How do artists create?
I’ve shared before, and still believe, that for every person that listens to the Muse and decides to try creativity and see how it fits them, there are that many ways to go about it. I’ve talked with musicians. Some begin with lyrics, others with a rhythm or melody. With chefs, some begin with the venue, the people who will be enjoying the meal, or what items are available. I’ve written numerous times before about what artists can use to entice the Muse, to play, to tap into their imagination. According to Natalie Goldberg in her book Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, “The problem is that there are no good maps for the journey of a writer; each one goes it alone…We, as writers, need to legitimize our way as a path that we have taken. Instead, a lot of writers act like victims plagued by the agonies of writing. We are actually great warriors facing the barriers to truth. We are digesting experience for society.”
For me, and for other writers and creative people out there who share their experience in blogs and books and workshops, we’re offering a map to others. It may not take them exactly where they want and need to go, but we can, at least, give them signposts. Sometimes we can borrow courage from others who have gone before. We read about how they traveled, and our interest is piqued enough to try it ourselves. When we begin, we might copy what others did. If we pay attention, we find what works for us. We tweak another’s suggestion. We try something someone else mentions. We practice. We develop our own rituals, our own dance steps with the Muse.
The more an artist practices with their medium, the more truth they are able to tell. Truth about themselves, about their lives, about society. What is it about a piece of music, a novel, a poem, a painting, or a meal that we really enjoy? It has to speak to us on some level. We may not be able to articulate that level, we just know we really like it. I think we really like the experiences that we share with the artist, even if those experiences aren’t exactly the same. We’ve all loved. We’ve all been sad, angry, lonely. Art that expresses those experiences, when they’re close enough to our own, touch us in some way.
What is failure?
When writers begin, many have aspirations to write the next Great American Novel. It’s possible. Possibilities are endless, I believe. But the reality is that fewer artists are able to support themselves with their work. In the realm of novels, there are over 5,000 published every day. It’s a daunting task to think we can compete with the sheer number of other great stories, of other motivated authors wishing for their name on the Best Sellers lists. For some of us, we won’t be able to find an agent, an editor, a publishing company to buy our work. Or the next half-dozen pieces we produce. Some of us will give up. Some will self-publish and wear the hat of ‘authorpreneurer’. Some will be able to sell enough books, create the right kinds of relationships, in order to have their writing dreams come true. Others won’t. That’s the way of the universe. Goldberg suggests, “Have compassion for yourself when you write. There is no failure—just a big field to wander in.”
If you’re interested in how I create, you can visit my website: www.myjoyenterprises.com
How do you create art? Have you been successful, or have you found “a big field to wander in”?