Thursday, May 18, 2006

Art and Fear

Among my indulgences is a shelf full of books on writing and creativity. A friend loaned me a wonderful little book called Art and Fear—Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

One of the major themes running through the book is that artists (including writers) are people who continue. Many people who start creative activities get discouraged, feeling they won’t ever be great or famous, or whatever they think of as achievement. If you keep going, you might or might not do something great; if you quit, for sure you won’t.

Bayles and Orland tell the story of a pottery teacher who divided his students into two groups, one to be graded on the basis of quantity, the other on quality. Those graded on quantity would have all their pots weighed at the end of semester and the weight translated into a grade. Those who were working for quality only had to produce one perfect pot to get an A. At the end of the semester, most of the really good work was done by those who worked on quantity and had the chance to learn from their work.

As Art and Fear says, no one can tell you what it takes for you to keep going. It’s different for every person, though we can learn from one another about some general patterns. So good luck to you in your creative endeavors, and keep on working!

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1 comment:

Umaga said...

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