“Artists love to trot out the tired line, ‘My work speaks for itself,’ but the truth is, our work doesn’t speak for itself. Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them.”
–Austin Kleon, Show Your Work! Chapter 5
Remember the old adage “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around, does it make a sound?” I used to think this was an absurd question (“of course it makes a sound!”), but what one approaches the question metaphorically, I have a difference of opinion.
One’s creative output is like the tree and putting in the work (chopping it down) isn’t enough. One must make sure people are around to hear the sound. Show the work, explain the work, analyze the work, accept feedback on the work, learn from the work, and create new work.
It’s not easy and it takes dedication, discipline, and patience, but the potential for growth and reward is great. Besides, if no one at first notices one or two felled trees, they will surely notice the clearing you’ve created if you keep on chopping!