Self-promotion – turn-off or essential?

After struggling with the shameless ways some people promote their work online, I have come to accept that there is a legitimate place for promoting myself.

I speak as someone with a very British reluctance to do anything in public that I didn’t deem perfect, and over the years (my Carolan’s Dream video in 2006 being my first public experiment at putting it out there) I’ve gradually overcome my reticence to do this – which also means my having to at least listen to all the voices that come back – whether critical (easy to accept but hard to swallow) or praising (hard to accept or believe important). The meaning of what I do is very much tied up on the response it gets (not always, as I learned in playing music in hospitals) and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel pleased at reading positive things being said about me. Almost every single comment is positive, over the hundreds of thousands of views of the YouTube piece above, so either imperfection is OK or I’m too self-critical. Or both!

I need to finally accept that “putting it out there” is a valid way for me to get feedback from others and discover the impact / value of what I do. If I don’t do this, not only does nothing get out into the wider world, but I am left to judge myself by my own standards – which is unlikely to be useful to me.

So in the spirit of a bit of shameless plugging, here is a Facebook comment on my concert last night:

Me and mum have just been utterly blown away by the harpists tonight at St Mary in Charnwood. Thank you, Nanpantan Festival and thank you Mark Harmer and John Dalton for playing truly beautiful music. Words just aren’t enough.

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