Never Stop Making Stuff (a PSA for the discouraged artist)

Hey. You.

This is your PSA to keep creating. 

Create and create and create and create. 

And put it out there. Share it with the world. Every last chance you get. 

Fuck that fear of being seen. Fuck that worry that people will think you’re too much. Fuck the way your heart tremors and your limbs quake. To hell with the worries about sharing too often or sounding too full of yourself. Tell your demons or your asshole of a third-grade teacher or your snarky friend to shut the fuck up. 

You’re an artist. A creator. A writer. A dancer. A singer. A photographer. 

You are a maker of things. 

Beautiful things. Things that matter. Things that brighten days and make people think outside the box they’ve built around themselves. Things that shine a light into the darkness and pull the darkness into the light. Things that change lives––maybe even save them––even when you don’t have any hard proof that this is true, not for sure.

Maybe you just have an inkling or a whisper. Or a sense of purpose that you can deny. Maybe there’s a heartbeat just beneath the surface that keeps pushing you forward, that keeps you up at night, that keeps telling you that you’re here to make.

And so you make. My god, the things you make. 

Images and words and art. Bodies in form and voice lifting high. Even if what you make isn’t called art by the rest of the world, when you get honest you know it comes from the same place, somewhere between your heart and your gut––the place the flame was lit and somehow refuses to die. 

And maybe it feels like nobody is watching or reading or hearing. You’re making your art in the center of a void that threatens to suck you in. You get weary of sharing, you don’t want to bother people. You don’t want to be too much. And sometimes, that might even stop you from making––because fuck that space is hard on the heart. 

It’s not easy holding out your heart over and over and over again and asking people to be gentle with it. It’s not easy at all. And sometimes, it’s too tender to go there. Because right then you can’t handle the rejection one more time. 

But sooner or later the muse whispers. The words start swirling. The canvas calls or a note is sounded or your body starts to move to a beat nobody else can hear. 

You can’t stop creating forever, because if you did, you would cease to exist. That sounds awfully dramatic, but you know and I know that it is true. 

This is me, reminding you to continue. 

To make. 

To share. 

To not just shout into the void, but to reach into that relentless darkness with your art and to pull yourself (and everyone else willing to take your hand) out into the light. 

Because you never know who will stumble onto what you’ve made.

You never know who will find you when they most need it. 

You don’t know who will pass on that thing you made to someone on the darkest night or the brightest day. 

You have no idea the domino effect of influence that could begin. 

You don’t ever know when you are *this* close to the day that everything changes. 

You don’t. And I don’t either. 

And sometimes it’s really hard to keep pushing and to keep working. To keep battling demons and to come out of hiding, again and again, and again. To remember that there is always the possibility of becoming in every moment, in every act of art, in every outreach into the wide open world.

Do you hear me?

Every last thing you create and offer to the world––no matter how big or small––has the potential to be the one thing that changes everything. 

And the last two days have reminded me of that. The beginnings of some really good things are there, almost close enough to touch.

I want to hedge my bets and knock on wood and in the face of really exciting news say “yeah, but it may not really happen” and convince myself that humility built on fear will somehow protect me, even when the good thing is knocking on my door and asking to come inside––or, like right now, asking me to step out. 

It’s a struggle for me, most times, to believe in good things. 

The hint of those good things, they activate every last demon inside of me that wants me to hide. That cautions me against the wanting. That reminds me that I should prepare for disappointment so that I don’t get crushed when the inevitable let down occurs. 

It takes active work for me to celebrate. It’s a conscious decision to shush all those voices that urge caution, that don’t respond to wide open possibility with ‘yes, but’ and a list of all the reasons the good is unlikely to materialize. And it takes some serious effort to sink all the way into news that could be, might be, should be really fucking good. 

This is human. This is real. 

Day after day for years I’ve been making things and holding out my hands and asking if you want them. And still, when the world wants to offer me something back, it’s terrifying to admit how badly I want it. My first reaction? To hang my head demurely and to tuck my hands behind my back and say “It’s okay, I’m good. I don’t need/want/deserve that really big, really good thing”. 

Well, guess what?

I want it. 

I want it badly. 

And the last two days have delivered some pretty damn good confirmation that no matter how far away it feels, it might just be closer than I think.

And so right now, as tempting as it is to quiet down and go back to work, I’m going to tell you that no matter what––if you have that drive to create somewhere inside you, and you can squeeze even five minutes out of your day to make something. Do it. Do it and share it. Ask people to look. Tell them that you want to be seen. Ask them to share. 

Tag me. Let me see you.

Let the world know just how brave you are to do this. 

And you are. And it is. And so am I.

And right now I’m going to post this and I’m going to sit here for a minute and breathe in some really good news. And then I’m going to get up a dance, and I”m going to laugh a hell of an incredulous – ‘is this even fucking real?’ laugh, and I’m going to celebrate. 

Because no matter what––I made art, and someone saw. And maybe, just maybe, something magic will come from that.

No matter what you do. Never stop making. Never stop holding out your hands. Never stop trusting in the power of your art.

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I swear like a sailor, I've been called a word-witch (more than once), I believe whole-heartedly in the power of your voice,  and think words are as necessary as air. I also create courses and programs that will get you writing (for reals). 


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