Following trends is not always going to lead you toward success. The best way to achieve creative growth is to work on personal projects you are passionate about pursuing. Even if you don’t end up reaching success in the traditional sense, you will be able to consider yourself successful because you will be doing what you love.
Here are a few ways to create more meaningful work in 2019:
1. Work on whatever brings out your passionate side. Instead of creating work based on what you think will get you a job, create work based on what you know you are passionate about pursuing. Showcase your own personal interests and beliefs as an extension of your vision. It will be much easier to create when you are interested in the topic at hand. Not to mention, your audience will be able to tell the difference between work you felt forced to make and work that comes straight from the heart.
2. Work with smaller, conscious brands. You don’t have to partner with wealthy, well-known corporations in order to make a name for yourself in a creative industry. You can work with smaller brands in order to send a meaningful message to your audience. That way, you will still be able to make a living doing what you love, but you won’t be sacrificing your morals in the process.
3. Don’t worry about what anyone else will think. Stop worrying about how many views or likes a piece will get. Stop worrying about what your audience is going to say when they see your finished project. Stop worrying about outside opinions when the only person you should be concerned about is yourself. Do what you love. While you’re creating, no one else matters. You can worry about marketing yourself later.
4. Broaden your perspective. Don’t stick to reading books on bestseller lists and flipping through award winning photography. Follow smaller artists with strong, cult followings on social media. Watch the way they experiment with their craft. Learn from their mistakes and successes. You can even consider reaching out to them for collaborations. Allow yourself to be inspired by underrated artists, not just household names.
5. Ask yourself what you wish you would see more on social media, on shelves, and in galleries. Instead of following trends, create a new trend. If there is a topic you wish your favorite artist covered, you can take charge and cover it yourself. Create the type of content you would love to see in the world. There are people out there, like you, who will appreciate what you have to say. They will be proud of you for following your heart instead of following market trends.
6. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Don’t shy away from the truth. The most successful artists are unafraid of asking hard questions and dealing with harsh realities. They are honest with their audience. They are authentic. People keep coming back to see what they’ve created because they feel like they really know each other. Strive to create a bond like that with your audience. Promise to be transparent with them and your work will thrive.
7. Check in with yourself once in a while to make sure you are still enjoying yourself. Do what you love. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the idea of popularity or wealth. You entered a creative industry because you were passionate about your craft. Never lose track of the reason why you started. Never allow yourself to ‘sell out’ when you could be creating meaningful work that changes the lives of your audience — and yourself.