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Why Being a Content Creator is Ruining your Art

Why Being a Content Creator is Ruining your Art

mental health mindset Apr 03, 2024

Last month, I blogged about why I think social media is bad for our writing, and it had several positive responses. Social media is a hard topic to talk about though, cause most of us have a love-hate relationship with it. It's almost like a toxic boyfriend. You can complain about it, but when someone else does it, you kind of feel protective. You know it's wrong for your brain, but you're having such a great time that you overlook every single wrong thing about it. And I get it. I feel this way too. – That's what dopamine does to our brains.

If you want to read my previous battle with social media, go here: Why Social Media is Bad for your Writing. I'm sure you will relate to it, and if you don't, please let us know how you cope with it!

Today I want to talk about something a little bit more specific: creating content to sell our art. 

 

Asking uncomfortable questions

When we spend all day consuming stuff from the internet, seeing funny videos, discovering incredible artists and filling our heads with self-positive small-talk, how do we distinguish art from content? Are we able to separate them anymore?

Many artists expose their art on social media as a way to be discovered, make a name, or sell their products. But how can artists benefit from social media instead of suffering for it? When algorithms are so hard to manage, and keeping a good record means publishing almost every single day.

Is thinking in terms of marketing all the time killing our creativity or improving it? And what's the purpose of doing content? Is it just for money?

ALSO: Marrying Your Marketing

Before we get started, I'm aware that these are important big questions – and at the same time, not important at all, the world keeps spinning, you know – and I might be ambitious if I really think I can answer them all by myself. 

But my intention, more than answering impossible questions, is to make some controversial statements and open a discussion. That being said, feel free to take what suits you and leave behind what doesn't. 

Should we start?

 

Social media as a place to share our art

As we know, social media was invented to communicate with each other but ended up becoming a virtual store used as a tool for capitalism. I say this without judgment. It's just what it is.

Big companies use it to promote their products and launch their campaigns through it. Politics gain votes by the massive and unethical misinformation running through it, too. I don't want to extend too much on this, but I just need to remark on the obvious: social media has been, for a while now, a new channel of communication, through which we're constantly exposed to publicity. The whole time we are on it, people are actively trying to sell us something.

Now, this isn't bad, not necessarily. Personal opinions aside, it's just the way it works. 

And for new, young, enthusiastic artists, this has been really positive.

Through social media, we can promote our work and get a name. In prehistoric times, authors had to wait to get published to get known by an audience. Rockstars needed a record contract. Artist… I don't know, would they cut their ears to get their work into a museum? I don't know what artists did!

 

  

The premise now is: if you make things you're passionate about and work hard, you can get other people to see it, like it, share it and eventually buy it, just by uploading a reel, a TikTok, a story or a pretty aesthetic post. All thanks to social media.

But this isn't correct, right?

All the creatives I know, complain about how hard it is to actually get people to see your work. And it makes sense, if we think about how many artists are trying the same thing, and how many companies are putting money into actual promotion. Algorithms hate artists, that's a headline. 

For people to buy your art, you need to become a very good seller. And that means creating content frequently, being a good communicator, having a brand, marketing and the visual language to represent you. Basically, you need to learn very fast how to become all these things by yourself.

You need to become a business. 

Unless you have a team, this means that you would be doing the work of a dozen people.

 

 

When you are the marketing team, the editing team, and the sales team, all by yourself, you tend to forget your first objective: to write.

If you're to concentrate on making content – and by this I mean photos, reels, stories – then, when do you have time to actually dedicate to your art? If we're spending all day thinking of ways of getting more views, when do we get enough time to think about our projects or simply enjoy them? 

It's also very stressful to think in terms of content. How much, how long, how variable, does it have to be to appeal to an audience? We produce slowly but we need to show what we do pretty quickly, cuz otherwise the game is over. That's the rule that we are constantly taught by these gurus of social media.

But is it the only possible way?

 

Do "likes" on your post really mean something?

If you want to use social media to sell your art, you will have to sell yourself. Your ideas, your identity, your face, you will learn to be an Author with a specific aesthetic, voice, and looks. You will also be a business. And creating content will be the means to your end.

But this doesn't necessarily mean you will be a slave of social media.

You become a slave when you're stuck on these specific thoughts: “How can I make more people see me?” “How can I make more views?” “How can I get more followers?”

That's a rotten brain.

Just kidding. That's a very common thought in the society we live in, where we measure everything in amounts of quantity. But always remember that the feedback you're getting on social media might not be 100% representative of your work. The fact that a video has few views, a post few likes, doesn't mean that you or your art sucks. Having a lot of followers doesn't mean you will sell more, or be better at your craft.

It only means that we're living in an era when we're craving constant and fast stimulation. We consume great amounts of everything, but how much of this everything do we really appreciate? How much of our art is really understood?

 

We create content to share our art, but it seems it's more about serving other's expectations – the need of the audience to be constantly entertained – than the fact of creating art itself.

 

Self-promotion is a necessary evil

I don't want to say self-promotion is bad, because it's not. If anything, it's a lesser evil. As an artist, you are expected to talk about your work. If you don't, how are other people to get to know it? Owning the thing you did, means that you feel proud. Feel confident enough to show it. Tell other people “Hey, I made this, I might not be perfect but it came from me. What do you think about it?”

Self-promotion is opening a conversation between the artist – you – and the audience – them.

Having a response is the truest form of feedback you can get. An honest conversation with your readers will let you know how your work is received, and give you the necessary critique to become a better writer.  

ALSO: Three Essential Resources for the Growing Writer

Again: don't take the numbers and metrics as a way of qualifying your work.

Your work should be measured by how much effort and thought you put into it, how deeply you are making someone feel and how much you are making people think. 

Way better than high numbers, is to get a community of a few good people.

Think about this: how many people do you see on TikTok every day? How many of them do you remember? Finding your target audience is much more sustainable in time than raising numbers in one day.

 

No more music for the masses

The massification of the internet is actually pretty paradoxical. We would assume that being so many people, one could find the most unique things going around on the web. But not exactly. It seems that we are tryingto become more and more alike. 

We're a mass of people following trends, dressing the same, reading the same books, consuming the same films. And it's okay, we all have a natural tendency to want to belong in a community. 

But talking about social media, self-promotion, and having to sell ourselves in order to sell our art, I'm gonna give you the most important advice that there is to give in marketing and in life: don't be like everyone else.

Because if you're trying to blend in with other people, doing the same dances and videos and tendencies that everyone on the internet is doing, then you are not standing out.

And for people to know you, and know your art, you need to show them you've got what no one else does. So be weird, be authentic, be you, and do what you do best.

The people will come along after that.

 


Juliana Palermo
Written for The Plottery

Juliana Palermo lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She's 22 but hasn't learned how to do her taxes yet. She works as a freelance editor and book cover designer, but you will find her drinking coffee and daydreaming during working hours. She is currently writing her first fantasy novel. You can find her as @julippalermo both on Instagram and Twitter. 

If you need her, you can say her name three times in front of a mirror and she will appear with a cynical smile. But let me warn you, her jokes are not as funny as she promised, and if you invited her in, there's a chance she will never leave.

 

 

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