Notebooks of prose, folders filled with paintings, and hard drives worth of music. What do these items have in common? They’re languishing in storage instead of sharing the artist’s unique perspective with the world. There’s no overnight solution to become comfortable with publicly sharing your art, but there are four pieces of advice from a creative who has been in the exact spot that you are today.
Know where your worth lies
Before you can become comfortable sharing your art publicly, we need to establish the foundation of creativity. Your worth doesn’t come from your art’s public reception. It lies inside of you, as wonderfully creative human.
When we focus on this instead of how our art is received, we can begin living a more creatively fulfilling life. We’ll still experience the racing heart and sweaty palms before hitting “publish”, but it won’t stop us because we now lean into the fear instead of away from it.
Disappointment is a feeling every creative is going to experience, and it helps breed resiliency. We also don’t want it to crush us. When the fear makes us grip our art tight against our chest, the best starting place is a small release. It gives you the confidence to continue sharing while limiting the disappointment that could make us hide and never share our art again.
If you would rather share with strangers than friends, create another Instagram, Behance, or YouTube account. Begin by sharing one piece a week, which offers two benefits. First, you’ll grow comfortable sharing. Second, you’ll be forced to create and explore more, which is never a bad thing.
Once you begin to see the feedback (both positive and negative), your confidence will grow so you can share even more of your work. For those who are still hesitant, I have a bit of tough love:
Share your work anyway
At a certain point, we just need to share our art publicly. I bet your work is far more incredible than you give yourself credit for. Expanding our comfort zones isn’t for the faint of heart, but the relationships we build always makes it worth it.
You may not find your audience right away, but you will find them. You’ll unearth a creative community that’s grounded in the belief that everyone’s work has value, and will help you become the best artist you can be.
But before that can happen, you need to begin sharing your work.
Focus on the positive outcome
When we’re about to take on a challenge, our minds often go to the worst case scenario. Dress tucked into our underwear at an open mic, forgetting part two of a four-part work for a gallery opening four hours away, our audience hating our video, the trolls coming out to feed… the list goes on.
Let’s reframe this situation. What is everything that could go right? The audience loves your piece, your video gets twice as many views, and you’re offered more work.
Even the “worst” experience of your life won’t always have the sting of embarrassment. Anyone who shares their art publicly risks embarrassment and leans into the feat because they can’t not share their work. This is where we want to be.
Whether your public space is an art gallery on a Friday night or YouTube’s search results, your work is important. It’s okay to take it slow, but it’s not okay to avoid it. You have an incredible voice that shouldn’t remain hidden in notebooks, folders, and hard drives. Commit to sharing your art publicly, because it’s one of the most rewarding experiences artists can have.