If you watch the above video, Amanda Palmer’s TED talk (she’s the lead singer for the Dresden Dolls and also Neil Gaiman’s wife), you might be feeling inspired but also wondering what this means for you, for creative people. What can it mean in the context of writing, or photography? Writers do have an audience, and perhaps that audience would be happy to fund a project a writer is doing. Places like Kickstarter prove that there is an audience willing to be asked, that will invest in projects by writers and creative professionals. I was inspired by Amanda’s admission that there is a trust and connection between her and her fans. She reminds us that musicians and artists have historically been in the community, not aloof celebrities – celebrity is untouchable. Her style has always been to create that exchange and connection between her and her fans.
I feel that what she is proposing has a lot to do with the possibilities of how we connect on the internet – across great distances, we can forge connections with people, people who read our blogs, who enjoy reading and writing and creating too. This is what makes the internet so special – that capacity for connection with new readers, with other writers, with people we want to educate and inspire. It also reminds me that life has a lot of possibilities, and connecting with others gives us new possibilities, ways of creating new and exciting art and of collaborating with other people. Art is about an exchange – exchange of ideas, exchanging stories, exchanging money or support for coming up close to art and the artist. If I felt that a project was interesting, I would give money towards it. The exchange is music, art, stories or ideas.
Asking is hard, and I think there is something I find personally difficult about, for example, maybe setting up a Kickstarter project to fund a book. That isn’t to say that I won’t ever do that. It’s the first time that is always hard – realising that people do want to read your work, or have an exchange with you – otherwise what would be the point of blogging or social networking? People interact with each other and that is what makes the internet such a special place for creative people. Yes, there are downsides, but striking the right balance – being yourself on Twitter (and not tweeting lots of marketing and promotional stuff all the time…), encouraging comments on your blog, commenting on other people’s blogs – that is what builds community and creates an exchange between you and your audience.
What are your thoughts?
p.s. To turn the subtitles on, move your cursor over the screen and click on the drop down which says ‘4 languages’ and choose English.
I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap. ~ Ani DiFranco.