It’s no secret that most of us have a friend or two who are aspiring artists, musicians, writers, and the like. We might even be that friend in our social circles, or part of a larger group of people who just wants their work to be seen or read or heard. However, getting to that point is often a difficult road. Once they conquer the fear of themselves ourselves “out there,” the difficult task of piquing the interest of others arises. We may live in the digital age where sharing content is as easy as clicking a button, but that doesn’t mean the masses will be lining up at their doors. That’s where you come in. You can do so much more for the people in your life attempting to pursue their creative dreams, and I’ve got a few ideas on how.
1) Recognize That This Is More Than a Hobby
I’m going to tell you right now that most people who go after creative pursuits aren’t doing this just for the fun of it. They’re doing this because it’s something they’re passionate about. There’s a huge difference in using creativity to relieve stress on a weekend and in spending countless hours perfecting a craft so that it can be considered by the pros, as it were. Remember that you only see the end product in most cases, not the process it takes into making that product the best it can be.
I also want to point out that it’s easy to assume that writing or painting or music is a hobby to someone who might have a full or part-time job. However, to be honest, it’s difficult to pursue these career paths when you rely on them as your sole purpose of income. I greatly admire the people who can manage to do so, but that’s not in the cards for everyone. There are so many people pursuing their passions in their down time so that they can support themselves with something they’re passionate about day in and day out. Don’t water down someone’s dream just because it doesn’t have hints of glamour, because, truthfully, the creative life isn’t always a glamorous one.
2) Share Their Work and Show Up
The best way for someone’s work to be seen is to help share it with others. So many musicians, artists, and writers have blogs, websites, media pages, live events, and the like. It doesn’t take much effort to share these things on your own social media pages. If you’re free on a night that a friend is debuting at an art show/gallery or playing music at a local venue or reading their poetry at an open mic night, make time to show up. Spread the word. Show some interest. It means more than you know to see a friendly face in the crowd. People like to know you care.
This also goes for any publications your friends might be featured in. It doesn’t help to just “like” a post they share of an article they might be featured in or a magazine their work might be published in. Read it. Comment on it. Share it. The more eyes that see it, the better. There’s nothing worse than having a piece earn recognition and for those closest to you to just ignore it. Support your friends like you support celebrities. They didn’t make their way to the top without their work being enjoyed and shared. It’s the same process, folks. So buy that book, download that album, commission that art piece, schedule that photoshoot, and be that cheer in the crowd.
3) Be a Source of Encouragement
Your friends might be the most self-motivated people you know, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a little encouragement now and then. Encouragement is especially vital if they face rejections, whether that be from magazines or venues or what-have-you. Rejection is inevitable, but facing it alone can be a deflating experience. Remind your friends why they started and why it’s important to keep moving forward. Also, when they bring up their next project, just listen. It may not be your cup of tea, but this is something important to them. Sometimes all a person needs is for someone to listen. Taking an interest in what they do might be the fine line between their decision to continue on or to put their dreams in a drawer somewhere. Don’t let them walk away just yet.