You Do Not Need To Consumed By art

We like the idea of an artist destroyed by their talent. It’s part of the cultural myth we build up around art and writing, designed to move the conversation away from it being work one expects to be compensated for, much like conversations about muses and inspiration and creativity as a powerful force.

It leads too all sorts of bad habits. The biggest of which is the decision that a artists needs to be a artists twenty-four-seven. To stop producing, for whatever reason, is a sign that you’re not truly talented and instead just engaging in hack work. This is why the YOU MUST WRITE EVERY DAY crowd are so loud and so prevalent among writing advice.

I’m thinking about this today, after reading Laura Vanderkam’s post about the writing life and playing the long game (two topics pretty near and dear to my heart):

As for making money while writing books, I have never believed that book writing needs to be all-consuming. It wasn’t for Toni Morrison, writing The Bluest Eye at night after her kids went to bed, and let’s face it, we’re not likely to produce anything like The Bluest Eye no matter how much time we spend writing. Books are projects like any other. You can carve out time to seek out high-paying but not-terribly-demanding work to pay the bills while you work on the book. Many writers do things like writing website copy for businesses, press releases, etc.. Incidentally, you can make time for the rest of your life too. I’m always amused by the lines in book acknowledgements in which authors (generally, male authors) thank their families for putting up with all their missed dinners. Not only am I not missing dinner, I’m generally cooking it. –

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Personally, I’m starting to embrace the idea of the weekend. I “take Sundays off” by aiming to produce 100 words, maximum, before I step away from the computer. It gives me time to do other things.

  4 comments for “You Do Not Need To Consumed By art

  1. 27/03/2015 at 12:54 PM

    Very true and thank you for highlighting the fact that you need not be consumed by your art but the important thing to write/draw/ create on a daily basis for a short period of time to form a creative habit that builds up your body of work over time. I have been guilty of thinking when it comes to my drawing or writing that whatever work I start must be completed ASAP or I get discouraged. The little by little daily approach is such a simple concept but something many are ignorant to. This helps you live your life and its not such a big black / white mentaility when it comes to creating work. Cheers again, Gavin

  2. melindajmoore
    31/03/2015 at 1:24 AM

    Good post about balance. Being a writer who's inspired by events in my life, I think I would dry up if all I did was write. Alternatively, I don't understand people who don't write until they're struck by lightning inspiration. I guess I can't leave myself up to fate.

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