Step 12

The Dreamer’s Manual:
Sixteen Steps to Achieve Your Creative Goals

Step 12: Scale the Wall

Dreaming is a passive activity, but in order to achieve your goals, you must pair your ideas with actions. This can be difficult, because you want your art to be appreciated, and releasing your work to the public makes you vulnerable to criticism.

A lot of great work never makes it past the emotional “walls” artists erect to protect themselves. They work in secret, promising to reveal their creations when the time is right, then continually make excuses as to why their work is not ready.

But, if you never finish work, then you never have anything to show. And if you never have anything to show, you cannot gain fans, make sales, and advance your career. In other words: no public, no progress.

Of course, there may come a time when you need to “woodshed,” or go through a period of intensive, private work to improve your art, but this is usually a temporary process, not a permanent condition. If, given a reasonable amount of time, you are unable to produce any art for public consumption, you may simply be afraid of how people will react to your work.

The way you create and release work, or fail to release it, usually determines your financial success as an artist. If you make the best art in the world, but no one ever knows about it, you will never be rewarded for your efforts.

If you pour your soul into your art, then put it out into the world, you risk everything. If you keep your work to yourself, you risk nothing. But you cannot grow as an artist without taking risks.

The world needs your art. Take the risk. If you fall down, pick yourself up and keep going. You will learn. You will improve, and you will eventually succeed.

Release your art. If your work is still evolving, the feedback you receive will teach you how to improve it. 

Step 12: Scale the Wall