Friday, 19 April 2013

I get up again



The artist in sunnier times.
I've often wondered why there's no eqivalent, positive alternative to 'suffering for one's art'. How about thriving? Or perhaps blossoming? (I draw the line at pleasuring for one's art because that just sounds plain wrong.)

Is the suffering essential? Certainly, artists of all persuasions can and do suffer. They experience fear, isolation, frustration, loss, self-doubt, crushing disappointment, rejection and sheer bloody unhappiness.

What do we gain from all that? Buddha suggested that the root of all suffering (apart from the human condition itself) is attachment

When we insist that we and our work are appreciated, we're setting up an equation where we only have control at one end - the rest is a set of variables we may not even fully comprehend.

Suffering may bring about a deeper experience of what it is to be an artist, as well as of the art itself. But what about the audience? What does the reader think?

Personally, although I like to know an author's back story, I care little about whether they've lived in the street or in a mansion. (Okay, I'll be honest here and tell you that the mansion would bother me a little.) First and foremost, it's the writing that counts and not how they arrive at it.

So is there another way, an alternative to suffering? I certainly hope so! Don't misunderstand me, I think creativity is a serious business, in every sense. But surely it can be fun, exciting and fulfilling too?

I look forward to an interview where the writer, when asked about their approach to their craft, says: "I write for the joy of it."

For me, it all comes down to these basics, in the form of a handy cut-out-and-keep reminder:

We, as writers, can only really control three things: How we write, how we edit, and where we choose to submit our work. We have to let go and accept that everything else is in the lap of the Gods, while doing the things we can extremely well.

* A post inspired by a recent weekend where three novel rejections arrived together, like mournful buses! 

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