We all go through life towards a particular purpose. We may not know what that purpose is or if we are going in the right direction, but something inside pushes us along. There are people around us who will be supportive and not question our path, if they do it will be with genuine concern. There are also those who will question our every move, question our intentions, and for one reason or another do about everything that they can to let us know. All of us deal with these different interactions in everyday life but it becomes much clearer when we start a creative endeavor and look to those around us for support.
I have spoken to many creators, whether this be YouTube creators, podcasters, bloggers, artists, photographers, etc. They are all out there producing content and hoping it will connect with at least one person. None create to be wealthy; none create for vanity or fame. They create for the joy of creating and the hope that someone else can benefit from that joy as well. It is putting something out there in the world instead of constantly taking. From these conversations and my own observations, I have compiled a list of types of support we may receive.
- Unconditional Support Those who will support us unconditionally with very few, if any, questions and are there to help in any way that they can. They will consume every bit of content we produce even if the topic does not interest them. They will understand that it is a way to connect with us and that it isn’t always about gravitating only toward that which is easy for them to comprehend or fun for them to digest. They will just be supportive. These individuals are usually people closest to us, who know us very well and feel a special bond. In some situations, they are people that we would expect, and in others they may be distant strangers, who are supportive by nature and have found our work by chance.
- Well-Meaning Support Those who will support us but there is always a bit of advice that they wish to offer. They will consume our content but feel that it is in some way their responsibility to help us make it better. They are amazing people because they are not only consumers, they are creators in a way, because they are offering constructive criticism. They care enough to try to help us continue our journey and possibly be the best that we can be. This behavior can be destructive also. It can cause us to question our way of doing things and by trying to change one’s creative process altar the creation from being truly from the creator. It may be a better product in the end but there can be a disconnect from the one who sought out to create in the first place. It is not our creation, but a hybrid creation of ours and those who chose to impart their advice.
- Conditional Support Those that only care if what we are producing is interesting to them. They will consume the content that they deem was meant for them. They will offer incredible amounts of support but sift through our content to find something that they can use to share an experience that they may have had. They will not create anything but will simply use our creations to help explain something. They will gravitate toward only some of our content and that is the driver, not supporting us, the creator. They are only after the content. Nothing at all wrong with this group as they can and will spread this content far and wide because they feel a connection to it. This group only becomes dangerous to a creator when they start putting down any other creations that do not interest them. If they feel that we should only create that content and any deviation from that causes them to lash out or become disinterested entirely.
- Band Wagon Support Those who occasionally support on the off chance that we may become successful and they can somehow exploit that success. They will consume our content when it is convenient for them and occasionally show us that they are out there. Maybe “Liking” a video, commenting, or sharing our blog post. They believe in our efforts just enough to know that they should stay visible “just in case”. We can only count on these individuals once we have hit the big time, once there is something to be gained by their support. They rarely take a chance on anything new and will turn on us in a heartbeat if something else takes off faster or benefits them more.
- Friend from High School Support Those, who it seems, almost go out of their way to not support us. It’s almost as if they believe that by supporting us, they are giving us something that they don’t believe is fair for us to have. They may feel that we are producing good content, but they refuse to click on it because we may profit. As if that is the end goal. We are trying to dupe them into providing us with yachts and private jets. They do not understand why one would just create and feel that it could only be for disingenuous reasons. For that reason, they are out. Not wanting to get into the psychology of it all, but in my mind these people wish that they could create but can’t. Since we have found a way to do it, they cannot support us because that would only further our advantage. (The interesting thing is that most creators that I know would do about anything to help a fellow creator.)
- The Haters There are those who just don’t like us. They will not support anything that we do based upon principle. They will find another source for whatever it is that we produce. For one reason or another there is an extreme disconnect with these individuals. Sometimes it is not only lack of support that they provide but also negative support. They will often leave bad reviews, talk bad about our content, purposely go out of their way to support what they believe to be our competition. These people are inevitable and are toxic if we let them bother us. This group also includes trolls who don’t seem to like anything. They are angered by the fact that anyone produced anything and will do everything they can to bring us down. While they are scum, they don’t have as much of an influence on us as some of the other groups. These people obviously have their own hang-ups that have very little to do with us.
The interesting thing about all these types of support is that as well as receiving each one of these from people in our lives, we also provide this type of support to everyone around us, including other creators. We can probably find ourselves in many of these categories depending on who, or what we are talking about. We may offer someone “unconditional support” while offering another “well-meaning support”. What we need to strive to accomplish is to never be the last two. There is no good reason for targeting any creator for the sake of bringing them down. Maybe there is a history. Maybe there is jealousy. Maybe we just don’t like the content they are creating. That’s fine, but these are demons that we need to exorcise. We need to find a way to let them create and realize that they are providing joy to others and at the very least are proud of what they have created. Fascinates me that people who worry about dealing with critics such as this, people who don’t understand how someone can be so hateful, can turn around and do it to another. We are better than that. We need to stand behind each other and understand that if we can’t provide positive support, we need to remove ourselves from the situation. And to the haters, I have nothing to say because you would never have clicked on the link and if you did, then you wouldn’t have read this far. Pretty sure you would just hate on the post without even reading. I have no use for you and either does any other creator. If you have read this far, then reevaluate yourself because you, my friend, are not a hater. You are trying much harder than you give yourself credit.