Songs for the Struggling Artist


Amplify Wednesday

The thing is, y’all, I was 100% sure I would have achieved massive success at least 20 years ago. I do a lot of different things and depending on the thing, small groups of people think I’m pretty great at that thing. My issue is not that I make bad things but that almost no one sees them happen. My platform in this big number world is so tiny – if it were a raft, it could only save a handful of people.

This is true for a lot of women I know. The quality of their work is fantastic but their reach is negligible. I used to fall for the “women lack confidence” angle but I know now that that is bullshit. The whole “women would do better if they just promoted themselves better, presented themselves differently, made more commercial work” thing reminds me of a guy I heard talking about his experience of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He said, “It’s clear that the cream really rises to the top there.” Three guess as to whose show had been a hit at the festival that year. When you’re at the top everyone else is just regular milk and your rise was inevitable. Also – the other thing about cream is that it does rather tend to be rich and white. And male. (Wait – this metaphor falls apart there, I guess. I don’t think cream is gendered actually.) Anyway – my sense is that reach is a problem for a lot of women so I’ve decided to start a practice of amplification.

I already practice some amplification. After learning about the gender and racial imbalances on Twitter, I made it my practice to follow and amplify the voices of women (particularly women of color), trans people, non-binary people, people of color of all genders, people with disabilities and anyone else who ought to be heard more. My hope is that with my simple follows and likes and retweets, I can turn up the volume a little for people who ought to be heard.

It is not a thing that makes a big splashy difference. I see it as sort of incremental but hopefully cumulative. Now that we live in a world where people’s tweets are news, I think it’s important to add to the numbers of the people who are heard.

That’s all just my small daily amplification. But now I think I need to do a weekly amplification. I want to consciously lift up one woman a week. I want to expand someone’s fan base, if only a little. I want to lift up my friends, sure but also artists, writers and journalists that I wish had a larger reach.

I’d love for others to join me in raising the tide for the un-amplified voices. I’d love to see #AmplifyWednesday become as common as #ThrowbackThursday. If there’s one thing that writing/podcasting on the internet has shown me, it’s the effect of just one person advocating for something. I’ve seen big spikes in my views and/or listens just because one person decided to share it. And then when two people share it, my reach doubles. And so on and so on. Social media is weird. I acknowledge all the freaky things that go on here, all the ways we’re manipulated and sold to but we’re all still here – I think because we like one another, and we like being connected. We like supporting one another.

So I’m advocating formalizing that a little bit. If you feel like joining me, here’s what I propose: Every Wednesday post on the social media of your choice someone’s work you want to amplify and maybe say why. Pick on article, a painting, a song, link to it and give that person a boost. That’s it. #AmplifyWednesday

I’ll be amplifying mostly women, inclusive of trans and non-binary folk. I’d love for others to do the same. Even if you don’t want to post, click on links that you see posted, like those updates. We live in a click, like, share world and you can amplify by doing those things as well.

I think it’s time for Conscious Amplification.

No disrespect to Justin Timberlake but he doesn’t need your clicks and likes. His voice gets heard no matter what you do. But there are those for whom you can turn the volume up, whose lives you could change just by amplifying them.

One of the reasons I’m glad to see my Twitter following growing is not so much for my own work but because it amplifies the people I amplify more. The rising numbers of followers I have on Twitter has made no difference whatsoever on my views or downloads. None. But I expect it has made a difference in boosting the numbers of some people and/or causes I care about.

Turn up the volume on someone who is not getting heard. It’s not difficult and a great way to be an ally. You don’t need to insert yourself into the conversation, just turn up the volume on the people who are already having it.

This blog is also a podcast. You can find it on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

If you’d like to listen to me read a previous one on Anchor, click here.

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Every podcast features a song at the end. Some of those songs are now an album of Resistance Songs, an album of Love Songs, an album of Gen X Songs and More. You can find them on Spotify, my websiteReverbNation, Deezer and iTunes

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Want to really amplify my work?

Become my patron on Patreon.

Click HERE to Check out my Patreon Page

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Writing on the internet is a little bit like busking on the street. This is the part where I pass the hat. If you liked the blog (but aren’t into the commitment of Patreon) and would like to give a dollar (or more!) put it in the PayPal digital hat. https://www.paypal.me/strugglingartist

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