I’ve just had 5 days away from writing. I was busy, we had a Christmas party and friends down and end of month and well, I pretty much gave up on Nanowrimo early in the week. I didn’t set out to ‘win’ this year so I guess you could say I did…win… or not!? I missed writing! I craved it.
When I was painting I was up and down like a yoyo. Some days I felt really good about my work and others not so much.The fact that I was often making that work that I didn’t even like played a part in that.
The art and craft of writing or making any kind of art (or craft) are bsically the same thing. You must learn to write, just as much as you must learn to paint, or cook, or knit, or whatever. People are born with inclinations, sure, but few people are born with the ability to sit down at the easel or computer and smash out a masterpiece. I mean a real master work… I true master work comes after honing our skills and while such discipline can be frustrating or boring at times it’s the only way to get the ‘runs on the board’; Gladwell’s 10,000 hours, King’s first million words.
But it shouldn’t hurt. Physically or emotionally. Artists do not need to suffer for their art. As much as some like to say it’s like childbirth, it’s not. We need to look at out creative pursuits as more like sex than childbirth! It should be fun and feel good! If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong!
If your art making is causing physical paint, you could buy a book called The Healthy Writer by Joanna Penn and Euan Lawson. If your creative work is causing you emotional or mental stress then reach out for help from a professional or take the time to ask yourself WHY you are creating and how you can do it differently. And keep asking yourself why. Some say ask yourself why 5 times. Creating shouldn’t be painful. I’m not saying it should be easy, but it shouldn’t make us cry, or seriously challenge our sanity, or make us unbearable to those around us.
The species of artist-as-monster died out last century! Our creative work should make us better people, better friends, better partners and leave the world a better place.