Every Artist Deserves Hope (and Everyone Is An Artist)

advice

I had a really interesting conversation the other day with a guy who said: “Everyone is an artist.”

I had a twitter conversation last night with a lit manager that started cuz I was trying to warn newer writers away from paying for notes. Especially paying outrageous sums like $600 and up – which is a scam plain and simple. Like another twitter friend (hi Hisel!) pointed out: “Literally no one’s opinion is worth $600.”

Yes notes can be valuable, especially when you’re starting out. But the feedback you get from each other and from mentors who are a few steps ahead of you in the process are far more valuable than anything you could get by paying for it.

Where do you meet people who can give you notes? Everywhere. Coffee shops where writers hang out. If you live in a place where there aren’t a lot of writers, meet them online. On twitter, on forums and in the comments sections of blogs and video sites where writers hang. I live in the middle of Los Angeles, writer central, and I still meet most of my friends online. Maybe that’s due to my, er, personality.

Once you’ve figured your voice out, notes become less valuable and can even become counter-productive. Don’t get me wrong – notes are always part of the process in a professional setting, and I am grateful for sharp notes. But an experienced notes-giver will know how to give you feedback that heightens your intention, your voice, without diluting you. This is very hard to do. If you find a person who gives you these kinds of notes, stick to them like the ALIEN.

So in the twitter conversation last night, my lit manager friend’s point was that he doesn’t like the scammy notes-givers cuz he thinks they give people false hope. His business is deluged with bad material, and they don’t need to be encouraged by these one-man operations.

My point was: every artist deserves hope. And what all the reps and execs don’t realize is – they get their hands on artists after they’ve spent their entire lives developing their instruments. But if they had met them even a few years before that point, they would have dismissed them as another of the unwashed masses, with scorn and ridicule, the way I see them do.

And that is wrong.

Because while we are all born with talent (everyone is an artist) – no one is born knowing how to use that talent –

All artists deserve to be encouraged and nurtured. They deserve to be safe doing so. They deserve to not be preyed on, by the likes of bloggers trying to charge them $600 for their bullshit notes, the equivalent of which they could get from anyone they meet in the comments section on the same sites. Most of all they deserve to be protected and safe, not ridiculed by the very people making their living off them after they have devoted their entire lives to developing their instruments.

All artists deserve hope. Every great artist you can think of looked talentless to someone at some point. They just weren’t successfully dissuaded from continuing.

And by the way, the second part of this idea – that everyone is an artist? My friend’s point was that no matter what your vocation – you can practice it with art – with love – with intention.

You deserve to make art. And you deserve to be protected and safe so that you can continue.

*

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