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.
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.