|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
LEAD OR FOLLOW, ALPHA'S EAT FIRST AND MOST
What are you doing? Simple enough question. The easy answer would be, reading your blog, dummy! A number of people will do that over the next twenty-four hours. You can take that two ways. You're in a highly select and limited group. Or you've fallen in with the masochists. (That works if you're going to the freaker's ball but might be difficult to explain over dinner with Aunt Beatrice.)
Let's narrow this down a little. What are you doing artistically? Are you writing a certain type of fiction? Perhaps you are painting in a specific style or subject matter? If you are a musician, are you composing original works or playing covers? If you are doing any of these, are they what you're presenting in the public market? If you look honestly at your work, are you leading the way? Or are you in the middle of the pack and hoping that, whereever it meanders, you can follow? Are you an exception or a rule?
Rules are those things we use to get along. We drive on the right side of the road. We cover our noses when we sneeze. We color between the lines. We do what the boss asks. It is what makes our world safe and acceptable. All of this has its place and purpose and makes sure the herd keeps heading in the same direction. After all, you never know what's going to happen when you wander off. (And other things mom told you.)
Now then, look at the truly successful artists around you. Are they the rule or the exception? Honesty scores points here. If you said they are the exceptions, the leaders in their chosen genre, media, subject choices, you're bang on!
It isn't the safety of a crowd that gets you noticed in the arts, or in life for that matter. The people who get the accolades, the contracts, the exposure, and the success are the ones who look at what the best are doing and then try as hard as they can to do it different, and more. They intentionally refuse to be like everyone else. They realize that popularity contests only make you popular with everyone you tried so hard to be just like. The outskirts are where the dark geniuses and the mad saints congregate. They're out there making sure they are unlike anyone else and trying their damnedest to be better than...THEMSELVES!
So, like early man discovering his communication skills, take a look around you and draw a deep breath, and remember, it's up to you, are you going to say MOOOOO, or, "Move out of the way"?
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
Meantime...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis