As I mentioned before, I would like to contribute to National Novel Month (NaNoMo)–not in the form of a written novel but ideas on how to start writing. And as I said in my previous post, I take back what I said about being a weekend artist or writer.
I realized, after much thought, that it IS possible to accomplish something creative while still having a day job…if i just knew how to plan. Planning is everything. But some artists resist planning, preferring to be spontaneous and their manner of artistic outpouring as unstructured and raw as much as possible, unpredictable spurts of artistic madness. But the trouble with that is one may end up scratching his head and asking himself: “WTF am i doing?” Nevertheless, I guess that an artist, musician or writer who plans and reflects more may have a better chance of not only starting an artwork, story, poem or song but ultimately ending up with an actual finished piece, and being happy and satisfied with the results.
However, it is the dreaded DAY JOB that prevents one from pursuing artistic endeavors. So I came up with tips for myself (and for those who may find them helpful) on how I can practice art even ‘during the weekends’ without compromising quality of work. Sometimes, the Muse doesn’t come to you but nobody said you can’t go searching for her. I call these tips The 6 MUSE TIPS:
1. DESIRE IT. If you are driven, then anything is possible. If you’re just forcing yourself, then don’t bother picking up the pen or brush. Visualizing the outcome helps. Envision yourself looking at the bookshelves with copies of your books being sold. Imagine making readers stop and stare, pore over your words, getting a reaction from them–a tear, a smile or even a raised eyebrow.
2. SEARCH YOUR FEELINGS and your emotions and experiences–love, hate, anger, frustrations, ordeals and triumphs and be ready to share them. These are yours and no one can take them away from you. You cannot be an artist if there is nothing to share. Otherwise you’re not just fooling yourself but other people as well. Experts can tell, too, if you’re just skilled in a superficial, technical way… or possessing a talent that emanates deep from your heart, soul and mind just by looking at your artwork or literary piece. If it is impersonal or obviously hackneyed from a trend set by other artists who are more established, they can sense that you’re not just being mediocre, you’re also being insincere. Find your own unique voice.
3. BE OBSERVANT. Be a sponge and absorb everything around you. If you’re stuck or feeling nonchalant about life, then you have to start educating yourself. Listen to people’s stories. Be curious. Study and watch people, things, nature, animals, the sky, the weather. Know other people’s feelings, their problems and how they overcame them (or if they weren’t able to, find out why). Ask what upsets them and what makes them laugh. Check the other side of the coin and try to understand. If words are not being spoken, learn to sense them. Stimulate your senses using your sensory perceptions–smell and taste different foods, see a way of life that is foreign to your own, get out of your comfort zone, take nature trips, train yourself to look at the tiniest details, find out what they’re called and describe them in your head. Or ask yourself how you feel about anything–like the hazy sunset or long dark shadows falling on an adobe wall, etc. Be amazed at an ordinary thing (or find the irony), then compare or contrast it (a lone tree in the horizon, a smooth pebble glistening in a neglected garden) with people you know. You can come up with a hundred story angles and themes, fill them up with these unique details that you yourself have discovered; create your own personal meanings, philosophies, and beliefs. This is the unique gift of the artists–to see beyond the ordinary. And it is their job to help others who lack this special faculty of ‘seeing’ and bring these out into the open through the arts. You’re actually showing them the unseen, the unheard, the unnoticed, and the unfelt, thereby with your help, these become real and true.
The next tip is about Planning and Organizing which I consider very important keys in coming up with a work of art. I figured it deserves to be discussed next time since I have a lot to say about it.
To be continued in the next post.