Perseverance, perfectionism, and the impossible

impossibleIn a way, I believe that all artists are possessed by this silly ambition: they want to do something no one else has thought of doing before them. They want to create something that’s unique. And perfect. And so they try, again and again, and they always fail. It seems to me that this is what truly motivates us.

We keep on writing because nothing we write is good enough, or at least, as good as we think it should be. Or as good as we think it deserves to be.

No story is ever “finished.” There’s always something to change, to add, to remove.

The idea is that you have to do stuff. You have to finish stuff, you have to let go. Again and again and again, and there’s no other battle quite like it.

I’ve been writing for ten years now. Sometimes I couldn’t let go: I felt that what I had written was not enough. It does happen; we feel as if our best ideas somehow get lost between our brain and our fingers. Something gets lost in the translation, it always does.

But, and this is extremely important, you have to let go. Over-editing your work, trying too much, is just as worse as not trying enough. There’s got to be a balance, and it’s up to you to find it.

There’s no recipe, no secret formula. Art is the act of being as free and as careless as you want to be. Art gives you the ability to explore a world that is beyond attainment. All art is just an illusion.

We spend an awful lot of time trying to compare our works with the works of others. We feel that this is a race. Sadly, it’s not.

Art is subjective.

Also, you can only be better than yourself. You should always strive to be better than who you were yesterday. That’s why perseverance is so important. And self-discipline. And self-esteem. And a bit of arrogance.

Ego-centrism.

A bit of narcissism.

You’re the only one who can do what you’re doing, and, in fact, you’re doing the world a big favor by creating your art, but letting them admire it. They can love it or hate it, it’s not your problem.

The only thing that matters is that you’re constantly trying to be better, you’re constantly trying to translate more and more of what your brain is thinking. You want to show the world something that only you can see, and you want to show them as much of it as possible.

If they love it or hate it or discard it as stupid, it doesn’t matter.

If they buy it, pirate it, copy it, or destroy it, it doesn’t matter.

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22 comments on “Perseverance, perfectionism, and the impossible

  1. Carter Vail says:

    Thank you for sharing! Wonderful advise! I can really relate. I think the best thing I do with any creative endeavor is to let it sit and make peace with it is how it is and that is enough.

  2. pixie says:

    Well said Christian. If we could all focus on doing our own art well, acknowledge it’s not a competition, we would be happier and have more time to hone our own skill. Amazing you’ve been writing ten years. You’re so young too. Keep going. Never give up.

  3. Felicity says:

    Love this: “There’s no recipe, no secret formula. Art is the act of being as free and as careless as you want to be. Art gives you the ability to explore a world that is beyond attainment. All art is just an illusion.” Very well said. This is a great post, and I find it very encouraging and inspirational! Bravo! :)

  4. D.H. Rotmil says:

    Thank you. Very much needed today

  5. InsideOut says:

    This is soooo true. If I had a commendation for each time i edited something I already finished……..

  6. thysleroux says:

    Amazing advice! Thank you!

  7. Thank you for the reminder. Even as I find myself intoxicated with ideas about which to write, I suffer the syndrome in which my list of unpublished writings far outweighs the numbers I share in open forum. I constantly struggle to see perfection on the horizon and when I do I’m happy in every sense except failing to have captured that illusive intangible. Sincerely Moonstruck

  8. Yoshiko says:

    Thanks, Christian, for this :) you have sum this up correctly.

  9. Harvey Gable says:

    Your reference to “arrogance” seems fitting, as it is my primary fuel source. I tried bio-arrogance but it just gummed the works up. It simply did not pencil out. The MPG’s.

  10. lpishere says:

    I’m not exactly sure how you manage to inspire me to write every time I read your posts, but I do. Thanks, Cristian. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go work on a few more paragraphs.

  11. Adriana E says:

    I fight with my perfectionism all the time as a writer you are always trying to match what you have in your head with what actually is written on paper.

  12. smithaw50 says:

    We share a lot of the same views on the subject. Great post! And thanks for following my blog. New to the whole digital cyber presence thing. Blessings!

  13. Thank you for this post. It feels good to relate to someone ☺️

  14. vs918 says:

    Very inspirational and true!! Really, there is something that is lost while translating into words!

  15. Wonderful! Needed to hear this. Thanks, Cristian.

  16. sharna sammy says:

    Absolutely!… ‘constantly trying to get better and better’ and not knowing if what you doing is going anywhere.
    As always – great post :) Thank you.

  17. Thank you for this. Sometimes we crave comments so much that we forget this truth you spelt out-
    “You’re the only one who can do what you’re doing, and, in fact, you’re doing the world a big favor by creating your art, but letting them admire it. They can love it or hate it, it’s not your problem.”

  18. Art is Subjective. I think people forget that part. As a writer, I sometimes forget that. Just because someone doesn’t like my piece doesn’t mean it’s bad. Nice post.

  19. beichii says:

    I like it very much. I feel exactly the same. It’s like we can’t write our feelings in a piece of paper. Glad I’m not the only that after writing something think it sucks.

  20. Great read! Really enjoyed your thoughts and could totally relate to your message. Thanks! Michael

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