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Hello! My name is Lilith and I have no idea what I’m doing here!
3 not-so-secret secrets about what it takes to "make it" and what the hell does that mean anyway?
While everyone laments over Big 5 Publishers selling like…six books a year, few are talking about the rise of “influencer writers” a term Lilith Noah would no doubt hate. But with a following of over 100,000, what else would you call it? We focus these guest posts on the ‘business side’ of the writing community and what is more ‘business’ in an attention economy than having a holy-fuck amount of attention. So, we reached out to her to write about what she thinks about all of this, and here is what she had to say.
There is one question that I have been asked so often that I have lost count: How have you made it this far?
And every time I read something like this you can imagine me with a face of confused surprise as I inevitably ask myself: I have made it? I have made it FAR? Because I share what I like to call the “curse of the tortured artist”, meaning that I never, and I mean NEVER think that I have made it anywhere.
See, I feel more like a model railway: Tiny and stupidly running in circles. Even if it somehow seems like it, I have never seen myself in the position of an expert that could give advice on writing or creativity. Even if I want to make a living from my art, which I somehow sadly have to in this capitalist hellscape, I am nowhere close.
So why would people ask me for advice?
That’s how the idea for my Spotify podcast „Lilith Listens“ was born. In it, I talk to creatives from different backgrounds about their creativity. I wanted to learn all the dirty little secrets of all the creatives who have “made it” (whatever the hell that means). I wanted them to give me a step-by-step guide, a “how to make a living from your art without selling your soul – for dummies”. 10 episodes are out so far: I have talked to painters, musicians, motion designers, writers, illustrators and curators. We had conversations about rejection, inspiration, about fear of failure and about success and from it I have learned 3 not-so-secret secrets.
To have your art seen means that you have to actually put your art out there! (Big shocker)
Okay, I admit: This is pretty much a no-brainer. Still: I have gotten so many messages from people asking me: How do I start? How do I put my art out there? And the honest answer is: I have no clue! But if you feel that desire to create and if you want to share that with the world, then that’s a good place to start. Share your work under a pen name, like me, or simply be yourself. Post to Instagram, TikTok, send it to magazines with the help of Chill Subs, stick stickers to your neighbourhood lamp poles. Make yourself visible. You won’t regret it (At least I don’t)!
Comparing yourself to others is a terrible idea! (Big shocker #2)
To be quite honest: I have been intimidated by every guest I have talked to. They all seemed to have some superior knowledge, more skills, seemed to be wiser, more accomplished. And I was nervous as hell before every recording! I was comparing myself, my work, my achievements to everyone I talked to and managed to fall short every time, no matter who I compared myself to. A has more followers, B has been in more magazines, C has more professional assignments and D is just WAY hotter than I am. But by talking to them I realized one big thing and it has helped me immensely:
Nobody (and i MEAN NOBODY) has any idea what they are doing! (Ok, that actually WAS a big shocker.)
I went into these interviews thinking that I was the clueless student, ready to be enlightened by artists who have mastered their craft. Don’t get me wrong: They are all amazing at what they do, they all have a unique knowledge and interesting stories and viewpoints. But it turns out: Everyone’s just kinda winging it! There’s no big big secret for success, no matter what some business expert podcasters or self-help gurus might tell you. It’s a mixture of talent, determination and yes: luck (Or alternatively: filthy rich parents.)
The only thing we all have in common is our shared love and appreciation for art, our desire to create and our need to share it with the world. And that’s what we will continue to do, in big or small ways. It can be a marathon or a sprint, it can be your life-long passion or just a side project. The only rule to creativity is that there are no rules! Just buckle up and enjoy the wild, colourful ride.