Thursday, March 22, 2012

Never One To Follow The Crowd - Four Vignettes


When I began writing music 30 some years ago, I knew I didn't want to play in a band. I didn't want to play on stage. I didn't want to write normal "songs". The other 99% of musicians I knew aspired to those goals.

I set my sights on other ways of going about the business at hand and, in the end, I created and recorded music for meditation videos, wrote pieces for modern dance companies and entire scores for art installations and brought my own multimedia performance shows to the theater.


When I decided to move out of the mid-sized city I grew up in, all of my friends were shocked that I chose a small town of 6000 all the way across the country. They had all moved to larger cities.
To huge metropolises.
Most were, admittedly, miserable.
I went off with the idea that a small town, even in bad economic times, could provide more opportunity if you had a variety of services you could offer AND were actually good at them. In those years, I was never at a want for work in ANY of the areas I pursued.  


When I started my first coffeehouse, the last owner I had worked for came to visit my place.
"How can you make it with only fifteen seats?" he asked as he looked around the converted house-turned-bakery/cafe.

His restaurant, to this day one of my favorite places I have ever worked, sat 55 people in a huge and spacious room. Most nights it was two thirds empty.
It often felt even emptier.
And people talked about that all over town.

The same people talked about my place, with no mention of the small number of seats, but only of the fact that it was impossible to get into almost every day for lunch.


So. . . is it any wonder that when I decided to set up art shops on the internet, I chose, in every avenue, to veer away from what is popular merchandise wise and any promotional avenues that are already over-saturated and pursued by everyone. A year later, I am making things I never dreamed I would be creating and I am finding niches in each area of my work that is allowing me to live, as a working artist, for the first time in my life. 

The few keys I always follow are to stay wide open to the possibilities and steered clear of the "brass ring" effect. People flock in droves trying to cash in on one idea.
Often one stemming from what others have already done first.
Often without the willingness to put in the effort and hours it takes to set their work apart form other's.

Then, as cliched as it sounds
I always follow my heart.

Not what the business model suggests would be good to do.
Just what I LOVE to do.
Just what my heart asks. . .
And, I

I think, in truth, many people have forgotten how to do this.
And listening to our heart, and to our customers as we cultivate them, is a niche market all of it's own
And while it definitely is not a guarantee of our success
It IS a guarantee of our sanity
And that makes anyone who follows their heart
The genius of the crowd

Thanks for reading!

This blog topic was inspired by Lee at One Clay Bead who wrote this charming post here:
Etsy AGTeam Wirter's Circle Post


1 comment:

  1. Bravo! It took me decades to arrive at the place where I could get out of my own way with my big ideas about what I needed to do in order to succeed (which all had me just barely surviving) and just go with making what I honestly love and looking for the niche that truly loves it, too. And so i see in you an original, and a very courageous person.

    Interesting that we say "the brass ring" vs "the heart of gold". Because grabbing for that brass ring didn't pay off for me nearly as well as following my heart, either.

    Thanks for sharing this insight.