Carlos downstairs makes really good green juices, just so you guys know his name, and he likes to be called “Carlos,” like that.
Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and a life that you love so much you want to make out with it 24/7. This is Q&A Tuesday, and today’s question comes from Jennifer, and she writes, “Dear Marie, I want to tell you how much you’ve inspired me.” Thank you. “I’m working out every morning in an attempt to change my whole outlook on the day. I call it the perfect positive storm,” that’s very cute, “because I watch your videos on my tablet while I walk on the treadmill.” Smart idea.
“Here’s my situation. I’m frustrated with work. My husband and I have a small shop on Etsy and I’m also a freelance writer for several farming magazines. My confusion comes in that every time I pour my heart and soul into a piece, be an article or a new item for our shop, I feel like it gets ignored or just gets a ‘meh’ response. On the other hand, some of our work that I’m less proud of gets gobbled up and gets rave reviews. I’m happy that I’m slowly getting discovered, but it’s rarely for the things I’m most proud of.”
“Do I just have terrible taste? Am I missing cues from customers and editors who are telling me what they want via some mystic language that I don’t speak? And how do I translate that and still be genuine? On another note, I’m about three quarters of the way through writing a novel, something I’ve never poured more of myself into ever! I’m really nervous that the novel will get the same ‘meh’ response and I see this fear holding me back from finishing the darn thing. Any insight would be great. Thanks so much for all you do. Jennifer.”
Jen, this is an awesome question and something that I think artists have faced since the beginning of time. Sometimes what we feel is our best work doesn’t appeal to the masses or even to anyone. I mean, here on MarieTV, there are episodes that I think are so funny, ha ha ha, and then we put them out there and it’s like crickets. I mean, they hardly get any shares and people don’t really respond. And then there’s other stuff that I’m like, “You know, not my best work,” and people freaking share like crazy. You can’t really figure it out.
The first thing I want to talk about is what I like to call the Saturday Night Live factor. I love Saturday Night Live. It’s been on since 1975. They’ve shot over 751 episodes, and it’s one of the longest running shows in TV history. Now, sometimes people like to talk smack about it and they say, “You know what? It’s not that funny anymore. There’s only one funny sketch per episode,” but I see it really differently. If you want to create great work that gets recognized out in the world, you have to create a lot of work. You have to do it consistently, and you’ve got to be willing for some of it to be “meh.” In fact, the only way that you can ever strike creative gold like this is if you are willing to create some “meh” stuff along the way. The same thing is true for musicians and movie directors and writers. Your job as an artist is to stay true to yourself and just keep creating, and just realize that some of it is going to be a hit, which is awesome and some of it is going to be “meh.”
Now, the second side of the story is recognizing that if art is your business, meaning you got to earn a living off of this stuff, then you have to learn to listen to what your customers want. This doesn’t make you a sell out. It makes you smart. Now, if I were you, Jen, I would really start to look for the patterns in what’s selling and what’s not. Then of course you can have conversations with your buyers, with your editors, and find out, “What are they responding to with the stuff that’s really selling, that’s a hit, and what are they not loving so much about your other work?” Now, they may not be able to articulate it clearly, but I promise you, if you keep an open mind and an open heart, you’re going to learn a ton. That’s not only going to inform you as an artist, but it’s also going to make you a better business person.
Remember that art is about connecting to your audience. It’s a dialogue, not a monologue. Now, the things that you want to make aren’t always going to be the things that people want to buy. That doesn’t mean they have bad taste or you have bad taste. It just means you have unique taste. And finally, when you got to earn a living, sometimes you just got to do what you got to do. I mean, we’ve all seen really smart actors who are known for incredibly brilliant little indie films do these huge blockbusters where they’re like fighting cobras in space so they have enough money to fund the passion projects. And we’ve also seen people do perfume ads. I mean, do you think this was Brad’s most proud moment?
My luck, my fate, my fortune. Chanel Number Five.
And you know what, Jen, I am not ashamed to show you this.
[foreign language 00:04:57].
[foreign language 00:05:09].
[foreign language 00:05:17].
Ain’t no shame in making a buck, Jen. So let’s land this plane on a tweetable. “Ignoring what sells doesn’t make you a better artist. It makes you a starving artist.” Awesome question, Jen. Hopefully this helps, and I want to say there is no black and white answer to this question. Obviously this has always been a part of the creative universe. It’s a tension that will always exist, but hopefully these ideas will help you find your balance and keep putting your work out there.
Now, I would love to hear from you. Do you ever feel like your best work is being ignored? And how do you find the balance between staying true to your vision and giving people what they want? I would love to hear from you in the comments below, and as you know, all of the best discussions happen after the episode over at marieforleo.com, so go there and tell me what you think right now. Did you like this video? If so, subscribe to our channel and I would be so appreciative if you shared it with all your friends, and if you want even more great resources to create a business and life that you love, plus some insights from me that I only talk about in email, get your sweet buns over to marieforleo.com and sign up for email updates.
Stay on your game and keep going for your dreams, because the world needs that special gift that only you, yes you, have. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next time on MarieTV.
He doesn’t like the coffee mug, so it’s going to leave. I’m going to take a swig. How am I going to answer you, John? What am I going to say? Do I have to cross my legs? It’s a woman thing. We’re all neurotic, which I don’t have the best posture in the world, let’s face it, but I have to say, I’m very comfortable. I’m very comfortable in my own skin.