Looking for Inspiration

I’ve neglected this site for years. There wasn’t enough income from my coloring books or my book design work that I had to find full time work as a graphic designer at an actual organization. No more working for myself whenever I want; not only do I have a “day job” now, I’m also married — with a new name (I gave up Martinez for McMillan) and a full non-hedonistic life.

These days, I find myself reflecting on my art and design work, wondering if it’s worth reviving and looking for inspiration. My Instagram account went from being about art, to being about hiking, back to being about art, and now about personal family stuff. I need to feel a strong sense of purpose with what I’m putting out there, and I need to feel that what I’m creating is connecting with people — an audience. I do not have “an audience,” per se, and so I lack the motivation to create. My only real audience now is family and close friends.

Yes, I can create for myself — or I should create for myself. It’s what the social media hustle bros would tell you, all gung-ho about their entrepreneurial lives and eager to tell you how they grew their audience and their revenue from zero to five hundred thousand; all you have to do is follow and subscribe and share — engage in all the ways that matter as they distribute their advice in a number of ways so that you feel like you’re getting more than you’re actually getting. In a nutshell, they give you the same ten pieces of advice, but it’s repurposed and reformatted for all the different networks and occasions.

Narrow down your niche, they’d say, as if to say, “Pretend you’re one-dimensional and be extremely specific about to whom you’re talking.” And repost your most popular posts.

Then AI came along, and all the hustle bros also became AI bros, and now they’re producing content by the ton without all the blood, sweat, and tears creators used to squeeze out just to make anything worth consuming, meaning there is so much more noise out there now than ever. The attention economy has gotten so frightening, I wonder if I should even bother participating. I’ve never been one to seek the limelight, but if attention is currency in this day and age, how do you make a living without seeking attention?

Does anyone know?