Sharing Your Work And That One Person

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

We want our creative works to reach people – to inspire, to guide, to entertain, to salve pains. We want to change the world in our own way. So do many other people.

Being a creative puts us in a curious position of feeling like we’re competing. If you had someone say they wished to feed the hungry, they wouldn’t worry about competition. If you knew someone who wished to clean up the environment, they’d welcome all comers. But creative works tend to make us competitive because people have limited attention.

There is rarely a shortage of the poor. There are no shortage of environmental challenges. But when we wish for attention, well, that’s a limited resource.

Which is why, if we want to make people laugh, educate, and overthrow tyrants, we have to rethink how we reach out.

We have to think “how can I help.” If our creative work has value – and let us assume it does – then the real question is how do you help people out.

How do you get the right people to read your book, appreciate your art, and change the world because of a single poem? There’s no right answer, because every work is different. But asking that question of “how do I help” is important.

(If creativity is your career, “how do I help and make a living” ramps up the challenge).

However, there is one thing to consider – have you reached one person and changed their lives?

Many an author or artist or musicians knows this experience. There’s that one person that follows your book, hung up your art, or told you your song got you through a tough time. That single moment is valuable, unshakeable, and powerfully personal.

Those are the moments to look into. How did you reach them? Why did you make a difference? What happened?

Then you can ask how to repeat this moment. How do you repeat that success in having your comic or game get into the right hands? That one person may be the key to transforming the world.

Sadly, you may not be able to find a lesson. Many of we creatives keep shambling forward and trying. But consider the following:

Even if you reach only that one person, there’s hope you can find out how to reach more.

Even if you reach only that one person, that’s one work. Your next work may reach a million.

Even if you reach only that one person, if you reach the right person, they change the world.

That one person is your sign to not give up. After all, that person didn’t give up on you . . .

Steven Savage