It’s one of my favorite fantasies to believe that I can stay safe inside my little bubble, creating only what I want to create, when I want to create it, and that people will love all of it and and pay me great wads of money just to have a part of it in their lives, but that’s not how the world works. No artist can live in a vacuum without devolving into self-referential, repetitive work, running out of ideas, or just plain going mad. And the truth is, the act of creation, for many of us, doesn’t have a lot of meaning if it’s just about self gratification. For me, specifically, I want my creations to make a difference in people’s lives–to inspire them, to give them hope, to help them find what they need to then make a difference in the lives of others.
There is a quote by Rumi, that elegantly sums this up:
But that is only the what, not the who. Which brings us to today’s question.
#DareToExcel Challenge – 4:
Who is this for?
The innovators who thrive advance their big, new ideas in part because they love their ideas to make a difference in other people’s lives. Do some research on the people who might benefit from your challenge. Look at the online conversations, on our private forum, or – better – have real-time conversations with customers or potential audience members.
Make notes on what feels broken or not-quite-right or downright frustrating in their worlds.
How does he feel when he’s not feeling so great? What one irritation keeps tripping her up?
Then make notes on this: What does she want – a different feeling, a problem solved, one step toward a yearning – that your project might surprisingly give her?
Go back to your burning question: How will your question invite them in?
Look back at your project brief. Did you define a problem in a way that speaks to their perceived wants?
Don’t over-think it for now. We’re taking notes and keeping momentum.
I have to admit, I balk at the word audience. It reeks to me of performance, as though I am putting on my beliefs like a costume that I can remove at any time and revert to who I really am. For me, and for probably all of us undertaking this challenge (and many more beyond), the whole point of this exercise, of the work that I do, is to fully embrace and share my true self whether it nets me customers or not. I want to focus not on giving people what I think they want, but on helping them find what they truly need. But semantics aside, Jeffrey is right. Art for art’s sake is not enough. It needs to be shared, and it’s important to know who will be best served and to share it with them.
While I do think that there are people who could be well served by my first question, and it’s associated project Hands in Motion, Mind at Rest–people who want to find ways to work their way through distractions, to make space for the big important work to flourish–I believe it is the book, 3T, that has the most to give:
- To women who feel like the heroic stories of our past have stolen our deepest symbols and stripped us of our power and agency, and long to rediscover and reclaim them
- To students and teachers of Medieval, Celtic, Catholic, and most particularly, their intersection in Arthurian literature, legend, and mythology, especially those with feminist-leanings
- To anyone looking for ways to create new stories to replace those that don’t fit anymore
- To survivors of bad relationships or trauma, those dealing with grief and loss, those who may struggle with “invisible” health problems, or others, especially women, who feel powerless and want to take their power back (perhaps even preppers)
- To people of all genders who believe that climate change is real but that the paths we have half-heartedly travelled in our attempts to solve a problem that threatens us all are just not working
Seeing it written it all feels a bit broad, but I believe there is a great deal of overlap, and that these rough notes will begin to coalesce as I work on the book. As for the small sample set of people I’ve talked to about the book–they all said they were excited about the unique combination of history, symbolism, feminism, climate change, and memoir the work will include. What they want is a new path to healing, re-empowerment, and social/environmental change. And that is exactly what I am hoping to build.
Time to rework my #projectbrief.