Most people have a preconceived idea about artists. Some think being one requires living in squalor, experiencing all areas of life and staring at the face of a computer all day. While others imagine the debonair, carefree lifestyle of one who has tons of money and needs to fill their time. There are also those who think that an artist is full of themselves, arrogant, time squanderers who can’t manage to get a real job.
The truth is an artist may be all of those things. A painter or sculptor may spend days weeks and even years on a piece of work which can easily be duplicated and sold for so much less by mechanical means. A dancer works on a piece of choreography for weeks only to injure a calf muscle and be unable to perform. A musician strive for years to compose a complicated orchestral piece and die the day before it’s performed. A writer can write every day with discipline and dedication to the art form only to have his work disappear into cyberspace in just an instant.
As a writer I’ve made it a habit to write at a certain time of day so that I am able to remain on top of my craft. I write about things I’ve experienced or know about. I write because it’s an inner thing which I can’t not do. I’ve published a few things, but always seem to fail when it comes to the submission part of the work, because of my low self confidence and unworthiness. I’ve never felt good enough at what I do. I suppose that has to do with having such high expectations.
Today anyone can be an artist. The proof is in the fact that there are so many out there. The competition is fierce. To self-publish is the norm. Book publishers are almost a thing of the past. It’s kind of like the magic has been taken out of authorship. No more do you hear about an Edgar Allen Poe, dug deep into the depths of depression – alone – suffering – pondering on thoughts of death and suicide. Well, maybe Stephen King, but I don’t know the guy. The multi-layered tales of Sherlock Holmes and the character driven stories of Victor Hugo are classic, but who are the classic writers of today?
Maybe I should be satisfied with my desire to write and not so concerned with my success. I believe once we let ourselves write for the sake of feeling the need to, we are freeing ourselves to do our best writing.