Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On being an Artist

I spoke to a friend of mine last night. We talked about her niece who has many teachers telling her she should be a writer. "She's really good."
But my practical friend keeps telling her there is no money in it. My question is can you, should you be something other than what you are? Hmmm.
This week I found myself revisiting "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. Part of the title reads- "A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self."
When I thumbed through I discovered some of the things I'd highlighted when reading the book still held true for me today. So, I'm going to post a few here. On the off chance they touch a cord with you as well.

"Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving reception to all the creativity around us."
"Remember art is a process and that process is supposed to be fun..."
"(Sometimes our writing circles)...can produce the "How am I doing?" syndrome. This question is not "Is the work going well?" This question is "How does it look to them?" The point of the work is the work... instead of writing being about writing, it becomes about being recognized..." This is the worst mistake a writer can make in my opinion.

"As artists we can't afford to think about who is getting ahead of us and how they don't deserve it. The desire to be better than can choke off the simple desire to be."
"As artists, we are asked to repeat ourselves and expand on the market we have built. Sometimes this is possible for us. Other times its not."
"I need to create what wants to be created...I write whether I think it's any good or not."

Finally-please know this quote is the honest truth:
"Good work will sometimes not sell...The market may be rotten even when the work is great. (You) cannot control these factors."

What you can control is how you feel about these things. So, yes, we may all have or be looking for a job that will support us, but we can't deny the talent of creativity inside us.

Food for thought. Cheers~

16 comments:

Mari Powell said...

I needed to hear this today. Thanks, sweetie. - Liz

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I liked the “Artists Way” and your post made me want to go dig out my copy. I learned long ago that few people get rich from writing. I agree that if someone is doing it for recognition and not for the enjoyment, it’s bound to bring about disappointment.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Liz, *hugs* thanks for stopping by! I hope you are enjoying your vacation.
Hi Jane, I love that book. I seem to remember it only about once a year. LOL.

Charlie said...

I absolutely agree. My entire life, I have always created characters, situations and complete stories in my head. I thought I was nuts. (Possibly, I am.) It was only a few years ago that I decided to write them down. To think I would ever be published is delusional. I'm a hack, but I love the process. I love the support from other writers. I love to write.

Some years ago, I met a musician who used to play for Billy Joel. (He quit the band before it took off - big mistake.) He had advice for all of us trying for a record deal. "It is the journey you must love. The struggle is your entire career." He was right.

I do not yet own The Artist's Way, but I soon will. Whether it's music or writing, you must love what you do and do it for that reason.
Thanks Nancy.

Linda Kage said...

I so love this post. I'm going to have to tape a couple of your lines above my computer. Thank you so much, Nancy.

I had been getting sucked into that oh-no-nothing's-selling-mentality lately, and it was really messing with my love for the story. Then I actually finished a WIP and, wow, I'm all happy again. Every time I go back to revise and edit it, I keep finding little parts I like.

By the way, I have an award for you over at my place. Thanks again for your inspiring blog.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Charlie,

You are so right. I think every single artist out there either believes they are a hack or God's gift to art. LOL I'm one who hovers around the hack feeling. I know many bestselling authors who feel they are pulling one over on the public. cheers~

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Linda,

Thanks. No matter how long I do this, I have to remind myself every few months that it's about the writing-not the market or what others are accomplishing. I'm a slow learner. :D Cheers-
(Thanks for the award. I'm popping over.)

Mohamed Mughal said...

I loved the excerpts that you shared! Also, what you choose to do with your life isn't an either/or decision. You can do many things simultaneously. There's no reason a physician, lawyer, engineer or policeperson can't ALSO be a writer.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Mohamad,
Good point!
It's true- many lawyers and engineers are writers. Chemists and doctors, and day care providers are, too.

Jessica Nelson said...

Great thoughts! I really love the first, about writing to be recognized being a negative.
Good stuff. :-)

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Jessica,

Nice to see you here. Yes, I think writing to be recognized leads to madness- there will always be someone more recognized than you. There will always be others who don't think you are any big deal. I've seen people get bitter and petty. I don't think anyone should live life that way.
Take care~

notesfromnadir said...

Thank you for this post. I've learned not to compare myself to other writers. I just go w/ the flow. It's been an interesting journey so far!

But it's so nice to read about writing from those who are a little further along on the writing journey.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I say this a lot but it's a whisper in a wind storm- every one has their own creative journey- and no two are alike. Thus no one journey is wrong.

That is the secret to everything. :D
Cheers~

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I say this a lot but it's a whisper in a wind storm- every one has their own creative journey- and no two are alike. Thus no one journey is wrong.

That is the secret to everything. :D
Cheers~

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I say this a lot but it's a whisper in a wind storm- every one has their own creative journey- and no two are alike. Thus no one journey is wrong.

That is the secret to everything. :D
Cheers~

Marilyn Brant said...

Nancy, I've always loved The Artist's Way but haven't reread it in a long time... I should. Your post is inspiring me ;). Thanks for always writing such thought-provoking blogs. Wishing you a great week!