At the wonderful Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle (where I met featured artist Francesca Berrini) I watched lots of creative people in the role of salespeople. I was doing the same thing – signing and promoting my book.
I view self-promotion as performance art. I’m performing, yet I’m playing an authentic part of myself.
Psychologist May-Elaine Jacobson, in her book The Gifted Adult, talks about our many “selves”, and a system she calls “Inner Rule”:
“Since each of us has multiple subselves (for example, the arguer, the striver, the thinker, the romantic, the nurturer, the player, the helpless one, and so on) an inner rule must emerge. This inner rule manages the often unruly competing parts of ourselves by choosing who takes center stage at any given moment.”
Ah, there it is! “Choosing who takes center stage.” Performance. So when it’s time to promote your work, what part of yourself takes center stage? Is the stage empty? Can the public sense you hiding in the wings? Or are you actually hiding; behind a tech screen or a lack of spoken and written words?
As we mature – as individuals, artists, and business people – we can use “inner rule” to help manage our emotions and sensitivities, and protect our thin-skinned artistic selves.
Selling what you make is not easy.
Jacobson says that, “When we learn to master the system of inner rule we no longer need to be outwardly defined. The energy that is necessary for creative living need not be wasted on lesser matters.”
Isn’t it astounding how much energy it takes to be anxious?
Try this self-governing idea, and decide what part of yourself is in charge out there.