We are inundated by mixed messages regarding everything from what food we should/shouldn’t eat, what we should wear, how we should raise children, how we should behave … the list goes on. As a musician, a big problem for me has been how authentic should I be with my online presence. We are told to be open and ‘real’, but to be careful with what we say, or write, so as not to offend fans and readers. Don’t be too opinionated because you could miss out on potential fans and future sales. Then someone else says that we should be completely authentic, warts and all, because that creates more of a connection between artist and fan.
I’ve been completely paralyzed by this and as such haven’t written or done anything for a long time. Whenever I sit down to write a post I worry about which angle I should take, should I only write about music related subjects? Should I be more honest and write what I feel and think about certain topics? Do I try and focus on becoming a source of information on reeds and saxophones/clarinets? As a result, I write nothing.
But, there comes a time in everyones life when you just have to say “fuck it”. I have decided that, finally, for me, this time has arrived.
I have spent a great deal of my life following social etiquette, trying not to offend or upset people I meet, and, to be honest, creating a huge amount of confusion and problems in my life which would not have existed had I said what I really thought at the time.
I recently remembered a book I read, maybe 6 or 7 years ago, by Erika Napoletano, titled Unpopular. I have started to read it again, because it is a superb book which I highly recommend reading (click the title to go to the book’s Amazon page). The basic premise, if I remember correctly, is that not everyone will like the decisions that you make, in fact some people will hate them, but that’s a good thing. If you are being authentic then you wouldn’t want those people as customers anyway. Companies who aren’t afraid to be unpopular with people who are not in their demographic are considerably more successful than companies who try to pander to everyone’s wishes.
It has been said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. When I first read the book, although I loved the idea and became a huge fan of Erika, I wasn’t ready to completely take on board everything she said. Now, however, I am. Hence my “fuck it” moment.
So, the thing is, I will write about all sorts of things. Music, life, parenting, politics, depression, … Some people will not like what I write, will disagree vehemently, and will probably be offended by my colourful language. That’s fine, I’m not forcing anyone to stay here and read my posts. If my views and ideas lead to constructive dialogue, then all the better (unless you’re a Trump supporter, in which case piss off, you are definitely NOT in my demographic!). I’m not going to go out of my way to offend anyone, or create polemic posts, but equally, I am no longer going to hide my opinions and views through fear of being unpopular.