Hello and welcome to my blog about Creative Advocacy.
To begin, I'd like to take a moment to clarify something. Although I am a writer and an artist, when I discuss creative advocacy, it is in reference to all forms of creativity. Whether it be music, dance, game design, etc, being an advocate for the arts is the same. The reason I say it is all the same is because it is all about the same thing...story.
This may seem obvious when discussing writing as we writers deal in story, but I think it applies to all forms of expression.
What is a song if not a story put to music? Dance is telling tales and emotions through movement. You paint a portrait, you tell a story about that person in that moment of their life. What about when you're on a large video game/film team, and your piece is just one of millions of pieces to make something bigger? It's part of the bigger story, and it's important.
Why is this important? Why advocate for creativity?
Unfortunately, the world we live in doesn't always understand how much it needs storytellers. I've worked in a lots of different creative fields and the same problems arise. We creatives love what we do, and thus, many people think we should do it for free. We aren't always seen as valid professionals like say a banker or a plumber would be. Some of us are laughed at by family members or told to "get a real job".
The world doesn't always value us. Most people wouldn't think much about spending five dollars on a latte, but ask them to spend less than that on a book or a song? That's a different story. We don't always value ourselves as a result.
Without us there would be no books, no games, no television shows, no films, no art, no music, no theater. These are billion dollar industries. If we didn't tell our stories, the human experience would never be recorded or shared or empathized. We creatives capture the intangible parts of life and share it with the world so we might feel connected in some way. Creatives are needed.
We are important, and we are afraid to say we are. We are afraid the world will call us frauds and devalue what we pour our souls into. A lot of times, it does just that.
This is why we need advocates. It shouldn't just be the tough, stubborn voices that get heard. Those who have lived the life long enough to have a thicker skin than the rest. It should be everyone cheering each other on and inspiring others. Go to that bar where your friend's band is playing. Go to your friend's art opening. Encourage your nephew to keep drawing his comic book. Show up at the niece's musical even if the other kids sing off key. You can be an advocate without breaking the bank. Sometimes, it's just a kind word.
Putting yourself out there is so difficult. Placing work you made is soul wrenching and hard, but it's also so important. We need it just as much as we need anything else in life.
I'll quote Kevin Smith because he said it better than I can. "It costs you nothing to encourage an artist, and the potential benefits are staggering."