Why No One Likes Your Stuff
There are a lot of people producing a lot of content today, and most of it is going by absolutely ignored. Sometimes this is because they are just starting, and haven’t yet built their audience. Or, it may be a lack of understanding as to how to get in front of the right people.
Or, it might be because your stuff stinks.
There are several reasons for having your stuff stink. Let’s consider one or two of them.
#1 You are so new to this that you haven’t learned how to do your stuff properly yet.
Ira Glass refers to this period in the video below, and implores newer, less experienced creators to not give up. I love the way he acknowledges that your taste is good (your taste is KILLER), but you just haven’t developed the skills yet to produce the quality of work that you want to see. And, if you can see that that’s true, so can your audience, or more accurately, the audience you wish was yours.
So, yes, your stuff stinks, but that is to be expected. Nothing to be ashamed of or get frustrated with. The good news is that, if you’re honest with yourself, you already KNOW that your stuff isn’t great because you KNOW what great looks like. Keep working on it, fixing the details that keep it from being amazing, and it will get better.
#2 You don’t care about your stuff, you care about getting attention
This one is tricky, but it’s incredibly important.
You have to care about the thing you are creating in order for it to have any value. If you care about it, it will show, and if you don’t, it will show more. We’ve all seen it, the cheap knock-off of someone else’s song, art, TV show…it’s obvious that the thing was created with the idea that “that show about puppies did real well in the box office, so puppies are the thing! Puppy movies will make us rich!”
Of course, when that happens, you have a lot of horrible puppy movies. And, if you ever DO go see one of them, you feel insulted. And let down. You feel let down, because the original puppy movie was great, inspiring even, and you were left wishing that the movie would keep on going. So, when someone put out another one, you went hoping that they made this movie with the same intent as the first. Then you feel insulted, because you realize that you have been used, drawn to a cheap pile of stink by your emotions.
Sorry, I’m getting carried away here. I just REALLY loved that puppy movie…
The point is, the goal of the creation dictates what is created. So, for the most part, if the goal is to get attention quickly, or to make quick money, the focus is NOT going to be on making the best creation. And it will show.
If you don’t care, really care, about what you are creating, if you are only doing it for the result, whether it’s attention, fame, money or something else, then you have not created a jewel, something of real value. Instead, you end up with a photocopy of a printout of a bad photo of a jewel. And most people will be able to tell the difference instantly. Oh, you may be able to fool some folks, as per P.T. Barnum’s classic line, but not everyone. At least not for long.
Caring about your creation means taking the time to get it right. Carefully study the details, and ask yourself if it could be better. What is the goal of this? Am I trying to evoke a feeling? Am I trying to simplify a work process? Trying to deliver specific training? Whatever it is, how fully is it delivering? What is missing, or in the way and SHOULD be missing? When you walk away from it for a while, and look at it later, does it make you feel like you’ve really accomplished something good? Would YOU buy it?
This also means that you have to care about your audience. This may sound counter-intuitive, especially when your audience may just be yourself, but nothing exists in a vacuum. And, if you didn’t care at all about your audience, you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be wasting time reading an article like this.
So, what will fill your audience with the same feeling that you want to get from your work? Keep chipping away at it until you get as close to that as possible.
If you keep that up, your work will definitely NOT stink. You will have something that speaks to people on a level that will connect, and make them feel that they have something of value.
Because they will.
What are your thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Think I need a good tongue-lashing? Leave me your comments, I can’t wait to read them!