What Art Really Is. Why Our World Needs More Bad Art. And Why You Need to Create It.

Art is temporary. A fleeting representation of a moment in time. A brief, beautiful snapshot. An instance where millions of stories and thousands of years and one-hundred generations of love collide into a flash of creation.

But for its creators, art feels anything but temporary.

For its creators, the art they produce feels like a fateful representation of eternity.

And it is a wildly daunting task to create something that is forever destined for imperfection — for, all art is imperfect –especially when that imperfection is to be judged, criticized, even leveraged against its creator like a Frankenstein of the soul by those mob-like masses who couldn’t ever fully understand its creator’s devout intentions:

To give, to serve, to shine.

Every artist, writer and blossoming creative fears this very natural fear. Creation becomes an extraordinarily intimidating task because it truly feels like those artistic expressions will not only last throughout our own lifetimes, but further, forever represent them, and their talents, and their potential, and even “who they are” as human beings.

So, they hesitate to create at all.

They say that they’re not ready. That their work isn’t good enough yet.

The thing is… they’re not wrong.

The work is not good enough yet.

But all artists, writers and creatives must eventually learn that to get where they want to go, they need to create anyways; that to craft the lives that they desire, they need to “create, in spite of.”

 

Create, In Spite Of

This is a mantra every artist, writer and creative — every entrepreneur, dreamer and daring soul — must remember:

Create, in spite of.

Create in spite of the fact that you, your writing, your mission and your journey are each “a work in progress.”

Lose the disclaimer. Erase that footnote. We are all imperfect. Perfectly imperfect. And you owe it to no one to remind anyone that you are. Life itself is imperfect. And so is your writing, your art, your creations. Every book has typos, every painting a scratch, every blog post has errors, and every creation is part screw-up.

A few months after you publish your first long-awaited book or launch your blog or reveal your masterpiece — your “baby” — you’ll probably want to trash it. Erase it. Start over. Begin anew. And burn any shred of evidence from where you came.

The want to burn is not a bad thing — in fact, it’s probably good.

We treat artistic creation like the final product is a testament to our existence; a life-long tribute to who we are and where we’ve been; who we wish to become and how we wish to be remembered. With art, it’s simply never the case.

Sixteen months after writing my first book, I realize this more now than ever.

I thought my first book would be a testament to who I am and everything I believed. In actuality, just a couple of months after publishing it I felt like I was light-years away.

Last August, I heard a well-known author say of her latest book — four months it was published to rave reviews and mass readership — that she wanted to burn it.

You might be thinking, “What the hell! Why?! Why would anyone?”

It’s because from the laborious process of struggling, battling, overcoming and actualizing the creation of deeply meaningful art, you understand that art is not forever; it is as temporary as the pages of the calendar.

A blog post. Flip the page.

An e-book. Flip the page.

First novels. First speaking gigs. First attempts. First struggles. First successes. First failures.

Flip the page.

Art is a miraculously complex representation of one snapshot in time; a time where you traversed a spiritual plane of vision and thought, spirit and feeling — a time wherein you actualized mere thoughts, sheer chaos and complete disorder into peace, order, offerings.

Art is a documentation of that journey; from a place you once were, but are no longer.

Your art is just one moment of your life: a empty picture frame that, even today, still opens a window into a past version of your ever-evolving soul. From your art, you can again experience what you once thought, felt, wanted, feared, cherished, demanded, believed.

Art, as with life itself, is completely temporary.

And the artist must honor that by creating more and more.

So, create.

Create in spite of the odds of writing the next Harry Potter, Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey.

Create from exactly where you are — regardless of where you one day dream to be.

Create in spite of your time constraints.

Create in spite of your confusion and frustration –just think back to how little you knew when you were young, and yet, how engaged and excited and willing you were to endeavor, explore, learn and grow. Brilliant, engaging, soulful art mimics that same brazen-with-innocence mentality.

Create, friend.

Create, in spite of your art being so imperfect. Because today, what you create is an opportunity to fully flourish within yourself, no matter how you think your brightness compares to another’s. Today is only chance you have to explore the vastness of life that surrounds you — deeply, profoundly, playfully. Today is your only opportunity to sincerely give yourself and your love to the world; to literally change a life, whoever might need it.

What a gift that is!

Create. The more you create, the farther you go. It’s a thing of mystery and intrigue, one that artists never really understand. But when you begin to create for the world, the mystery starts to become revealed.

As with life, every artistic endeavor is a journey, and every act of creation leaves a trail of breadcrumbs to the unique life you’ve lived — and all of the giving, leadership, offering and ability you’re capable of.

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P.S. – This post comes today as my writers’ group, the Literati, reopens to new members. Let’s create in 2013.

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