Why Don’t my Friends and Family Support my Creative Work?

by Georgie Watts

Oftentimes as a creative person, we rely quite heavily on the approval, support and financial patronage of family members and those whom we call our friends. When we first announce we are going to be a creative for a living many of those people we know well are enthusiastic right there along with us and may even be our first buyers and sharers of our work, bolstering our confidence as well as improving sales in those early days.

As time goes on, when things dip as they naturally do in the cycles of artistic work, we find that our own confidence wanes and we start to worry about the choices we’ve made and whether we really should have gotten into this whole thing or should have actually gone down a more traditional working route. Unless we are very successful purely in terms of thousands of sales and tens of thousands of internet followers, we will find that the initial enthusiasm of many on our social media will also wane and you are left with only a few people to call your true ‘fans’. These remaining people are very special indeed and I will come back to them later on.

So what happened then? Why are people who we love and respected completely ignoring us when we post new work, new ideas, work on old things, finish large projects that mean so much to us? Why are we so easy to ignore when we thought those people actually really liked what we did? Let’s have a look at some of the drivers behind their behaviours so we don’t have to get our knickers in a twist about it:

THEY’RE TOO BUSY WORRYING ABOUT FINANCES AND TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING FOR THEMSELVES

Whether the people you thought supported you work in the creative industries, in the local pet shop or don’t have enough work coming in to support themselves, they are also worried about making money. They just might not in this case see your work as important enough in their heads. It seems completely trivial to them when they are very worried about getting enough cash to pay the rent. And this is completely understandable.

If they even thought about your work for five seconds, the non-creatives amongst them might be irritated that you are seemingly ‘swanning’ about farting-arsing around when they have to really slog at trying to get food on the table and may be fucked off by your posts because you don’t know what’s it’s like to really struggle. Of course this view is nonsense, because OF COURSE YOU KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO STRUGGLE, you’re perpetually skint and can’t find ordinary work because, you know, mental health/physical health………and you have made PLENTY OF SACRIFICES THANKYOU VERY MUCH in order to survive and put food on the table. You cannot ameliorate other people’s silly views or thoughts, so don’t even bother trying.

THEY LIED WHEN THEY SAID ENCOURAGING THINGS BEFORE

Some people do this. People generally do like to try and be nice and encouraging especially in order to look like a good person in front of other people. They simply can’t be bothered to keep up this pretence now. Get over it.

THEY DON’T LIKE YOU REALLY

This is abit like the one above. These people actually dislike you quite intensely but aren’t letting on because of social obligations not to be a total cunt. They wanted to make themselves look good and get attention for themselves when a lot of eyes were on your work. Now things have slowed down abit albeit temporarily, they are rubbing their hands together in glee BECAUSE YOU HAVE FAILED LIKE THEY HOPED YOU WOULD. I mean they probably don’t think about you this intensely, surely that’s mad! Also why do you care about them, you know EXACTLY who they are and you certainly wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire. Also, when things pick up again, they’ll be there licking your arse and sharing/commenting/liking things just to make themselves look good.

THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR WORK

Well that’s abit harsh….but as Ray says in Uptown Girls, ‘It’s a harsh world’ so you better get used to it.

THEY ACTUALLY LIKE SOME OF THE STUFF YOU DO BUT THEY GOT BORED WITH YOU CONSTANTLY POSTING AND THEN UNFOLLOWED YOUR POSTS

Wow, are you really that annoying online? Also why don’t they like everything you do? Surely they should if they like and love you? Well no, actually they don’t have to like anything at all, it’s kind of a human right. And since you don’t always like their choice in blouses or the political bullshit they like to bang on about from time to time, why on earth would you expect them to like every single thing you make and post up to the world? Oh I see, you’re a narcissist.

Because you have posted multiple times a day, often sales posts – your friends and family developed patronage apathy and unfollowed you. Stop clogging people’s newsfeeds with the same stuff all the time! To win these people back who do actually like you and some of your work, make sure you take an interest in them abit. And then maybe talk a little bit about what you are making in real life as well as online. Be careful not to bore them shitless IRL though! Or maybe don’t do what I say, I’m bored already with this!

BECAUSE THEY ASSUME WHAT YOU DO IS JUST A LITTLE HOBBY

Well fuck you Jim.

THEY ARE JEALOUS OF YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

Some people are just bitter about not doing the things they feel they should be doing, so cannot be happy for other people when they achieve. Just a fact. I’m not going to tell you to have compassion for them, because well, you ‘re too busy to be babying people who are arseholes, but I will tell you to get over it.

THAT’S IT I THINK, NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF:

I said previously that I would talk about the people who remain liking you and your work when things get tough. These people understand that with creative people, we are our work and what we make means the absolute world to us. The things we make may even be possibly the things that keep us alive at our darkest hours and these loyal special people fully understand that. These people aren’t necessarily people you have actually met or have any familial bond with. Some of them are *SHOCK* – internet strangers! Somehow, your work resonates with them and understands them ..…..because your voice, your art, your words speak their language in a way that others’ work doesn’t. They are loyal because they love your soul and it comes out in your work. And only your people can truly appreciate it. These are your people my troubled artistic friend. Try not to be weirded out by their displays of enthusiasm that just won’t quit. For they are not stalkers and they certainly wouldn’t dream of bothering you or your family. Although alot of them probably would really enjoy a pint in the pub garden with you, they actually want you to keep working because they just really love your work. Simple. Your output is what keeps them going at times. Sometimes they are creative people themselves and really become inspired by what you do, as you yourself can be deeply inspired by the creative work and tenacity of others.

THESE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT DESERVE YOUR ATTENTION AND THOUGHT AND GRATITUDE. Instead of wondering why people don’t like you you or your work, turn it around and wonder instead….wonder why people do like your work, what is it that is special to them, wonder in the fact that a handful of people really do think what you do is worthwhile AND BE HAPPY WITH THAT.