How to not give a damn.

When you make something with no consideration of the outside world, no interest in other people’s opinions, no desire to find a market for your product, but just simply because it expresses how you feel, because you find it interesting, because it something you want to do — your creation is authentic.

Being authentic does have a price. You may not be compensated as handsomely as if you created something designed just to satisfy others (but then again, you might).  But it’ll compensate you in other ways that are much more meaningful and lasting  —like insight, community, credibility, beauty, value and truth.

If you make something authentic, there will be other people who react to it the same way you do.  There may or may not be an enormous numbers of those people, but those who do will view your work as extremely meaningful. They may react to it as strongly as you do. Or maybe even in a more interesting way. They may well see stuff you were blind to and give you fresh insight into your own creation and experience. 

Worry less about what others will think about what you’re making and focus instead on what matters to you, right now. 

Mine your inner life, your beliefs, your experiences, your own personal language. What truly speaks to you?


PS Don’t obsess about this idea. Ironically, if you care too much about authenticity, you may just end up being a tragic hipster.

10 thoughts on “How to not give a damn.”

  1. Or, conversely, if you make something very intentionally for someone or someones or even some cause or belief you might find authenticity as well. Again, must be made with no hope of fruition – no buried desire for fame.

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  2. I couldn’t agree more. To thine own self be true. I discovered this through song writing, and after penning three novels. At first I had grandiose visions of a publisher chasing me down and offering me large sums of money so I could quit my day job and stay home. I laugh about that now. Once reality set in, I realized that I write both songs and novels for the sheer joy of creating something poignant and beautiful, even if the beauty is witnessed through my eyes only. The creation of art for the sake of itself with no expectations attached, is a kind of purity.

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  3. Good advice not just for making something, Danny, but for life in general. This “not caring” attitude would
    eliminate a lot of worries about anything. If we could only just not give a damn ~ live our lives, and let our thoughts ride the wind…

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  4. From a little book called Steal Like an Artist one recommendation stuck in my memory…it said, take advantage of the fact that few people know your work, enjoy the freedom. It’s a real gift…

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  5. I think it was Andy Warhol who advised ” Make art. Let other people decide if it is good. While they are deciding make more art” Excuse if I do not have it exactly quoted….. Maybe I’ll sketch my pantry shelf of soup cans someday! LOL! Thanks Danny for this blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi! Like many of these other comments, I also agree with this blog post. I think its very true in life to focus on yourself and not care so much about what others think/ tell you….especially if its negative. I do also think sometimes we should put others before ourselves, but at the end of the day you are the one thats going to always be there for yourself. With this being said doing more of what makes you happy is also a must! I also believe that when you focus on what matters most to you, that you’ll have the drive to want to do good because you arent forced to create content that doesnt matter to you. I really enjoyed your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For me, it isn’t so much not caring as simply pleasing myself. So there is a great deal of “care” but only for my own eyes and enjoyment. The pieces I personally love most seem to be the first to sell.

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  8. Very insightful but I now wonder if I did not make a major mistake in my art career. As a pioneer in digital art (gayleolee.artspan.com) I would not compromise my original art with inexpensive reproductions. Although I did sell quite a number of original prints I found the cost of making them was just a wash for what went into making them. I now feel I should have compensated the high cost of making the art with introducing them to my shows.

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  9. Danny, I enjoyed this post. Although I love encouragement and compliments on my work (and also really appreciate thoughtful critiques and suggestions), ever since I was a kid, I’ve drawn and painted to please myself. It reminds me of a variation on that saying “What other people think of me (or my work) is none of my business!”

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