As a creative, I love what I do. I can’t help but do it. I’m compelled to write and tell stories to hopefully inspire others. Writing is as essential as breathing.
Most creatives are this way. Writers, musicians, vocalists, actors, photographers, illustrators, designers, food creators, etc. We create because we don’t know how NOT to.
The world would look anemic to us if we could not create.
After I released my self-published book Uncage My Brave, I found myself repeatedly astounded that friends and family actually paid MORE than the list price of the book and they promoted it on social media because, they said, they wanted to show their support for my work.
Why would I be astounded by this? Because, sadly, I’ve come to expect the opposite in this line of work.
The world respects our creations, but often it does not respect us, the creatives.
If you have a creative in your social circle whom you love and want to see succeed, here are five ideas for how you can support them.
1. Pay them. Let me iterate here, we are not money hungry. We are fans of fairness. Many of us do work for charitable causes without desire for pay, and a certain amount of “pay in exposure” may be strategically worthwhile, for instance if we are trying to break into a particular market. However, at a certain point, the worker is worth her wages, as this astute HuffPost article contends. Take into account the amount of hours they put into their work, the amount of training required to do their work, whether it requires an education, and the sheer talent it takes. If you do not balk at giving wait staff a 15-20% tip in addition to their salary, please do not balk at giving a creative actual, real dolla bills for their creation.
2. Be their word-of-mouth marketers. They are elated when they receive it because not only are you affirming to them what they do means something to someone, it opens up new opportunities and new audiences for them. So, if you have a favorite creative in your life, share those social media posts of theirs with full credit to them, promote their work by directing people to their websites, rave about their talent to whomever you think would be interested. Please and thank you.
3. Be ready with an encouraging word. Your creative needs support all along the very rough journey. The highs are high, and the lows are low. Please remember they could use an external voice rooting them on and telling them to keep going. They have plenty of voices telling them they are not enough, most notably the internal ones. If you are a person of faith, pray for your creative, and let them know as much.
4. Support them in ways other than money. Maybe you don’t like their particular brand of art, or maybe their music is simply not your taste. We creatives understand our stuff is not for everyone, and we do not want loved ones to feel obligated to buy our creations if they do not truly enjoy them. If your creative’s work is not your taste but you want to help them out, consider supporting them in other ways. A voucher to clean their house. Prep a couple of freezer meals for them. Gift them with a few supplies. Offer to watch their child/pet/husband for a reasonable stretch of time so they can concentrate on their work. Coffee gift cards are usually a winner. I repeat: coffee gift cards. Small gestures give them an added boost to keep creating.
5. Defend them from predators. Digital copyright infringement is a real and growing problem. If you see your favorite creative’s work anywhere else other than on their own website, blog, social media, studio, mantle, etc., please mention it to them. It may be innocent enough, but it may not.
For all my fellow creatives out there, thank you for what you do. For those who love us and support us, thank you for all you do to help us do what we do. We cannot tell you enough how much we appreciate you!
And speaking of support, I’d be tickled pink if you bought a copy of Uncage My Brave for yourself or someone you love. The book is perfect for anyone needing a dose of encouragement to overcome fear and pursue the dream God has laid on their heart!
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