As a writer I’ve battled the feelings of depression and self-doubt since I drafted my first story as a kid. As I’ve aged I’ve seen artists in other fields deal with these same demons. I have talented friends who’ve made, and continue to make, quality films and shorts and receive little to no acclaim for their work. Photographers whose stunning talent for capturing the beauty in every day existence – get little response, and poets whose amazing lines and imagery get nary a nod from the literary world. Actors in particular suffer through this every time they step forward for an audition, daring to put themselves in front of the casting “firing squad”, they pour their hearts onto the stage, only to be met with a “thanks, don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
Creating in a void is the inevitable burden every artist must carry. You put your heart and soul into your work and hope that somehow, somewhere, it connects with someone. That longing for connection can lead artists to take on projects that we don’t particularly enjoy, or create works that don’t resonate with who we are – we do it because we’re told it’s what “sells”, it’s what’s “trending”, it’s how the world sees our potential. And while the monetary gain is nice – the satisfaction from it rarely lasts long.
In the end, we take our greatest enjoyment and fulfillment from creating work that we enjoy. Work that is soulful, that expresses who we are, as limited and unpolished as we feel, work that speaks some truth about the world as we see it, and that’s what ultimately connects us to our audience. It’s important to remember people connect more to the passion and humanity in your art, and less with the mechanics you use. I’ve found that some of my best work comes when I focus less on the reception I’ll get and more on the creation of the work itself. If I’ve put every ounce of my talent into something, whether it’s ever recognized or not, I’ll know I’ve shed a little more light on the darkness – and that’s a good thing.