If I actually made New Year's Resolutions, like most artists and creative types... I suppose a perennial one would be to finish one of my many creative endeavors, and maybe even put it out there.
For writers and musicians, this is a bit like losing weight is for anyone with a few extra pounds. You sincerely mean to do it, and know it would make you feel better... and you even start off on the endeavor fairly gung ho... but much sooner than you would like to admit, you allow yourself to slack off, and let those good intentions out to pasture. Your actual creations turn out to be a network of finely wrought excuses for why you are not going to get anything done any time soon.
This book-- more of a pamphlet actually--by Garrett Robinson is a nice, welcome kick in the ass to anyone who has been dragging their creative feet. At all of 12 pages, almost half of which are the cover, TOC and appendixes... it has a simple message. Basically it is exactly what the title says.
Primarily he refutes the big 3 excuses of artists:
- I'm Not Sure It's Good Enough
- I Can Never Find The Time
- I Need To Have (X) To Create
Normally, I would't just quote some other author's work without permission, but it is clear that he wants this stuff to be given away. The Kindle version of the book is actually free. (get it here)
You can consider this a book review if you like, which entitles me to quote from the work.
At any rate, here are some words that should ring a bit too true for anyone who works with the creative muse and faces the prospect of baring their soul in public:
"Any time you spend complaining is time that would be better spent actually DOING your art."
"If you refuse to release anything that isn't bulletproof and a fantastic, sweeping achievement in art that will wow all the critics, then I'm sorry to say that your ego is just insufferably huge. I'm also sorry to say that you will never create something that will please everyone, and that will be recognized by the entire artistic world as the greatest achievement in the history of anything. If you won't release anything uless it meets that lofty standard, then I have an idea for you: Take whatever you've got, whatever you have finished, and release it under a pseudonym."
"SHUT THE FUCK UP AND CREATE YOUR FUCKING ART
What I’m getting at is that there are no excuses. In this day and age you—YOU, THE PERSON READING THIS— have the ability to:
- Create art with virtually no initial investment
- Distribute for no cost to you, and limitless potential for income (Amazon for writers, Amazon/YouTube for film, Amazon/YouTube/iTunes for musicians)
- Crowdsource feedback on your art to teach you to become a better artist
So the only complaint you have left is Time. And so I’ll ask you an honest question—if you’re not spending any available time you have creating your art, then what the fuck are you doing?"
Yeah, the book is not going to win any awards... it is already a stretch to call 6 pages of text a book. But, it is just the kind of slap in the face that some of us need to dust off a project, finish it, and get it out into the world.
Garrett is of the opinion that putting stuff out there makes you a better artist, because you can get feedback and find out what works. I don't disagree with that. But, there is something to be said for not making a terrible first impression (from which you may never recover)... and also from having your "body of work" include amateurish tripe.
Most of us--regardless of what field you create in--would be mortified to have our early, feeble attempts at artwork seen by anyone... let alone be out there forever on the world wide web. I feel sorry for young artists today who hype themselves up to publish or distribute work that will surely make them hide their heads in shame when they finally get good enough to know better.
Well, there is always his idea of using a pseudonym.
Whatever your opinions on this issue are, you can always create your art. Releasing it into the world, on the other hand, is something you have to think on seriously... it is something dependent on--but not implicit in--finishing something. But, even if you never show it to anyone, you really should spend more time creating... and finishing.
Anyway. Stop reading this. Go and create some fucking art.