Dealing With My Inner Art Snob
As a writer, I’ve dealt with quite a few art snobs. From the students in my creative writing classes to even the inner snob within me, it can be hard to ignore criticism from people who don’t understand or appreciate your art. For years I’ve pushed myself to write fiction, but it has always felt forced.
The truth is that I don’t want to make stuff up. I want to talk about real things in real life. I’d tell myself, but fiction is a mirror to real life. Fiction writers pull from their own life. Fiction allows us to tell a higher truth. Just try it again… And yes, this is all true, but I still don’t want to write fiction. And I felt like that meant I’m not a real writer, that somehow, I’m not creating art. So I kept trying to write fiction and getting more and more frustrated. Only recently have I finally admitted to myself that nonfiction is my passion, and I won’t be happy unless I pursue that.
Real Artists Don’t Starve – Art Snobs Do
On top of that, people look down on my day job as a content writer. When I told someone about my internship at a marketing agency, she told me that if she wanted to pursue writing, she would do something more creative. If she wanted? I’ve known this chick for years, and she wants to pursue writing. She just doesn’t have the courage and determination to try. As the old saying goes,
If you never try, then you’ll never fail.
Sure, being a content writer was never my dream, and it can be boring, but I’ve grown to enjoy it. Of course, if I could, I would be a full-time author. But real artists? We don’t starve. We find the closest thing to our passion and we make it work. We hustle, building our creative business, finishing school, or honing our craft. However we build our dreams, we don’t stop until we make it. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s no honor in living the life of a starving artist. Getting a side gig doesn’t mean you’re a sellout. It means you’re building your dream life, one block at a time.
What Makes Someone A “Real” Artist?
Did I say this all this to her, though? The most recent snob after a long line of art snobs that pushed me over the edge? No. As an INFP with social anxiety, confrontation is one of my worst nightmares (I’m working on it, though!). Instead, I started thinking about what makes someone a “real” artist and why I let ignorant criticism bother me in the first place. After consulting with the Reddit community, I came up with a guide on how to deal with art snobs to keep me focused and confident as I work on my nonfiction book. I hope it helps you, too, as you work on your own creative projects.No matter what kind of art you create, no matter what your day job is, you are a real artist. The only person you have to prove yourself to is YOU Click To Tweet
How To Deal With Art Snobs:
- Remember that how you make money is often different from what fulfills you and brings you passion. Most people know that. Usually, artists have side hustles that pay the bills. There’s no shame in that. Those who don’t understand that are ignorant, and you’re not required to educate them.
- Ask yourself if this art snob is successful themselves. Most of the time, they’re not. They’re probably attacking you because they are jealous you have the balls to put yourself out there and try. Right now, maybe you’re a content writer or a graphic designer doing free work to build your portfolio. One day, you’ll be a successful artist, and this person who is too scared to try will still be in the same spot they are now.
- Be proud of your accomplishments, accept compliments, and let it build you up so that when you do encounter creative snobs, it’ll be easier to ignore them. Find ways to celebrate yourself and build your confidence. Did you get a good critique? A good grade on a paper? Was a piece of yours published? Celebrate! Don’t downplay it (oh my god, I am so good at downplaying my accomplishments).
- Let their criticism fuel you. In 11th grade, I got C’s on almost every single essay I wrote in my AP class for an entire semester. When I approached the teacher and asked her for advice on how to improve my writing skills, she looked at me and shrugged, “Nothing. You’re just a bad writer.” I’m sensitive, so I went home and cried. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was 15, so it hurt. Over the years, I’ve realized that comments like hers fuel me to keep trying and prove people like her wrong.
- Remove this person from your life if possible. Lately, I’ve been doing an inventory of the people closest to me. As an empath, I am easily affected by the emotions of others. I soak up feelings like a sponge, even if they’re not mine. In the past, I’d been diagnosed with a mood disorder. Over the past year, I’ve been removing the toxic people from my life who abused my trust, treated me like crap, and took advantage of my kindness. With others, I’ve set boundaries and made it clear that I will not be talked down to or taken advantage of. As a result, this has been the most emotionally stable year of my life.
- Realize that “people are often jealous of those who have a job that pays the bills but they still find time/energy to devote to their passions. People are especially jealous of those who can use skills from their passions in their bill-paying jobs. They know they’ll most likely never have the drive, brains, and talents to make that happen. Instead of blowing up at them, smirk at them and don’t say a word.” –Diamond_Raven
- Realize that most of the time, art snobs are just insecure about their own art. If you want to be so bold, ask them about the success of their own creative projects. They probably won’t have anything good to report. These people want to bring you down to make themselves feel better. There will always be people like this. Once you realize the motives behind their actions, it’s easier to feel sorry for them and ignore their criticism.
As author Jeffery Reynolds advises, “Ask them what the last thing they finished was. Ask them what their plan for artistic success is. Ask them why they are too scared to even try. Ask them what keeps them from pursuing their dreams.”
About The Author:
August Blair is the blogger behind Writers With Mental Illness. She is a freelance writer and student. She is passionate about writing and psychology. She studies at The University of North Georgia. You can find her writing online and in print. Connect with her on Instagram and Goodreads.