TMM: Freedom

Right now, I’m working on setting my mind free. I’m just typing, one word after another. And writing is, in fact, as simple as that. As is painting, sculpting; a simple repetitive action. Or something like that. As long as you don’t worry about what you want to say, about what others might think about your art; as long as you just do your thing, there’s nothing to worry about.

Creating art is not about trying to outsmart yourself. It’s about being confident enough that what you’re doing is right, that what you’re doing is the one thing you love doing most in the world.

That’s all.

Everything else is there just to make us feel that art is somehow related to quantum mechanics.

Well, it’s not.

On my blog I often referenced Finding Forrester as being one of the few movies about writers which offer some pretty good writing advice. The movie is kind of cheesy, painting the usual portrait of the writer as a hopeless romantic (to be read alcoholic), but there’s this brilliant piece of advice, offered by Sean Connery’s manly vocal chords: “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is… to write, not to think.”

That’s a valuable piece of advice. If you want to make something brilliant, if you want to create something wonderful, odds are that you’ll fail. Not because you’re not good enough, but because you put too much pressure on yourself. Unnecessary pressure.

I used to be like that. Writing for others, constantly comparing myself to the writers I had read and admired. Ultimately, I always felt like I was failing… I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that words came more effortlessly each day, that I was able to write more and better and faster, all I could think of was the fact that there were other writers out there who were far better than I was.

And I wanted to write something great. Something really, really great. I spent a lot of time wanting to be great. I desired it too much.

It might sound odd, but we never create real art when we feel that we’re just pouring our heart on that piece of paper, or that canvas. It’s not when we feel words bleeding out of our soul that you create real art. There has to be a balance. You need to be there, in the story, but you also have to see it for what it is. Or what it could become.

We always want our art to mean something to someone else other than ourselves, but we also have to be able to take a step back and see where the road is taking us. Imagine walking down a street with your head down. Always down. You’ll never get the chance to see anything other than pebbles, cracks in the pavement, and the occasional penny or two.

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14 thoughts on “TMM: Freedom

  1. The distance between what I feel when I read something back ‘I like that’s versus what other people feel when they read it. Each person pulls something new from the reading,something I may not have known was even there.

  2. You make great points in this article, Cristian. “No thinking” is absolutely essential when it comes to writing good fiction. You write your first draft with the emotions, with instinct, with passion! On the second draft — analyze, dissect, and cut. The third draft is all about the details. As you’re well aware of, Bradbury had the words “Don’t Think” taped onto his typewriter for years. And as far as effective writing goes, emotion and passion is the guide, but the development of technical skill is fundamental, and a key ingredient to success. It’s not like painting . . . For instance, I would argue Jean-Michael Basquiat had tremendous emotion/passion and a unique style, yet lacked technical skills as a painter — which is fine, he didn’t need them! Of course, I’m not an expert on painting or the arts, so I could be mistaken about that particular.

    1. Thank you, Tylor. And you are right about the stages of writing.

      As for Basquiat, I think he was trying to make a point. So did Pollock. Or Picasso.

      Picasso could paint like Rafael when he was a kid. It was “natural” to him to change his style into something different, even if that gives the impression of lacking technical ability.

      1. You’re most welcome. You may be correct about Basquiat’s abilities being greater than I tend to think. It’s unfortunate he died so young. Perhaps his work would have expanded, showcasing more of his abilities. Even if that hadn’t been the case, he’s still great! As for Picasso, I couldn’t agree more. He was a talented painter with awesome skill and could paint realistically or abstract, or however he damn well pleased. Perhaps it was so with Basquiat, too.

      2. There’s this fantastic short story by Kurt Vonnegut, “The Humbugs” which kind of shows that an artist that can paint realistically may not be able to paint something abstract or simple like that, and the other way around. It’s quite interesting if you haven’t read it.

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