Making it happen…
Life makes demands. Silly things like breathing to begin with, followed by eating, drinking (water to start with) sleeping and shelter are among life’s demands.
Since very few of us are endowed with the resources to do anything we want at any time, the rest of us must do what we can to afford the basics. This blog is dedicated to all of you, like myself, who have to balance our needs against our wants.
The next critical demands are friendship and love. These are supplied for most of us from the central source of our families at the start. As we grow, we start to gather these things for ourselves. Once we reach a certain age, we look to create our own replica of the structure we were raised with.
If, like me, you aspire to some creative form, I would like to share my thoughts about how you might work towards that goal. My thought for today is not about technique and more about fitting creativity into your daily life. So many times, I have heard people tell me that they would love to be an artist, a writer, a musician. When I have responded with encouragement, my next question has always been in the vein of “what’s holding you back?” Invariably, the answer has lots of parts but the one that seems the most consistent is, “I just wish I had more time.”
I need to address the one toll booth on this particular highway. As I have spoken with people when sharing thoughts about creativity, the one consistent potential blockade is desire. I have known people with a variety of talent levels, some as gifted or more so than me who just don’t feel compelled to push themselves to achieve their dream. If you ask them, they will tell you how great it would be to paint or write or whatever, but for some reason, the passion is not there. My own personal experience with this is my younger daughter Aly. She is very gifted, but when it comes down to making it happen, even on days off with nothing else on her agenda, she just can’t motivate herself to work on her art. People who have seen her drawing would tell you how amazing she is. I continue to try to make her see how much she’s missing, but so far, I have not found the key to supplying that desire. Let me come back to this.
In my life, I have had some levels of success with my painting and my writing. I spent over forty years trying to make a life where I could support myself and my family from my painting. There were more than a couple times when I got very close. I had a couple agents at different times who seemed committed to getting my work out in the world. They sold a couple pieces and even worked to offer me shows in nice venues in downtown galleries. I also had done art shows locally where I got good feedback. I got to a point though, where it became clear that my dream of painting for a living was not likely to happen.
Around the time that I made discovery, I had an epiphany about a separate creative track. When I was in high school, I spent my senior year focused on all three processes. I had classes in painting, jewelry making and ceramics, along with choir, music composition and writing. My plan had been to decide which path I would pursue. As shown above, the outcome was determined to focus on art. My reasoning was that I would have the largest role in deciding what my “Product” would be like. When my epiphany took place, I realized that with self-publishing being as available as it was, I was no longer dependent on agents or publishers to get my work into the world. That’s when I decided to focus on writing. I never gave up on my art and have created a few pieces each year even while my writing took a lot of my free time.
Speaking of time, everyone has different responsibilities that take up their time. For me, my weeks are divided in three primary buckets. First and foremost is my family. I do my best to be a good husband and father and I have been blessed to share a life that most would define as comfortable. In service of that objective is the full-time job (the second bucket) that takes the key hours of each day, Monday through Friday. I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to work from home, so at least things like travel to and from a work site which can consume time and energy are not an issue. (This was not always the case.) The third bucket is my writing and the occasional painting. Most of my writing happens on Saturday and Sunday mornings from about 8am to 11 or noon. I can generate about 1000 words a day during those times. During holidays and vacations, I can do a little more.
As I have tried to indicate, everyone has different situations. I am sharing mine just to give some perspective. The unexpected challenge on my writing path is the difficulty with marketing. I can do lots of things but figuring out how to find my audience has been a challenge. So here we are again, speaking about the purpose of this blog.
Speaking of advertising, please feel free to navigate through this website to become familiar with the four novels that I am trying to market, starting with Hurry Moon. I still have a few books available for free for anyone willing to email me through this site asking for a copy.
The bottom line for those of you who have an interest in doing something creatively, is to find some time to practice. If you make a little time each week, just an hour or two, you will be surprised how quickly you can make progress. You don’t need a lot of money. For drawing, a sketch pad and a pencil will get you going, for writing, a paper notebook or a digital one (since most people have something like this) will do. The final piece is you must want it. I don’t have any magic potion I can recommend for making this happen. I can only offer these few words. FIND YOUR PASSION.
As I am getting older, the idea of making a living with my creativity continues to be just out of reach. At the end of the day, I can only say that this is the key for me. I have never painted or written for fame and fortune. I have always wanted to share something with the world; my perspective. The paintings I have done, the books I have written may never get to more than a select few (though if you are reading this, you could have a hand in expanding that list) but that is fine. I have had the fulfillment of seeing that last brushstroke find its way to the canvas. With my writing, there is no way to describe the feeling I got when I held the proof copy of my first novel in my hands. It was incredible.
Along with my goal of enhancing my own marketing efforts, I hope those of you who would like to travel a similar path will take from this posting the idea that if you are willing to make the investments in time and passion, you will know these joys. As to the results, I should also mention that while I have not yet gotten to the destination I hoped for, your path is your own, opportunities come at specific times to specific people. Talent is part of it. Hard work is a key. There is also the idea of good fortune, fate or luck that must be considered. With all my heart, I wish you all of these.