As I have probably mentioned before, one of the biggest battles you have as a shy or depressed person is the assumption that nothing that you do is remotely important, so you might as well not bother. As somebody who was kind of forced into bothering, I can tell you that, as I suspected as an unusually positive person who has sporadic periods of melancholy, it is not true to say this. Everything is worth trying, even if it doesn’t work.
The idea is that you rule out the hundred thousand wrong directions if you actually take them. It doesn’t matter if there is no response or it is the wrong way, what matters is persisting in trying something new. Most of my friends had either had trying new things beaten out of them by abusive parents and friends, or given up because of unpleasant circumstances.
Because my artwork is non-conventional, I went through twenty years of collecting wool from wherever I could get it cheapest, then finding when I actually made things I was being told not to do anything with it or that it was clearly shite, because nobody else does it.
As it turned out, within a year of showing my work it was being picked up by magazines. Likewise with my writing, with minimal effort, I have now shifted about 30,000 books. I am not concerned about making money out of it at the moment, it just isn’t a priority, but it is 30k more books than I would have shifted if I hadn’t bothered to write or distribute them. I have also learned a lot about marketing and what people actually go for that I would not have learned if I had not bothered. (eg. Best Scandal Ever had £400 spent on marketing, and has long since been overtaken by Best Romance Ever, which I spent precisely nothing on)
In the meantime, all the naysayers that either questioned my reasons for doing it, or assumed that anything I did must be questionable just because it was me doing it still haven’t done anything. My film director ex claims that he does not make things for an audience, and does not bother to market anything. He will then presume to give me advice as if he knows what he is doing.
Be wary of friends and family who try to give you advice. Please ensure that they have some actual knowledge before they assure you that you need an agent or a gallery, because chances are, especially if you are experimental, that you will hate what you have done within months of doing it.
Even when someone you are emotionally depending on, for whatever spurious reason, tries to shut you down, it is up to you to inflate your own importance. Ignoring other people’s bullshit is by far the most important thing you can learn. From a personal perspective, had I not witnessed some of the haters of other people, I would have taken my most famous hater more seriously.
One of Wolfe’s most virulent haters was emailing me for about three years. I was told stories daily by this person. When I finally got fed up fielding the poison in my email, she continued to email for a further eighteen months, apparently not noticing that I had stopped replying. When I finally looked at what she was sending me, she had been sending me hate mail for months, based on a casual comment from two years before rather than any material I was putting out. When I challenged her on it, she replied that she drank too much.
Take it from this, that slow poisons affect behaviour as much as their baggage, and you need to lose the idea that any of it matters. I tried telling this woman that as far as Wolfe was concerned, I was rolling far bigger dice than she understood, but she did not listen to me, and neither did he.
I wish I had had the strength to understand this seven years ago, when I abandoned my work because of the rudeness of Wolfe and his team at the time. Too bad, how sad. I guess it is going to work out better for me though, because I would simply not have inflated my own importance to the point of even trying to do what I am doing now, which is a fairly basic case of saving my own life in the course of creating the real Ina Disguise.