I have been struggling with personal issues lately, and, as always, that impacts my writing. And because I’m upset, I turn to the only real form of therapy that’s ever worked for me: Art. There’s art that I want to make—art that I need to make—but I find myself avoiding it. It’s not because I can’t make the art. It’s not that I don’t want to make the art. But it is hard.
And I find that sort of annoying.
I realize this is a personal problem, but there’s this feeling in our society that effortless is an expression of greatness. “Oh, I just wrote that novel in 6 days,” is somehow a greater novel than one that took 6 months because clearly writing a novel in 6 days is going to have way less belly aching than the novel that takes 6 months.
So I avoid the projects because they are not effortless.
Some would argue—and rightly so—that the effortless creations are only born of two places. One of these places is practice. Practicing day and night to achieve a level of greatness and skill with something is clearly a thing. After all, my first drawings of Stitch took hours and they were on cards that were 5 inches high. The one I slapped onto the concrete took exactly 3 hours and it was three feet by three feet. Obviously, practice makes the expression of art seem effortless.
The only other place where art is effortless is when it is made out of laziness. And this is where I’m worried my work is. I’ve been practicing a technique that is, at its heart, lazy. It’s easy and effortless, the only real drawback keeping it from being an absolute joy is that the art created through it is… predictable. It doesn’t show my vision or my ability, it shows my ability to follow a You Tube tutorial. It might look nice, but I worry that it’s lazy and repetitive to the point of not being worthwhile.
And, because I’ve studied the craft of story for so long, I worry that my novels are like this as well, that I don’t challenge myself and they are born out of my laziness. Cliche, repetitive.
Does anyone else thread this needle of anxiousness between being lazy and thinking effortless art is somehow better (but worrying that because it didn’t receive it’s blood sacrifice it’s somehow not as good)?