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Following count for creatives

You don’t need a large following to be a successful creative.

You don’t even need public social media accounts to be successful.

As tempting as it is to focus on metrics and numbers, this can be a distraction from the real work.

Foster the relationships you have and connect with the people who need you. Focus on your true fans, the ones who love you and all that you stand for. Your fans want to support and recognize the contributions you’re putting out into the world, and your art will speak for itself.

Your energy is a precious resource, especially when it comes to creating. Pay attention to where you’re focusing this energy.

We need you and your art, not your attempts to please an ever-changing algorithm.

Celebrating all entrepreneurs and creatives

To those who refuse to give up, those who won’t turn their backs on dreams;

Those who wake at all hours of the night with a new idea, a new vision, a new challenge to solve;

Those who push past naysayers and doubters, who instead choose to listen to their own voice, no matter how small the whisper;

To those brave enough to return to the drawing board, pick up the pen, revisit, redraw, rewrite, edit for the 1,237th time;

To those who build communities of people with energy and light, people who champion innovators and creators;

To those who cheer on others just like them, others choosing life of action over apathy —

You are seen. You are valued. You are loved.

Keep going.

Behind the scenes

Most people don’t see the hours of practice, the nights of silence, the thinking, the planning, the frustrations, the worrying, the sacrifice.

They see only a snapshot: A product, a final cut, a performance, the last edit.

True artists know that the work is rarely finished. It’s back to the drawing board. More nights at the desk, more late hours in the office, more emails and meetings and calls.

True artists won’t let someone else’s snapshot alter their own value or vision. These artists will continue to quietly strive, working to perfect their art and their craft. They know there may never be an end, but they are grateful to have summoned enough courage to pursue their own unique path.

Let’s go to an art residency for one hour, every day

Writing residencies spoil people.

I just finished one month completely devoted to artistic creation. The schedule was up to me, when I wanted to work, for how long and on what. I was surrounded by other energetic artists who were on their own programs — some stayed up all night holed up in their studios, others spent afternoons baking cakes and cookies in the communal kitchen. I could go for long walks in the morning or take a yoga class at night. Aside from a weekly group check-in, the agenda was totally up to me.

The setting was magical (Woodstock, NY) and buildings historic (founded in 1902), but the greatest gift was time. I was taken from my day-to-day responsibilities and placed in an entirely new environment. My sole aim: To focus on the creative pursuit of my choosing.

It was luxurious.

And I realize, not entirely practical.

Two days before the residency ended, I panicked. How am I going to finish what I started? I am going back into the “real world” where tasks and duties and meetings and schedules and a full email inbox await. I understand residencies are temporal and intermittent and not everyone can take a month out of their life to do art.

A fellow writer at the residency had a invaluable answer I want to share with you.

One hour.

One hour a day, she said, whenever it suits you. In the morning, in the evening, in the late afternoon. Set a timer and write. No more, no less. One hour. When that alarm goes off, you turn off, put the pen down, close the computer and walk away.

I can do that, I think. And so can you.

For this next month, let’s commit one hour every day to focus on our goals. To create. To write. To do the work, whatever that means to you.

Note: I’m not saying a finished piece in thirty days. We’re only holding each other accountable for clocking in time. Sixty daily uninterrupted minutes. We’re creating our own artist residency together, and it doesn’t require travel or communal living or time off from work/school/family.

Let’s do this. Tweet me, message me, let me know what you’re working on.