If you see something, say something.
Putting your art out into the world is scary to begin with. In this social media age in which everybody's a critic, it's even scarier. So now, more than ever, it is vital that we let people know when the work that they are doing matters. We must encourage and shine a spotlight on the artists who are making a positive impact on their world.
I have a rule for myself: When I see work that moves me, I thank the person who made it.
It seems so simple, but when I encourage the artists with whom I work to reach out to the people responsible for creating the art that matters to them, they are initially paralyzed with fear. Why? What is so scary about telling someone, "Hey, that's great work. Keep going."? Has our need to network, to market, to sell ourselves, become so all-encompassing that we have lost our ability to simply pay someone a compliment and ask them for nothing in return?
You can do this.
The next time you see a performance that moves you, reach out and let that person know. The next time you witness direction that makes you see the world in a new way, reach out and let that person know. The next time you hear a song that strikes a chord in your heart, reach out and let that person know. The next time you see a design that takes your breath away, reach out and let that person know.
It seems like such a small thing, but for the person on the receiving end, it could be a big deal.
A friend of mine has been in the process of writing a new piece for the last few years. Writing is a lonely process, and one that comes without much external affirmation. He was feeling so uninspired and frustrated by the endless editing and rewriting. On a particularly tough day, a note arrived in the mail which simply said "You might be feeling stressed out right now, so I thought this would be a good chance to reach out and tell you to keep going. Your work matters." That was a game changer. It gave him the jolt of inspiration he needed in order to put his head down and get back to work.
Letting someone know that their work matters is a gift. We all need affirmation. Give someone the gift of what you know you need for yourself. When you see something, say something.