Hey. I was just thinking of something your boss/colleague at the art gallery said to me once:
I don’t know why I never said that to you before. I say it now for two reasons. The first is because I don’t know how to tell you you’re so talented and accomplished in a way that’s believable to you. After all, I’m just a dad, and dads should just love their kid’s work. They shouldn’t hesitate to be critical. But I don’t have many criticisms And I love your work.
The other reason is that I really want to encourage you to continue on your path, and I hope it has renewed interest in your innate talent. You are enormously talented. I want you to have confidence in that.
I know I often I try to tell you about stuff by relating my own experience. This is not a selfish endeavor, though it may seem so. That’s why, at this moment, I tell of my own course only as a way of letting you know the pitfalls of getting discouraged.
When I was a kid I so wanted to be a writer and I think you are well familiar with the rough and painful road to my becoming a writer. Often discouraged by my parents, family, and teachers, I believed what they said. I suppose it was the easier road. I had an excuse not to exercise the small bit of talent I had. Not enormously talented, I have to work hard to write anything decent. But I do because I must, and you know that because I know something is difficult cannot stop me from trying.
But hasn’t always been true. I didn’t like practice, mostly because it too effort in concentration. I am not good at that, and never have been. It may be do to some of the things that Jack suffers from due to having a mom who liked to drink when she was pregnant. But I do not allow myself to say, I have ADD, or whatever. It may be true. So what. That my cart is broken doesn’t allow me to sit with my cart in the ditch complaining. Complaining will not get the cart fixed.
The second reason I write is that I also wanted to be an artist. Pencil and pastel. I love those media. Painting, too. But these other media were my love.
Well, every time I brought out what I did, I got shot down. And because of that, I never pursued those things either.
Don’t get me wrong. I was about as talented with drawing and color as I am with writing. But since writing is my first love, that’s what broke out of the crates I’d constructed for myself. The need for creation and search for who I am in the process of putting words on paper is a force to its own. The only thing I can do is stand in the way of it.
After all these years, I have to tell you I actually feel I am where always wanted to be. Two creative projects. Deadlines. Pressure. I am not afraid because now, I have to work. I have to get the dissertation accomplished or I will run out of time and will have to kiss the doctorate forever. I can’t have that. I will regret that forever. As an artist and writer, I will feel that for the rest of my life. As it I fell like I am running out of time, and I have things I want to accomplish before I lay down to sleep.
You will have to work to do. You have to muster the determination, discipline, and belief in the work. These I are more important than any kind of confidence, belief in yourself, or praise and approval from others. Do not make the mistake I have. I have waited for the approval, hitch his why I am going on 50 and just at the beginning of a true writing career. At the start of being and feeling like a real artist.
Just begin. Do your work as if no one will ever see it. That doesn’t matter. The process will have results. Discouragement, embarrassment, and what seems like failure lie in your future. But without the process, nothing else gets done. Find the meaning in the process of creation.