Being an artist is a funny thing. Mostly, I love it. I can’t imagine spending my life any other way than creating. But there are certain…mind-bending, warped thinking, deflating…other such words like this…elements of being an artist. I’ll discuss one a bit further here.
THE ARTIST’S DILEMMA
Being obsessed with an idea, knowing you have to make it our it will destroy a piece of you.
Afraid that if you DO make it, it will not be any good, and you will have destroyed it in the making.
Working on a project, fully aware of how much time and energy it is taking–and what you are neglecting to do it.
Knowing that when you are done, no one may care a bit about it, or worse, actively hate it.
Or even worse, discovering for yourself that it was a flawed, stupid idea to begin with, you just couldn’t see it at the time, and an utter waste of time.
Or even worse than that, discovering someone else already did it, and theirs was better.
I have had an idea that I have tinkered with for over ten years. I have worked on it, set it down, picked it up, changed it dramatically, thrown it away and resuscitated it. I have talked it to death. I have ignored it. I have cursed it for taking up so much of my time. But…it has proved to be a very…loyal?…project? (I guess that is the word.) Because it doesn’t take all my abuse as a hint and just go. away.
Projects can tend to have a mind of their own. (Another artist’s dilemma–when the work choses its path and it is different than what the artist envisions. Happens to me all the time. Topic for a different post.)
The thing is, the reason I haven’t finished this project is because it is kinda massive. And requires all my skill sets as a writer, photographer and artist. It’s overwhelming. And even more so since I have abandoned it for so long and have to get reacquainted, get intimate with it again. I think it might even be a little mad at me, because it isn’t revealing itself to me all that willingly. But I decided a project this loyal deserves to be finished. And I need to reclaim my integrity, as a person who keeps their word, even if it is an unspoken word to a project, and finish what I start. Even ten years later.
It is interesting when I can step back and observe what my mind is doing. I realized I was looking at one way of getting past the dilemma: By hedging the bet. As I look over all of the things to be done, I find myself thinking about not putting my full effort into it. Does this reallllllyyyy need to be a full color drawing? Can’t I just gloss over this? Does anyone even care? I think it is just a natural impulse to take the pressure off, to keep the results from being my fault, sadly enough. But imbedded in those thoughts are these realizations: that my laziness/lack of enthusiasm and effort might actually sabotage what could have been a good project. Or worse, it is successful and I will always know it was actually a half assed attempt. It will be a fraud. Neither of those things will ultimately be acceptable to me. I know this about myself.
So, the decision is made to dive in. While the voices are still telling me it is a waste of time, that all this effort will have no payoff and why do you do this to yourself? Usually the decision is made with the shrug of the shoulders and, for me, the thought of,
“What’s a better use of your time? Reality T.V.?”