c/o Lisa H, c/o Jeanette Winterson.

Posted on 06.12.2007

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My friend Lisa just posted this to her weblog, and I have to say that it has really struck home with my own personal issues as well as what I think many of my artist-friends are going through right now.

For your reading enjoyment:
“My advice to writers anywhere, published or not, is to love what you do, and forget about the rest. Writing is always hard work, always difficult, there are days of despair, that are times when the thing really isn’t working, but you have to be able look underneath all of that, and find the place of private commitment that is yours and yours alone. If that is there, and if it is real, you will be able to carry on. If it isn’t there, then you will be vulnerable to whatever other people have to say about your work – good or bad, and that is not right. For anyone who works alone, creativity is not about consensus. This isn’t to say that you behave like an arrogant shit – it doesn’t matter whether your gift is great or small, it matters that you care about what you do, and find enough satisfaction in it, through good times and bad. And remember, experiment is important, and the right to fail is important.

No-one expects a scientist to go into the lab and come up with the goods all the time. Even very great artists make a mess, and all of their work is not of the same achievement. Our society doesn’t understand art as a process; we are obsessed with results. We are quick to judge. I think of art as a continuum – the continuum of the individual artist, and my continuing relationship with the work of that artist. And sometimes, it has to be said, we can read a novel or a collection of new poems, or go and see an exhibition of some one’s work, and be disappointed. That doesn’t matter – there will be still be much to think about. And next time, it will probably be different. My other piece of advice – we’ve done Trust Yourself, is trust those living artists you have come to love. Like anyone you love, there will be disappointments from time to time. That doesn’t mean anything. For me, there is nothing better than staying the course with someone whose work means a lot to me.”

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Posted in: writing