Saturday, February 26, 2011

Thoughts on Art and Writing

I've decided to no longer allow myself to feel guilty for doing something I love with my time. I've had a productive day today. Tomorrow will be productive. There are things which must be attended to, but I refuse to feel guilty about allocating time to things that I want to do-provided they are productive. I can't make excuses for movies or facebook.

Spending time working in areas where I can make improvements in my life is worth the effort and the time.

Last time I went on vacation, I spent the time the way I wanted to: reading, writing, hiking, listening to my iPod and watching more TV than I'd like to admit. Aside from TV, those are all ways I love to spend my time. Obviously it's neither realistic nor healthy to make that my whole world, but none of those things are bad. As Dave Ramsey points out so often, “we’ll be the same people in five years, except for the books we read and the people we meet.”

For the longest time I've had some vague idea that I'm going to do all these fun things in High School, then another semester passes and I just haven't taken the time to" smell the roses" as it where.

With greater age comes greater responsibility. Sometimes I fear the prospect of the responsibility, sometimes I relish it. Part of shouldering that responsibility is being wise with finite resources such as time and money. Better do develop a habit of spending time on things which grow me into a better person.

“Taking time to smell the roses,” may look like a number of different things. Mostly, I think it looks like focusing on God. How I got to thinking that attending to eternal matters would somehow resolve it beats me. Studying scripture can’t be outsourced, you’ve gotta hunker down and read.

Focusing on writing is another component I feel compelled to give my attention to. I know I'm not particularly good at composing prose, but some part of it feels to right to me.

As one of my favorite authors Don Miller puts it:

For this reason, a creator distrusts emotion. Certainly a writer can turn a scene in a novel with a tear on his cheek, but the tear also causes him to question whether or not the page will be thrown out the following day for too much sentimentality, because a book is to the writer like the house is to the builder, it’s right fitting boards and plumb windows, not a feeling of love for the boards or the windows.

Don doesn’t discount creativity, nor does he hate his job; he’s simply making the point that writing is work just like anything else.
When it comes to writing, I want to wait for an emotional high or a creative spark, but those moments don’t happen all the time. A boxer trains every day, his canvas is ring and the tools of his trade are sweat, pain and fast fists. What he creates in the boxing ring may look natural, but in reality has been drummed into him until his very bones reverent with his craft.

The art of writing is a struggle, like boxing and all other worthy pursuits. If only for those occasional moments where I feel like I've gotten it right, its worth all the effort expended in the endeavor. In those moments I love writing, Jon Foreman describes it the creative process as an archeological dig. We don’t create the city we’re uncovering; we simply expose it for the rest of the world to admire.

As a male I'm driven to create, to conquer and to compete. As a male I am incredibly insecure about my performance, myself worthy is deeply tied up what I achieve. Every time I experience really good art, there is a sense of both admiration and discouragement. “Wow,” I think, “That's so beautiful and true.” Then everything goes downhill, “I wish could be that good, I bet it took him/her years of hard work before they were talented enough to create that. Do I have the potential to express such genius through my writing?

How on earth will I know when I'm great writer? Aren't most of the best writers dead? Great, so now I'll never know if I was good, regardless of my effort, I won't be famous and I'll probably be poor if I try writing as a career path. Oh, so now it’s about being famous? Really? You're so freakin vain…..

What do I have to offer the world which hasn't already been brought up?”

At this point I'll turn back to whatever I'd been doing before, Like Leonardo DiCaprio and his top; I'm not quite sure what reality is supposed to be.

Honestly, I'm not sure how much I believe in genius or his stepbrother talent. After reading portions of a book titled “Outliers,” I have doubts. Essentially the author's premise is that people are good at those things which they devote the most time to. Bill Gates is where he is today (in part) because he was working with computers years before most people. Mr. Gates extra experience is what gave him the edge when it came to starting Microsoft. So people become proficient at what they love, not the other way round.

The earlier you start, and the more time you commit the better you become. Ten thousand hours represents the threshold separating amateurs from professionals in a discipline, whether physical, or mental.

Ten thousand hours...

Welp, there's no time like the present!


  1. This post is so true... "With greater age comes greater responsibility. Sometimes I fear the prospect of the responsibility, sometimes I relish it. Part of shouldering that responsibility is being wise with finite resources such as time and money. Better do develop a habit of spending time on things which grow me into a better person."-I should make that my mantra, it's definitely something I need to work on. I've been struggling with time management lately, and this is just what I needed. There IS no time like the present, and there are important steps I need to make, steps toward independence and true responsibility... growing up isn't easy, but it's just as exciting as it is scary. Anyway, great post-I'll keep your words in mind today as I face a mountain of homework and college preparations. And I'm glad you've had this epiphany in regards to your writing-from all I've read, you really do have a gift for it and I'd hate to see you waste it out of the fear of never 'making it', you know?

  2. Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad you were able to draw something meaningful from this post. Just because I recongnize a truth doesn't mean I always act in light of it. It's hard to follow my own advice. You're right, writing-or anything else for that matter-should not be done because I'm going to recieve fame or money, it should be done because God wants me to do it, and I love it.