Mike and I had an incredibly fun experience on Monday, visiting Mike’s alma mater, Western Michigan University, to give a presentation to a class about entrepreneurship in the arts. The class of about 200 students were so delightful and engaged, and asked a number of really great questions.
One of the coolest things about it, was that they all asked their questions on Twitter, with the hashtag #DEARTSWMU, and they were placed up on a screen for us to answer. I felt like Anderson Cooper, which is to say I felt like the coolest person ever. Of course we only made it through a few, so all the way home, and for the remainder of the evening, we were tweeting back answers about our creative careers, how we make them work, Mike’s music and my book.
It was such a refreshing thing for us, to be out in the world, talking to people about what we do. Normally, we’re cloistered in our house, writing, emailing, posting, sharing, etc., just hoping people are seeing and enjoying what we do. On a day-to-day basis, this can get tedious and the excitement of crafting stories and songs can wear thin. It was so fun to talk to people who were fascinated by what we do and inspired to build their own careers around their passions. And thanks to the technology we rely on so much for our daily work, we were able to keep the conversation going after we left. It made us feel more inspired to keep doing what we do, and to remember to be thankful that we’re able to do it.
It’s easy to get bogged down with the day-to-day of typing and tasking and viewing the worlds through a digital lens. Getting out and connecting with people can help unstick our boots from from the bog, and remind us why we keep hiking on. Because we do as artists – whether we’re writers or songwriters or designers – is all about our audience in the end. It’s helpful, as well as refreshing, to connect with them as we trudge along.