Monday, May 2, 2016

It Don't Work Unless You Do:





I'm sat writing this on a crisp early autumn morning. It's a Sunday and the sky is deliciously overcast, the kind of weather that is ready for faux fur coats, and oversized hot drinks balanced between elbow crooks and iPhones as they jostle for steady position on trains and in elevators.

Yesterday I had an epiphany: No matter what, as long as you work really hard people will be impressed.


Sometimes it can be really hard to work, because it can be really hard to feel motivated and inspired. However, as Picasso said: Inspiration will strike, but, as Picasso said, it has to find you working.

I've been putting my nose the the grindstone somewhat of late. I want to make this year all about my writing: Practice, getting better, creating tighter sentences, publishing something in some format, and working on this blog. I've been crafting essays and poetry, and fiction as well as working on my usual freelance. In the last week or two I might have written 5,000 words. I'm finding that the more I write, and set myself clearly defined goals for the purposes of my writing (i.e. Essay #11002 will be 2,000 words, academically sourced and submitted to literary magazines before anything else) the more comes.

I think it's to do with FLOW - the psychological kind. Flow is the state of mind also known as 'the Zone'. For me when I get into this zone when I am writing it's almost transcendental, automatic. I used to be able to get there much faster as a teen, but alas these days the old brain isn't quite as quick and it takes some effort. Once I hit my Flow though, I'm usually storming through a decent 500 words a day, as well as developing and constantly being hit by, new writing ideas.

They come thick and fast and I have to scrabble for pens and pieces of paper when they strike on trains, in the middle of the night, or in the shower. A twinge of guilt upsets my stomach when I write them somewhere other than my journal, because I feel like I'll never look them up again. Anything I deem 'good' is usually obsessively repeated in my brain until it can find purchase in that little blue book.

Once you're in that 'work' or 'create' mindset brainstorming can become really easy: The ideas just start to Flow in, and if you keep disciplining yourself to make them a reality - by putting a real narrative on the page rather than just dot points. It seems that helps the inspiration stick around a lot longer. That's how real artists work, discipline, by treating themselves like they're still at University and are surrounding by semester deadlines and lecture times. Oh, and keeping up on that reference reading.

Checking out how 'real' artists work at the NGV