Published: Sep 2, 2016 12:00:00 PM

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True self-believe, without exaggeration or deprecation, buoyed by total sincerity, is a gigantic challenge. General audiences observe self-promotion as perhaps the greatest vanity.

Just ask Kanye.

But self-belief is often all one has. It doesn't matter if you're working for yourself, or working at a big company, hitting the road and hawking your ideas to anyone who might listen is traditionally an intrusive act.

Artistry becomes selling, becomes marketing, becomes leadership, and taste-making.

And self-promotion is still a staggering undetaking of total exposure and vulnerability.

Self-promotion is difficult because you might not believe in it (yet).

Releasing your work to the public is sending your braincells to the firing squad. To call it decimation, literally killing one of every ten, would be generous. These are things you've imagined, ideas conceived, perhaps even crafted with care, sent out from your skull to be misunderstood, dismissed, or starved.

This is often why people will weaken their own work ahead of time, to lessen the potential pain of a defeat they notice far on the horizon. They self-destruct before they even self-promote.

You'll say:

  • "Oh, this is just a draft."
  • "Once the outline is done, it'll be better constructed."
  • "I've added a few jokes in here to test people's responses."

Soon, you've lost the sincerity. Sincerity is vital. Sincerity is the truest, most vulnerable working state. At a glance, sincerity is a "glass cannon," meaning it is powerful, but fragile. This is only true when you haven't created a strong enough report, or product, or piece of art. Sincerity is not just true believe, it's a recognize of your work's place in the real world. This permits it to transform from a fantasy you've created for yourself alone and become the end product for your shared world, whatever its size.

On the other hand, insincerity is flippancy. Insincerity is shrugging yourself off and producing a sarcastic creation. This reduces your work's value. This wastes your time. It announces your time isn't valuable. If your time isn't valuable, then your work is immediately weakened. It's easy to cut and run from sarcasm. Then you're not just sending your thoughts and ideas to the firing squad, you're desserting them.

Self-promotion requires as much sincerity as you can muster. It requires self-belief, landscape recognition, and even amidst all that, it requires something you're proud to present.

-- Alex Crumb
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