I have a new post coming soon, but in the mean time I wanted to share something that I’ve read which really hit a nerve (in the best possible way).
Reading through a recent AMA on Reddit with Kevin Smith and Jay Mewes, I was struck by the following. After being asked what continues to inspire him and keep him working every day, Smith replied:
Honestly? Death motivates me. One day it all ends for our hero, and he doesn’t get to express myself anymore. Nightmare thought for a motor mouth full of ideas (some of which are actually good). What am I waiting for? Might as well spit it all out now while I’ve got the chance.
You know what also helps? Change up the creative outlet from time to time. A writer writes, sure – but a writer can also podcast, and sometimes saying shit out loud can help. Or go take some photographs. Or shoot a short film. Or paint. Even if the words aren’t flowing, capture SOME moment that you can share or convey to others: that’s your only job as an artist. Don’t worry about whether it’s “good” or “bad”, as art is in the eye of the beholder anyway. You just capture the moment, by any means necessary (Except, y’know, any way that hurts or kills someone else).
I loved reading this. Although I too share a crippling fear of my own mortality, I haven’t had much trouble with the dreaded writer’s block; I have something of the opposite problem, inasmuch as I start new work easily but take a long time to finish. I get caught up in a new idea and want to get it on paper (or screen, whatever) as soon as possible. When that happens ten times in a week, I realize that I haven’t done a thing except start almost a dozen stories. I’d like to say it’s Writer’s Attention Deficit Disorder, but I’d like to avoid people calling me a WADD if I can help it.
More to the point, I’ve had a hangup on what I think constitutes a worthwhile investment of time. Having done some work for Palladium Books and independent consulting for pay, it can be a strange feeling to go back and spend a lot of time on something (like a blog post, hint hint) that doesn’t have the same immediate payoff (pardon the pun – even if it is rare to get paid straightaway when you’re a writer).
But what I’m gleaning from Smith’s comment is this: there’s a lot more to a worthwhile investment of time than getting paid, even from investing time into something outside your wheelhouse. I’ve contributed to various projects, from blogs to films to books, and each has provided me at the least with experience and helped to refine my voice. To develop further as an artist, I won’t be afraid of projects that aren’t my forte.
So bring on the amateur photography, the paintings, the poetry, the podcasts. Other P-words too, if they’re on the menu. As of right now, I’m game. (Or prepared, to follow the alliteration.)
Whew. All those P’s. Good thing Smith says I shouldn’t worry about what’s “good” or “bad,” because that was… pathetic.
I’m so sorry.