Dealing with Mixed Messages as a Creator

7:00 am EEST (GMT+3). This is the June 16 2020 daily proof of life post. Today I want to talk about the mixed messages that creators receive. It’s a difficult subject because so many people, even other creators, just don’t get it.

Last week my wife Katie posted that the disconnect between social likes and actual sales of her work is causing her emotional pain. She prefaced this by saying that she understands that there’s a pandemic on, there are people protesting far more important issues, and the world is in the midst of an economic downturn. The post ends with a clear indication that she’s not asking for anything, she only needed to vent and talk about the distress she’s in.

Having a lot of people click like, and leave positive comments, is a wonderful thing. She stated that she’s grateful for that. When paired with a lack of sales, though, it creates a mixed message. As her number of followers and the amount of feedback she gets has gone up, her sales have gone down. It makes her wonder if people genuinely like her work, or if they’re just being nice. She’s left doubting her own abilities, questioning why she creates art, and recognizing that she needs to step away from social media for a while.

The responses that she got don’t surprise me. Most people reacted defensively. They explained why they don’t buy her artwork, as if they were being attacked. A moderate amount of guilt was piled onto her, reiterating the current economic situation and that most creators are in the same boat. All of which misses the point.

Not the Money

I’m personally not surprised that the ability of humans to take a person saying “I’m in pain” and turn it around to make it about them. Only a few people recognized that it was about the mixed message, not the money. It was about her feelings, not the money. The issue is the dissonance of being told you’re good, while at the same time not being able to reap any of the benefits that are supposed to come with that.

There were people who thought what she was saying was they she was no longer going to make art. I guess to the social media hordes, not seeing a thing is the same as it not existing. What she said was, she’s going to stop posting pictures of her art. Cutting off the likes and comments ends the dissonance, in the same way that a boost in sales would. Again, she’s not asking for sales, she’s solving for the problem of the mixed messages and the pain they’re causing her.

The thing that pissed me off, personally, were the number of people telling her to keep going. She said “doing this causes me pain.” She said “I need to step back, stop posting my art, and regroup”. And the response was “keep posting your art”.

This, my friends, is why I’m a hermit.

Dealing with Mixed Messages as a Creator

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