Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Ultimate Artistic Struggle

Here it is, in a nutshell: Do you wait for inspiration, or do you just get busy?

I came across my friend Victoria's blog again today on Facebook. We became friends because our husbands are lifelong friends, and a more fascinating woman you'd be hard-pressed to find. She is a person I greatly admire because she's fearless in her work, and encouraging of everyone she meets!

Here is a quote from a recent blog entry:

For those of you who are waiting for something MORE before you start the thing you want to work on (MORE research, MORE preparation, MORE thinking or reading about it…) just. get. started.

I can’t stress enough that TIME is of the essence. The time to begin is now. You can’t do the work if you don’t have SOMEthing to work ON — that means marks on the page, strokes on the canvas, words on the page, SOMEthing to edit and revise. One of my favorite authors, David Foster Wallace, once wrote a great essay about how, as a writer, all of his IDEAS for writing were these perfect pink smiling Gerber babies in his head. He could think about a piece of writing and it was ideal, shining, perfect in its abstraction… but when he wrote it down, yikes! It globbed out onto the page like roadkill, all disjointed and mangled, never eloquent or well stated. And then, his written monstrosity would haunt him, not at all the Gerber baby of an idea, but manifested as a horribly deformed creature who dribbles and leers from the shadows…

I adored that description the moment I read it! It summarized EVERYthing I always felt about my writing… but also held a valuable truth: you can’t do the WORK of something, until you have something tangible to work ON.

Write it down, sketch it out, get started… and then let the work begin!

Good stuff!

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