A Little Inspiration for the Long Haul

I came across this video yesterday and it's too powerful not to share.  This is for you creatives out there, especially those who experience the fear of failure, or doubt your talent, ambition, or output.

Shawn Michael and I have been working hard on creative endeavors for years and years now. We've had those moments of staring at the cucumber in the fridge. I understand it's also a common experience among artists to be slightly embarrassed by, or even detest some of your past work, especially your beginning work. 

I've only thrown out a few hauntingly poor paintings. Of the ones we've kept, over half of mine I'd rather leave in the dark corner of the painting room than hang on a gallery wall.

And the truth is, our latest work is our best work. We're getting there. We're moving through the volume of work we need to.  We haven't given up, and I'm excited about where we're going.

One thing that I love about this little video is it identifies the importance of hard work and discipline in addition to talent. This is something I've been ruminating on for quite some time. Rarely does an artist or creative individual produce inspiring, innovating, beautiful, or thought-provoking work purely because they are talented. An appreciator will fawn over a collection of work and say "you're so creative," or "I wish I had talent like that."

One of the best things anyone has ever said to me was after our first art show together in 2007. He didn't comment on the paintings, the creative space layout, the innovative custom lighting. He didn't even say whether he liked the art or not.   This gentleman smiled at us, and said he was really impressed that we DID it. He was impressed that we produced a body of work, organized a show, sent out invites, and worked tirelessly to produce a quality event. We put the time in and did the work.

The next time you see something creative that moves you, take a minute to think about the work behind it. How long did it take to dream up and plan? How many drafts that now line the bottom of a garbage can? How many hours went into its making? How many uncooked dinners and ruined shirts and spent Benjamins supported its creation?  

How many years has the discipline been practiced? For what reward?

To you creatives out there, keep it up. You'll catch up with yourself soon.