“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge
I know it’s not artistic, but you’ve got to work hard.
“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.” – Ray Bradbury
A relentless desire to succeed is more important than talent. Being brave and perseverant to the point of madness, to the point that your work consumes a very large part of your life, to the point that you do it and do it and do it until the job gets done. You don’t even have time to think about whether or not your good… you just do.
Those who sit at their desks to work beat those who sit around, waiting for inspiration to come to them. Stop wishing for the fairy tale, and accept life as it is.
You’ve got to do the work. Your hustle must match your ambitions and dreams.
That is all.
Time. The world’s most valuable commodity. Not only that, but you can trade it for anything else.
The muse also needs it. The more time you spend doing the work, the better you become. It is a rule of nature.
But sometimes people get caught in this romantic way of thinking. Art is about inspiration, about some sort of poetry, not just work ethic. They discard the craft part of art…
But truth is, the muse demands you sit at your desk and do the work. That you set aside a certain number of hours each day and get stuff done.
It’s the one rule you cannot bend or break.
Don’t water this down.
Don’t be seduced into thinking that art is inherently different than any other kind of work.
SELF-TAUGHT : having knowledge or skills acquired by one’s own efforts without formal instruction
Mark Twain famously remarked that he never let schooling interfere with his education. But what did he mean by that?
In my humble opinion, especially when it comes to artists, it’s more important to be a student rather than a follower. To learn to think for yourself, to separate what is useful from what is not. This, in itself, is an art. Continue reading TMM: Self-taught
At one point or another every creative person must feel that everything has been done before. Everything worth writing, worth painting, worth saying. That we can’t possibly capture the essence of life without being copies of someone else.
This is an universal urge, in a way. We feel that we need to step outside certain boundaries, that we have to forget about the rules in order to innovate. We want to be original, to create something new. We want to create a big enough change in the world that’s going to last forever.
Continue reading TMM: The Quest for Innovation
I began writing in my most vulnerable years. I was dumb and arrogant, as most teenagers seem to be, and I did my best to pour greatness into every sentence I wrote. But I was also lying to myself, writing about what I didn’t know, pretending to know, and I got caught and people could see that I wasn’t willing to let them in – I was building this wall to protect my true self from anyone who would be searching for it behind my words. There was nothing that belonged to me in the stories I wrote.
There’s this poem by a Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu. It’s called To My Critics, and the last verses go like this:
It is easy to write verses
Out of nothing but the word.
Continue reading Portrait of a Writer
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
Don’t you love it when your mind imprisons a certain image? You have a certain vision, you know exactly where you want to go and what you have to do. An image that has to be set free.
This is one of the most crucial aspects of good art: vision. And heart. I’m not sure you can have one without the other. Continue reading TMM: The Angel in The Marble
In Greek Mythology there were nine goddesses who were considered to be the source of inspiration for arts, science, and stuff like that.
Nowadays the term kind of describes a person who inspires an artist. Kind of.
We artists find inspiration in the most unlikely of places (or situations.) It’s not just other works of art that inspire us to create art, but also places, events, people.
But I’ve always considered a muse to be more than all that.
Continue reading What’s a Muse?