… from artist Molly Crabapple’s 15 Rules for Creative Success in the Internet Age:
5. I’ve never had a big break. I’ve just had tiny cracks in this wall of indifference until finally the wall wasn’t there any more
6. Don’t be a dick. Be nice to everyone who is also not a dick, help people who don’t have the advantages you do, and never succumb to crabs in the barrel infighting.
7. Remember that most people who try to be artists are kind of lazy. Just by busting your ass, you’re probably good enough to put yourself forward, so why not try?
8. Rejection is inevitable. Let it hit you hard for a moment, feel the hurt, and then move on.
9. Never trust some Silicon Valley douchebag who’s flush with investors’ money, but telling creators to post on their platform for free or for potential crumbs of cash. They’re just using you to build their own thing, and they’ll discard you when they sell the company a few years later.
10. Be a mercenary towards people with money. Be generous and giving to good people without it.
11. Working for free is only worth it if its with fellow artists or grassroots organizations you believe in, and only if they treat your respectfully and you get creative control.
12. Don’t ever submit to contests where you have to do new work. They’ll just waste your time, and again, only build the profile of the judges and the sponsoring company. Do not believe their lies about “exposure”. There is so much content online that just having your work posted in some massive image gallery is not exposure at all.
13. Don’t work for free for rich people. Seriously. Don’t don’t don’t. Even if you can afford to, you’re fucking over the labor market for other creators. Haggling hard for money is actually a beneficial act for other freelancers, because it is a fight against the race to the bottom that’s happening online.
14. If people love your work, treat them nice as long as they’re nice to you.
15. Be massively idealistic about your art, dream big, open your heart and let the blood pour forth. Be utterly cynical about the business around your art.
And more advice from photographer Clayton Cubitt:
Don’t lie about yourself. And never lie to yourself. Find the thing in you that is different, that’s as sharp as a diamond and jagged as a razor. Hone that, because that’s the thing with which you’ll cut the world. If you try to stay a safe and soft and average, then you’re going to get lost in the sea of all those other things that look just like you. Find the things about yourself that are weird and cultivate them because, eventually, those are the things the world is going to want to reward you for and that will bring you the most happiness. When you’re young, those are the things that cause you so much pain, but it’s that pain that makes you unique. Own your scars.