My friend “Benji,” a coloring book artist, told me that, after discussing with her friend an idea that she was working on, that same friend went off and created and published the very same kind of work.
Benji said that she felt “like someone gut-kicked” her. Totally betrayed. “Now I’m thinking, how can I ever trust her again?”
WHAT to DO?
After we took a bit to process and defuse her feelings about this incident, Benji’s next question was: should you share your ideas with people when you get the idea, or while you’re in process? Or do you keep your ideas to yourself until they’re signed and sealed?
These are great questions, whether you’re an artist, coach, author or whatever – anything creative you do is up for grabs now, if you indulge in posting them on any social media.
It can be really hard to have an idea and not feel safe enough to talk about it with someone – you can end up feeling isolated and bitter.
WHO DO YOU CHOOSE?
I’m a real loner, and really OK with that. But I do recognize that I need to talk to someone sometimes about my work in progress – if only just for fresh views and encouragement.
So I pick one person ONLY, someone I know I can trust not to steal or blab my ideas all over creation. It helps that she isn’t an artist, too, although she does have experience painting, which makes it so she understands what I’m talking about.
Only when I feel secure about the piece I’ve created – once it’s out of the idea stage and is done going through its process, I’m ready to release it.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
You, however, might do things another way. You might share every step.
I can’t do that – it totally drains me. To have to stop my process and shoot images at every step is like damming a roaring river. My creative process is halted in its tracks, and I never get my flow back. If and when I think of it, I might shoot maybe 4 images from start to finish – too bad if people can’t see it. Somethings are meant, in my opinion, to stay unrevealed.
I try to remember to post before and after images now and then, because people do like to see what your process is, what tools you use, etc., but not every piece – I’m way too prolific. I did over 1000 drawings last year for my coloring books – can you imagine if I had done progress-shots for each one? I’d still be stuck making them!
CAN YOU TRUST YOUR FAMILY?
The other thing I’ve learned the very, very hard way is to never, ever share my ideas or the various stages of anything I work on with some of my family. Yep, they really should be the most supportive people I have around me, but nope, they very definitely are not.
There were a few times I did share with them about books I was writing, and I got kicked-in-the-teeth experiences that sent me reeling and that utterly destroyed any fun or creativity I was experiencing. I never went back to those projects – the juice was completely sucked from them.
So now I only release projects, artwork or books when I feel that exposing them will be without danger.
MARKETING & FURTHER PROTECTION
As far as people stealing our images – it’s paramount that our © name website is one very single photo we publish online.
I didn’t at first, thinking it reduced the quality of the images on my website, for instance. But after seeing how many of my images were shared, I thought, sheesh, I’m an idiot – each share is a free promotion, and I’m not taking advantage of that! And what if they’re shared and someone assumes they’re free for copying because I didn’t claim them? Now that’s just silly, and my own fault if someone steals them!