Have you seen this classic TED talk from Simon Sinek?
I love his point that people will intuitively react to your inner motivation even if you haven’t thought it out for yourself. It got me thinking about the different kinds of artists I’ve met — those who seem humble and unguarded, those who seem like they’re seeking attention, and those who use art as a platform for a broader message. How many of them have thought through why they do what they do? And how would their messaging and fan relationships change if they did?
Becoming clear about your inner motivation will provide you with a wealth of insight for connecting with your fans. Sit for a second and think about your why. Art is a hard business — there must be something deeper that keeps driving you forward through all the soul-crushing set backs that come with the territory. Somewhere in your heart is a little child with a mission that keeps you going. Whatever that secret mission is for you, even if it’s not pretty, own it. Refine it.
Is your motivation connecting with people? Then make music that’s open to interpretation and keep accessible, vulnerable dialogue going with your fans. Be open about your flaws and your fans will respond with kinship.
Is your motivation self-expression? Then paint, share your sketches, give your fans glimpses into your process even when it doesn’t feel ready. Invite them to share their creativity with you and repost their fan videos, artwork, and tattoos.
And if it’s truly about attention and notoriety, own that too. Turn your music videos into clever, crazy stunts. Start conversations that will create controversy.
Connecting with your why will provide you with a wealth of ideas for furthering your work and reaching your fans. Don’t leave that gold mine untapped by leaving your motivation unexamined.