28 January 2013

The Authentic Artist: Is Honesty Really the Best Policy?

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom. 
~ Thomas Jefferson

    I
f my personality type was a religion, authencity would be one of the founding tenets.  When someone is not being authentic and true to themselves, it sticks in my craw like yesterday’s spinach.  And when I’m not being authentic and true to myself, I feel like I’ve kicked a two-week old puppy.

But is honesty and authenticity really the best policy when it comes to art, and in particular to writing?

Case in point: I was laid up for the better part of a month because of medical issues.  Conventional blogging wisdom says that I should have had several posts/articles on back up to post when my brain wass not in the position to write and post something on my normal Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  On the one hand, I see the wisdom in that.  I follow blogs and authors.  When they don’t post in weeks, I wonder what’s going on.  I wonder whether they’re sick, going through family troubles, or just have a major case of writer's block.  And I know when I’m unable to post, I feel guilty, like I’m letting my readers down ~ like friends I'm suddenly not speaking to anymore.

On the other hand is authenticity.  And scheduling posts feels like I’m letting my readers down in a different way, as if it's deceitful to post something that I may have written months or years ago.  Yes, it’s still me, still my thoughts, still my opinions.  But it doesn’t seem gritty or real enough: "Hey!  I’m dying over here, but I’m going to pretend like everything is peachy keen and normal.  You won’t know a thing is wrong because posts keep getting published."

Then again, perhaps I'm overthinking this.  It won't be the first time I've been accused of that.  But I think it's a valid question: how real do you want your artist/writer to be?

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
I would love to hear from both artists and audience on this question.
Post a Comment