My father had an Aunt Virginia who was an artist. She was a folk painter; quite talented, who worked out of her New York City apartment. She never showed her paintings to anyone outside her immediate family.
One day my grandfather convinced her to let him take a few of her pieces to show to a gallery owner he knew. He made it as far as the sidewalk outside her building before she leaned out the window to call him back.
Great-Aunt Virginia was like Emily Dickinson (minus the posthumous fame). Her work was for herself and she didn’t require the recognition of others to keep her momentum going.
But what do you do when you put your work out into the world and get nothing but *crickets* in response? How do you keep your momentum going then?
Why is it that when our work is greeted with silence on a single occasion we instantly forget all our instances of success? One round of *crickets* and we decide we are shouting into the wind – that all our efforts have been for nothing – we might as well give up.
It’s like when you’re single and you have a few too many bad dates in a row. It makes you despair of ever meeting the right partner.
I, for one, have decided to try to shout louder. Make my work better. And show it to anyone who cares to see it. So that when I have those moments of no response I can take it as a message of “go forward” and “keep sharing” instead of feeling like I should disappear into my garret forever.
How do you cope when you feel like you are shouting into the wind?