Writing for Fluent Magazine has allowed me the privilege of meeting some pretty exceptional artists. Their stories, like their disciplines, vary, but one thread binds them. They all WORK. That’s it, the dirty 4-letter word that separates the wannabes from The Masters. W-O-R-K. Every day. Passionately. Without distraction. Without fail.
Shepherdstown artist Michael Davis drove this great truth home: you don’t pick up a brush and paint a masterpiece the next day. Or the next week, or the next year. It takes YEARS of training, years of practice, and yes, even years of failings.
“Everybody wants it to be a very fun, creative process,” Davis said, “but a lot of it is just sitting down and working when you don’t want to work. People that make it are the ones who do that. People that don’t are the ones that only work when they feel like working.”
There are people who like to paint and there are painters.
There are people who like to write and there are writers.
Fill in the blanks: dance, swim, sculpt, figure skate, sew, run a 5K, lose 15 pounds…. There is a point of separation between the casual and the committed. The amateur and the pro. The successful ones, the masters in their field, are the ones who realize that whatever the dream, whatever the passion, it’s not going to come easily.
Of course, talent helps. But talent is only part of the equation. Einstein (and a thousand others) said it, but in the quick-fix, instant-gratification times we live in many people still ignore it.
“Genius is 1% talent and 99% percent hard work.”
But here’s the thing: if it is truly your passion, your calling, it is not going to feel like work. It is going to be FUN. It’s going to excite you, inspire you, make you ignore the housework and television, make you send your children away, text excuses to your friends. That’s when you know you’re doing what you’re meant to do.
Even when it gets hard, when you think it’s not worth it, when you’d rather play Spider Solitaire, DON’T GIVE UP.
And trust me, you will find your reward in the work.