How to Ask for What You Need


An excerpt from our guide to asking, published by our friends at
The Creative Independent

By Karina Vahitova

Illustrations by Qiong Li
Illustrations by Qiong Li

Learning how to ask for emotional and financial support for your art is a crucial skill to build as you work to develop a sustainable creative practice. We at The Void Academy know that asking for what you need can be daunting, so we’ve put together this guide to help you overcome this common fear with confidence and grace.

If you’re afraid of asking for what you need, you are not alone. In some ways, this fear is what we’re all conditioned to feel in a capitalist society managed by a scarcity-model market. These two factors create competition. Feeling like you have to constantly fight for your space in the world can make you believe that since everyone else is fighting the same fight, people will be unwilling to help you. This fear can be further exacerbated by institutional marginalization of folks other than those privileged within the white-supremacist-racist-ableist-transphobic heteropatriarchy.

There are a few factors that are crucial to shifting this endless cycle of fear and alienation so you can get on with asking for what you need. The first is being able to recognize that this fear is not innate, but rather conditioned; that fear is a symptom and that we do indeed live in a world in which many humans want to help other humans.

Illustrations by Qiong Li
Illustrations by Qiong Li

The second factor to overcoming the fear of asking for support is by recognizing and naming your own needs. What resources or skills do you lack? Where are you struggling? Nobody exists in a vacuum and everyone needs support sometimes. By naming your needs, you can let go of unreasonable expectations you might be holding onto in relation to handling everything yourself.

A third factor to overcoming your fear of asking for support is learning to ask directly for what you need, rather than waiting around for someone to ask if you need anything. When you name your needs and proactively ask others to help you, you allow the ask to do work on your behalf. And, by asking for support, your vulnerability allows a person to make a choice to play a positive part in your creative journey. This kind of exchange opens doors and enables a kind of positive worldbuilding to take place.

In our guide published on The Creative Independent, we take you through the nuances of getting over your fear of asking by using mental exercises, examples, and by going over every single step of an effective ask. Head on over to TCI's website to read the full guide!

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