Jul. 14th, 2014

rejectionchallenge: (Default)
I learn by going where I have to go – Theodore Roethke

So, a lot of things hurt. Growth hurts. Rejection hurts. So do impatient toleration, insincere praise, and lack of interest. So does realizing that something you were trying to make just isn't working right now. So does criticism sometimes, even if it's really good criticism that will help you in the end. In weight training, you learn that injury isn't just a roadblock on the way to strength – it's in an important sense intrinsic to it. You have to break yourself down in small ways in order to build back stronger.

Still hurts, though. )

'Cerebration' )

Gain disguised as loss )

"Do you know how old I'll be by the time I learn to play the piano?"
"The same age you will be if you don't."


There's a brief return to the idea that it's too early, or too late, to take up something new or pick up where you left off. This is shenanigans; creativity happens in the moment and the moment is whenever we say it is.

The most important thing is to keep taking small steps-- what Cameron calls filling the form. She doesn't explain this metaphor, but I guess it's like filling out the blanks on an application, one by one? The point is that a lot of people have worries about what might happen if they dedicated more of their lives to art – they'd have to move, there would be family drama, maybe they would lose friends, and then what if they wrote a whole novel and no one liked it? What if it's all for nothing? What if they become famous and then die, and Columbia University Press publishes all their second-person Jack Sparrow fanfic in a four-volume critical edition with copious footnotes and their ghost is embarrassed forever?

It's easy to worry about big-picture fears when we could be painting or sculpting or drawing or writing. “Contemplating the odds” is one way of avoiding taking small steps. Don't do it! Or at least restrict it to one evening a week, and leave the rest of the week for action.

There is (almost?) always one creative thing you can do, no matter how tiny. If you have five minutes or two minutes, you can sketch on a post-it note or a pad of paper (character-limited forms, like those on Facebook and Twitter, can be good for composing tiny stories or poems), jot down dialogue, mark down a tune that's been following you. Everything is made of something. Novels are made of words, paintings are made of brushstrokes, forests are made of trees which are made of branches and roots and leaves and bark and plant cells. Every step is a step. In fact, you should probably stop reading this and do a small creative thing right now.

Did you do your morning pages? Don't forget to schedule a date with your artist this week!
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