dissolved Tolkien's will.
Where would the literary world be without hobbits and elves, dwarfs and wizards?
Art is supposed to be shared. This is something that has bothered me since another friend and fellow writer, Jason Marchi shook me loose from my own intimidation. In early 1990 after a three month writing seminar I joined a professional writer’s group and the first thing that was asked of everyone was:
Who has been published?
Who is marketing their work?
I felt embarrassed to say I was neither published nor was I marketing. My standard answer when this question arose was:
Oh, I only do this for me.
And that's what I said when the questions were posed to me. Were it not for Jason and that writer's group it would have been quite a bit longer before I began marketing my fiction. Soon after, I began following Robert A. Heinlein's Rules for Writing:
1.) You must write.
2.) You must finish what you write.
3.) You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4.) You must put the work on the market.
5.) You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.
You may very well be asking:
Why is Chris discussing writing in a photography blog?
Everything I mentioned above is easily transferable to the arts of any kind. Let's look at my reason for not sharing my work:
I do this for me.
Why? Why produce ANYTHING if you don't have a desire to share? Unless you are writing a diary. But if that's the case then why are you joining a group? If you're an artist, (a painter or a photographer) why are you creating art? If you're intimidated to show, get over it. Start small. Ask a local business if you can show your art. And make sure you price your art accordingly.
Art, writing, performance of any kind is not meant to stay hidden. Move out of the shadows. Bring your work into the light. Your audience needs to decide for themselves whether they like what you do. Give them the opportunity to make that decision.
In the meantime:
Focus on what’s ahead of you.