In the beginning when i started doing videos, my purpose was simple. I just wanted to share my knowledge of woodworking with others. It was fun! And then the dream begins with thinking, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I could make a living just doing this?” Would that be possible?
Slowly as my show developed I refined my style and found a formula that worked for me. This in turn caused more fans to subscribe. But as the numbers grew more request were made by viewers. They wanted better sound, better lighting, better camera quality. But the demands didn’t stop there. Fans want more videos on a regular basis, they wanted free plans, pictures, blogs, emails answered and social media friendships. Wanting to please them I did just that. I was giving all I had to grow and be recognized.
Trying to make the fans happy takes a lot of work. I was worried once I stop posting, the fans would go away. I worried they will find someone else to “like”. Then someone new gets in the game. They start doing what I’m doing and their numbers go up faster than mine. Now I have competition. So I have to post more! More pictures, more projects, more free plans, more more more!!!!! Youtube and facebook aren’t enough. I need to get published! That will show everyone I am good. And so I did just that.
When i wrote my first article and was published. It was a most memorable day for me. To me, it was significant because I was recognized by the “authorities” in the trade. They saw that I had the knowledge and was worthy of accepting my abilities and skill. On that day I wasn’t happy because I had their approval. I was happy because it gave me the inner confidence to not second guess myself. Even though I was self taught, I had done my homework and practiced long enough that now i was “on par” with the big boys. That day of first being published has remained a mile marker in my life.
But since then I’ve had dozens of articles published and none of them have ever gave me the same satisfaction that the first one did. In fact, it did the opposite. It stressed me out. I felt I had to promote it on my facebook page. Or reference it in my of my videos. I felt I had to tell everybody, “LOOK at ME!!!!” And as soon as the magazine was off the newsstands, I felt like I was a nobody again.
I realized my purpose of just wanting to share has turned into a needy request to be recognized and appreciated by people i never even met. I wanted to post my pictures and get “likes” on facebook. I wanted “thumbs ups” on my youtube videos. I wanted to hear compliments and be self affirmed that i did a good job. I wanted my subscriber numbers to go up and be an internet star. I wanted to have articles in magazines, books and headline woodworking shows. I wanted all of those things. And all of those things I did achieve. So why am I not happy?
Then it hit me……..
I was putting fame and fortune ahead of the actual craft that i so dearly loved. The pressure of “putting” work out there became more important than the “creating” of the work. A simple pocket screw joint could be done versus a traditional style joint, because it would be faster. Faster meant i could get the project done and get those compliments from the fans and friends online.
But the comments and likes are short lived. Like a drug, I only longed for the next compliments of people. It becomes an endless cycle, going around and around. It’s an extreme high, and a depressing low.
I have decided that the “work” comes first. I will still post and do videos, but when I have the time and pleasure to do so. The main focus is building a quality piece of furniture. A piece that will last a 100 years is more important that the “thumbs up” I’ll get online. The true satisfaction will not come from online viewers. It will come from the person who owns my furniture. The care and commitment to a good job will be in each piece I craft. Long after I am gone and dead, facebook will be replaced, the “likes” and “thumbs” will be erased, videos deleted, magazine shredded, and books collecting dust, my furniture will continue to live on. The homeowners will pass on my furniture to the next generation and marvel that the piece has stood the test of time. That is the driving force that motivates me and my craft.
It’s not my personal fame that should have longevity but the longevity of the furniture I create.
“Do what you love, love what you do.”