Originally posted on Facebook HERE

So, there’s a leaf taped to the blinds and our grill is still out there. Today I’ll be working on a talk I’m giving in a couple days – my first official talk and book signing. One of the books (Looking Out My Back Window, Volume 1) is a collection of the first fifty-two of these weekly posts in book form. I absolutely love that book. In going back and re-reading the posts as I got the book ready, I kept thinking “man, if this was someone else’s book I’d be screaming from the rafters to everyone who would listen to go buy it”. Because it’s a book I wrote, it’s a different dynamic. I promote my books a little, but I don’t think I scream “buy this book” from the rafters at all. And, whenever you start anything artistic – music was the same way for me – but writing, music, painting, anything you put a piece of your heart and soul into… it comes with significant self-doubt at first. I’m not sure the self-doubt ever totally goes away, but once you get a bit of affirmation that you’re doing ok – you get published, you play a gig, you sell a painting – the self-doubt starts to wane. It’s funny to me over the years how many musicians I know, and I’ll include myself in this, will have this super egotistical persona onstage but offstage are some of the most insecure people I’ve ever met. When you create art, you create vulnerability. Somebody won’t like what you’re saying, what you’re playing, what you’re painting. Negative reviews hurt, because we pour our soul into art. It’s all about touching someone else from a place within us where only art can go. And when it works, it’s incredible. I often wonder, to this day, approaching two years of blog posts, why anyone ever reads anything I do. Why do I even bother with it? What’s my motivation? I went to a writers conference a few years back, when I only had a preview copy of Feed Your Angel, and some of the people there (who I guess considered themselves “real” writers) were extremely condescending to me. As a newbie to the whole thing, I was a bit taken aback. First person I met, who was involved in a lot of writers organizations, took a look at my book, and asked, “Why should anyone listen to what you have to say? What’s the background you have to write in this genre?”… it was confrontational in tone, and extremely awkward. I doubt I’ll ever go back, but you never know. Maybe some day I’ll be selling a lot of books and they’ll ask me back as a featured speaker, and I can relate that story in my talk. Most people don’t fly right out of the gate when you start an artistic journey, we stumble a bit until we get our footing. Art isn’t about who’s better, or what are your credentials, or anything like that at all. It’s more “what is inside of you that seeks release through an artistic endeavor?”. For me, I have an inner drive to write. I always have. I just never fulfilled it much until recently. I have no credentials, other than my life experiences and the perspective I’ve gained by living through them. I expect a lot from myself, so preparing for the first talk comes with a flood of emotions, including anxiety and insecurity. Will anyone show up? What if I suck? Why does anyone care what I think?… and through it all, behind everything, there is the force that drives me, that says “keep going, the talk will be great, the only way to perfect the craft is to get out there and do it, look at all the positive feedback you’ve already received, etc.”… It is my sincere hope that these posts have touched your heart in some way, and will continue to do so. It is my hope that my talks are motivational to the people who attend and/or watch later on YouTube and maybe hit someone at just the right time to help them through whatever is going on in their life. Don’t ignore the drive to pursue artistic endeavors because of insecurity. Just do it. For yourself. And when you see someone starting out, stumbling out of the gate – try to life them up, eh? There are plenty of critics ready to beat everything and everyone down. Let’s try love and support instead. The art inside of you will never touch another person if you don’t let it out. Don’t let fear stop you. The desire to create is there for a reason. Let it out. You might stumble at first, but we all stumbled before we ever walked. Approach creation with love in your heart, and just see what happens. When you’re ready, let someone else have a look, and go from there. Take that first step, or there will be no journey. And I’ll end today with a quick shout out to Andy Thurber and Cleetus Anthony, who are two artists whose works I recently bought. Because their work touches my heart. And that’s what art is about. Soul to soul, heart to heart. Listen to music, look at artwork, read that book today that touches your heart. Let the creator of the work know how much it means to you (if you can). Because that’s what keeps an artist going, knowing they’ve touched the heart of another person. Have a great day everyone, if I don’t see you Tuesday night, look for the blog next week, which will be the 100th one in the series 🙂

2 Comments

  1. “Take That first step, or there will be no journey.” I like this, Dave. It’s short and emphatic. Regarding that person at the conference who was condescending to you and said, “Why should anyone listen to what you have to say?” … I have to ask, what makes this person think they are more qualified to offer thoughts on life experiences? Their life is more significant? That really pisses me off, Dave. I don’t care who you are; if you write in a style that touches me, you are the author whose work I want to read. I would have a field day if I ever had a conversation with that small-minded person. Keep doing what you do, Dave.

    • Thanks, Camille. It’s knowing there are a few people out there who enjoy reading the posts that keeps me going 🙂

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