THE ARTIST’S WAY

November 18, 2004.

A friend shared a realization with me this morning. She said that to be an artist does not necessarily require doing good work all of the time but that it does require doing work on a regular basis. It’s so true. I’m like a lot of other people I know who are afraid to do anything at all for fear that it will completely suck. However, one of the great lessons I learned in college, at my jobs and in rehearsal was not to censor myself the first time around. It’s liberating to throw out ideas, not caring where they land or what people will think of them. It’s one of the best ways to work, I’ve found.

This month I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the discipline has been amazing. I’m familiar with the advice that a writer needs to write every day but there’s nothing like a 30 day deadline to get me moving. I figure I have to write between 2,000-3,000 words per day in order to finish my novel on time. Most nights I stare at my computer trying not to cry. Sometimes I even watch a movie instead. For research purposes, of course. But it’s so cool to know that every day, more or less, I will write. So far my book is terrible and unreadable. I have to keep myself from editing as I go along. It’s turned out to be a great gift that I can’t stop writing long enough to fix it and that no one is reading it but me. My mantra has become Edit Later, Edit Later. It’s getting easier to sit down and stare the screen for three hours every night. I’m starting to look forward to it and I hope to keep it in my routine after the book is done.

I think I can apply this concept to the rest of my life. Every day I’m supposed to do at least one thing towards accomplishing my goals. Thanks to my husband I now have a digital video camera to practice my filmmaking skills. I’m still fighting the urge to leave it alone until I have the money, time and resources to do it “right.” But that’s not the point. The point is to pick up the camera and tell a story, no matter how small, no matter how rough. As I remarked to my friend, doing what I love to do, in any capacity, makes me feel that I am fulfilling my purpose. No one needs to see it or praise it in order for me to have a great time doing it.

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