Walking the “Sellout Line”

You hit “post” on a blog post that you think is terrible and trite and go to sleep. The next day, it has thousands of visitors and is being passed around.

“The people” are now clamoring for more work from you like this. 

Is this a problem? Is something wrong with you? Is something wrong with “them”? You hated the thing and almost didn’t publish it, but it turns out to resonate.

Who knows? I certainly don’t. But I do know that this is the basis of “being a sellout.”

The basis is this, you are not the consumer of your work. Therefore, if you do not resonate with your work, but the consumer does, then you have a choice. Choose the consumer? Sellout. Choose yourself? Pure creative.

There are pros and cons to each. And it’s not black and white. There are grey areas for sure.

In creative work, you will always face the tug of these two forces. Your creative vision and the vision of the consumer. The farther you go towards the consumer, the more you will feel like a sellout. But are you really? Or is this just a case of limited perspective?

I honestly don’t know. My intention is to relieve some pressure from anyone who feels like a sellout or who struggles with this fine line the way I have. It’s a very fine line, as I alluded to in the title.

If your creativity is to be consumed by others, then you will ultimately have to consider the needs of your audience over your own.

If you don’t, no big deal, you just won’t have an audience. So you’ll be talking to yourself. Maybe that works for you, I don’t know.


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