It is hard to ask for help.
It is hard to hold one’s head up high, and say, without shame, “I am making this thing that is worthy and valuable. Please be a part of it.”
It is hard to get over oneself and one’s pride, one’s puritanically built-in sense that money equals merit (and conversely, that the need for it equals failure), and just ASK.
I’ve spent the better part of two weeks making myself do just that – the exact thing that makes me feel so shameful and uncomfortable – and I’m amazed at what’s happening.
People are responding in ways I never imagined, with great enthusiasm and eagerness – including those I know for a fact don’t have a lot of extra money lying around.
I’m starting to reconnect with old friends, and to connect further with new ones…and I’m finding that in what seems like a ridiculously crowded arena (Kickstarter and crowd-funding in general – everyone appears to be doing it), people still do actually CARE.
And they need good music in their lives. They want it to exist, because it is the best/truest way for people to connect with each other and their shared experiences…
And in our society, right now, this is the way it happens: musicians and artists and creative types put together pitch videos and Kickstarter campaigns and round up everyone in their lives (with the hopes that their compelling artistic ideas will appeal to strangers as well).
I could bemoan this fact – but I actually find it, as onerous as it is, to be a fantastic experience. (Of course, our campaign hasn’t even officially launched yet – talk to me in a month! HA!)
I’m not allowing myself to be shy, or to avoid what’s difficult. (two of my favorite pastimes)
And forcibly strengthening that muscle of stepping forward (I guess you could also call it leaning in, right?) is completely tied in to making ACTUAL ART. It happens to be thematically related to the project I’m working on (“Just Getting Good,” which is all about facing fears and finding courage in imperfection and boldness), and so instead of the feeling many artists complain about that their lives are bifurcated – too much time spent on emailing and promotion, not enough on being creative – it actually seems to me, at the moment, to be all in alignment.
As always, the whole thing could crash and burn at any moment; humiliation and failure could be imminent; but I persist. And the openhearted largesse I’m encountering? It’s spectacular.
As Amanda Palmer put it so well, in an economy of generosity (which Kickstarter is), you don’t MAKE people pay – you LET them. And people WANT and ALLOW themselves to help each other, and to band together to make something worthwhile.
So next week I am beginning what will be a month-long process of asking for help.
And regardless of how it goes, I’m phenomenally proud and happy to be doing it.