Artist, 3 things to consider before you hit that "share" button...
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
Every artist must paint. Every songwriter must make music. Every author must write. Every builder must build. These things bring us joy, and we want to share them with the world. But there are some works of art, some songs, sculptures, poems, or even blog articles that we make and we look at with uncertainty as our finger hovers over the share button. “What are people going to think? What if nobody likes it? What if people think I’m weird?”
As someone who writes songs, articles, and books, I have wrestled with these same questions many times. I have written hundreds of songs that have never been heard by anyone other than me, and they never will. Heck, I may never even post this article I’m writing right now. But there are some songs and writings that I will share.
I know that some people won’t like my songs or the things I write, but I will always be a writer. So the question is not “Will I write?” The question is, “Will I share it with others?” Here are a few helpful thoughts and tips to consider if you are wrestling with whether to share your art with the world:
1. Let it sit a day or two
One time I had been writing a song for hours and my ears were fatigued. I thought the song was sounding pretty good, but little did I know that my guitar had fallen far out of tune and my ears had grown accustomed to the sourness. I literally wrote a song that only worked with an out-of-tune guitar. I recorded the song on my audio recorder and went to bed. I came back and listened the next morning and could only laugh at how terrible it sounded. How embarrassing. Needless to say, I showed this to no one. But wouldn’t it have been humiliating if in my excitement I shared the song on social media? Time allows you to regain a fresh perspective. And if you hear or read something you don’t like, re-write that part. Most writing is re-writing. Eventually, you will come back the next day and still be in love with your work. Now you’re getting close.
2. Run it by a friend first
Have you made something beautiful or enjoyable? Does it express the nature of God’s goodness? Is it pleasant? If it brings you joy, then it will likely bring joy to someone else. But, I’ll be honest. if you are just getting started in your craft, you might want to consider sharing it with one or two people you trust before sharing it with the world. One main reason I may never share a song is that I know that it’s not that good. I’ve written many bad songs before, and that’s ok. It gives me a deeper appreciation for the ones that do turn out ok. I’ll usually send my freshly written songs to a friend or two and gauge their response. But, let your friend off the hook if they don’t love it. If you don’t appreciate their honest feedback, they probably won’t take the risk of giving it to you again in the future. Instead, be sure to thank them for their feedback, and take your project back to the lab. Art takes time.
3. Check your motives
One of the hardest things to wrestle with when sharing something is not placing your identity in the approval of man. If nobody likes it, it’s easy to interpret that as “nobody likes me.” And if nobody comments, it “clearly” must not be good. Some people will be supportive and others will be silent. But silence does not always mean opposition. Sometimes people just need to process, and we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Understand that not all art elicits the same response. Some art might move people to say, “Wow, that’s amazing!” But other art might move people to pause and feel or think. If you’re creating for the purpose of glory, that’s okay. Just remember the artist who made you while in the process. If you’re creating for a cause, remember that not everyone will be as passionate about your cause as you are. And that’s okay. If your medicine only heals one person, does that mean it was unsuccessful? Perhaps that’s a question only you can answer. But what if that one person makes changes the world?
If you’ve made something beautiful, let a friend or two affirm that, and then share it with joy. If you’ve written something the Holy Spirit placed on your heart, share it unapologetically knowing that God will use it exactly how he intended. Your talents are part of your glory, and your glory is an extension of God’s. So don’t hide your art under a bushel. Share it for the glory of our creator.