I have tattoos. 6 of them. They are very specific and personal to me and I love each and everyone with my whole heart, yet I can’t for the life of me be totally open about them. Every time I get a new one, I hide it for a few days at least. I was always shy for others to see what I consider important enough to be marked on my skin forever. I have always been shy of showing my true passions and interests because I was always told they were ridiculous.
How people perceive you and talk about you when you are young can change your whole perception of yourself. It is a very important topic, but it is not mine for today. People will find you naïve, dumb, childish to love what you love or to believe you’ll achieve your big dreams, but you’ve got to ignore them and keep walking forward.
You have to do what you want, be who you want, and the right people will come along. It can be scary to stand your ground and say “no, this is what I love talking about, so this is what I will create about.” Yet, trust me, you are never the only one to like a certain thing. I am currently reading Creativity Inc. Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration by Ed Catmull (he’s the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation). In one of the first pages he says: “If we made something we wanted to see, others would want to see it, too.” If the guy running the two biggest animation studio says it, you can trust me with this information.
Whether it’s comic books, Disney movies, economics, fanfiction, baseball, fashion, makeup, romcoms, there is someone with similar tastes. If you have a desire, a fire within, to create, please don’t hold yourself back just because you fear being told it’s not cool. It doesn’t matter if you are cool or not, it matters if you do what you love. The right audience will come along because there are people who want to know all the funky little ways your brain works. If you find the right people, they will not only love hearing your thoughts but will also encourage you down this path.
There is a Quebecois song that says “Le temps perdu à craindre l’étreinte et à éteindre la moindre flamme ‘’. (loosely translated to The time lost in fear of the embrace and by extinguishing every spark.) It’s a love song, yet it makes me think of creation. Creation in every sense of the way, either art or business. Building something from scratch, creating entirely from your imagination. There is no time to waste while great things are awaiting you on the other side of fear. It is the saddest thing to see a spark in someone’s eyes disappear because they were told to dial down their passion, dial down who they are just to fit in. No, please no. Don’t change to fit into the mold, simply find the right audience. Not everyone will like what you do, but the right people will. If it makes you sparkle with joy and excitement, it will make someone else too.
We all have a different target audience and it is normal that we don’t reach out to everyone. Let me tell you a little story. In my creative writing class, we need to write short stories and read them into small groups so we can discuss how to improve each text. Last class, I was extremely nervous because I had written a superhero short story. My teammates didn’t know it was an important part of my life, but I feared their reaction because I felt childish and simple-minded to write about superheroes. When we got to my story, my teammates all said it was refreshing to read a story like that. It was unexpected, yet they liked it. I was relieved but also glad I had this lesson taught to me. They have their own style made for specific audiences, and I have mine. Their styles do not reduce mine. It is perfectly normal and desired to have different styles and voices. My writing is meant for a different target audience, it’s all. Even if you are not a creator, this tip works for you. Other people’s successes don’t affect yours. They have their life going on, and yours should not feel diminished by their success. Nor should you feel better about yourself when they fail. Life isn’t a competition. We are all teammates. We all need each other to thrive.
If you work from passion, from your heart, it will show and people will be attracted to your energy. Start with passion, with a spark from your heart and people will notice and start following you along your journey. The right audience will come and appreciate all parts of you, as funky or child-like they are. Who you are is enough.
I encourage you to go listen to the podcast episode called “Do you like me? Seeking external validation” By Perfectly Imperfect. It is very eye-opening. Here’s the link to Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/17yv9FgAmfbrO1xbtSorL5?si=i1sotKSXQ2WGwlkkvcaIFw
Also, the song I mentioned is called “La tête en gigue” by Jim et Bertrand. If you want to listen to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdRMVlAkCsA
Stay tuned on the b0ld blog for other amazing articles by my great cowriters, but also the next part of this “target audience” journey with me.