1 May, 2013  |   8 Comments

No more love on the run – playing the long game

There’s a strange misperception of success in this digital medium — somehow, we’re supposed to start out and grow and grow and grow our sites until we have a powerhouse audience in the millions every month. And then we have book deals and magazines and we’re all Rachael Ray and we just get bigger and bigger and bigger.


But if we look at the jobs in other creative industries like musicians or actors, we’ll find that the successes are more cyclical maybe even hit or miss over time and that fame is separate from creating one’s best work.

People fall in and out of favor with a fickle public.
That’s okay. We’re fickle too.

Fame is separate from getting paid,
Fame is separate from personal satisfaction in the work.

A lifetime of creative success, where I invest time in learning more about my craft as well as share what I’ve learned, is the path for a great majority of us. No really.

And that’s okay!

Since I’m exploring a new medium for the first time, it’s easy to feel confused and unsure.
That’s normal.

Strangely enough, in digital media, we assume that popularity should grow steadily over time, but we have no evidence in any kind of related arts business that would prove this — it’s cyclical, it’s random, it makes no sense, it’s a sixth Fast and Furious movie (which I LOVE and I can still say it makes no sense).

Music, movies, they have hits, they have misses, but best of all, their creators have artistic growth over time. They’re stretching and growing their work.

This digital culture is weird for a few other reasons too. We accidentally believe that creating is about ego when in fact the opposite is true.

It’s not about ego and fame.
It’s about the opposite. It’s about humility and sacrifice.
It’s about appetite.
It’s about my audience.

It’s about doing work that challenges me each and every day.
It’s about taking the time to check in with myself to remember the big message I’m trying to get across.

It feels even more ego driven as we work in isolation behind our lighted boxes.

And you all know, the best way to get out of our heads is to help other people. And your experience is such that there is someone you can help, generously.

Did you know that Billy Ocean teaches at the Tech Music Schools in London regularly holding seminars and clinics? How are you teaching the skills you’ve developed, bringing this new medium forward?

Having another job helps too.

Did you know that Billy Ocean is also a tailor?

I’m a qualified tailor, and the reason for that is my mother. She knew I loved music – I’d sing with her when she was ironing in the evening – and academically I wasn’t very bright. So when I left school with no qualifications, she said I must take a course in something to fall back on.

No really.
There are a lot of bloggers in the world, competing for some very specific dollars.
And a day job can help take the pressure off of you having to sell your story.
Which is not the same as telling your story.

Selling is not telling.

Did you know that Billy Ocean’s Greatest Hits was his biggest commercial success so far.
It has sold steadily over the past 34 years.

He’s still creating work, he even went on tour with his daughter Cherie as a backup singer last week.

That makes me kind of sad. I want my greatest hits to come out IN 34 years.
Not before I’ve learned it all.

But some people don’t care, they want the commercial success to come out no matter what.

What does your greatest hits look like? Do you want to sell it now? Or in 34 years? How can you continue to add to your greatest hits? How can you make sure your greatest hits really are your greatest hits?

(Thanks for following along. This is part 2/6 of a talk I gave at the Big Traveling Potluck last weekend in Temecula.)

8 thoughts on “No more love on the run – playing the long game

  1. 1

    Love on the run! *Love on the run!*

    Can’t wait for #3


    A Caribbean Queen Wannabe

  2. 2
    maile says:

    Your ears should be ringing. I just got off the phone with Karen and we both agreed that you’re one of the smartest people we know online. Love this post. And I totally want to frame the first graphic. So good.

  3. 3

    […] of my best blogging buddies Helen Jane spoke about overcoming creative blocks. One of her core messages was that you don’t have to […]

  4. 4

    […] Rustic Garden Bistro Savour Fare Bake Your Day Food Woolf Foodie Crush Two Peas and Their Pod Picky Palate Helen Jane Part 1 Helen Jane Part 2 […]

  5. 5

    Great perspective. Aimee Mann is another artist I admire for her creative endurance. This interview with her on Middle Mojo is an instructive portrait of someone who has learned to surf the waves of fortune and commerce. http://middlemojo.com/2011/10/aimee-manns-head-is-filled-with-sharp-tools/

  6. 6

    I was not kidding when I called you the Godmother of our community. You truly astound me with your deep understanding of both the biz and the soul behind what we do.

  7. 7

    […] internet creativity through the artistic stylings of Billy Ocean. The other posts are here: One, Two, Three, Four, […]

  8. 8

    […] So, like I said, here is part one of 6 posts from my presentation this past Saturday. The other posts are here: Two, Three, Four, Five, Six. […]

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