Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 8

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 8, Practice in Public

In this chapter, Jeff discusses the importance of thriving artists engaging their environments by practicing their craft for others to see. He offers the following recommendations for us to think about:

  • Many of us equate showcasing or marketing our work as being selfish or self-promotional. While the feeling is understandable, we also need to recognize that our art needs an audience.
  • The Rule of the Audience says that before art can have an impact, it must first have an audience. No one is exempt from this rule, not even Picasso. In the case of Picasso, he was excellent about giving his work to suitable collectors. In essence, Picasso put his work where it has the most significant potential to succeed.
  • If we can accept the reality that all art forms need their audience, it is reasonable to conclude that promotion is not something an artist should avoid. On the contrary, sharing and promoting our work with empathy and care is an essential part of the job.
  • Many thriving artists also share their work by partnering with their audience. We should not wait for the final performance to share our art. To do the work of a professional, we must stop waiting to be seen and start sharing our art now. We can create a positive feedback loop by practicing our work with our audience and monitor the feedback.
  • The point of sharing is to create opportunities to practice. Artists need all the practice they can get.  Over time, all that practice can add up to something – not just the attention of an audience but the skill to support it. Even the most generous of audiences will not tolerate an amateur.
  • When we offer our gift to the world by consistently and sincerely practicing in public, we create the possibility that the world might notice and respond with loyalty. Moreover, as we get better at earning an audience, the sponsorship of our art will allow us to continue creating for years to come.

In summary, “The Starving Artist does his work in private. The Thriving Artist practice in public.”