Monday, 25 June 2012

ROW80 Round Three: Intentions.....

Well today I got an email from ROW80. Back in January I joined up and started trying to reach my goals.                 That lasted about a month and a half before it petered out and then I completely skipped Round Two. I don’t know whether it was because I was burnt out from writing my novel, fed up with writing in general or just pure laziness on my part. I realised though, when I received that email today that I should really get back on that. I have been writing recently but not enough as I used to. Again I’m wondering whether it’s burn out or sheer laziness. With the start of Round Three though I’m going to step up and try to reach my goals once more.

It is with this in mind that I lay out my intent here, on the internet, for all to see. My intent behind restarting my RoW80 goals is to fulfil a number of needs. The first is to write more. It’s simple, but effective. I’ve not been writing as much as I want and if I want to become a professional writer I need to get into writing every day, even if it’s just a little. The second need is to push myself. I have a lot of free time at the minute and I know that as soon as I get a job I’m going to wish I had used it more effectively. I hate the feeling of regret so by pushing myself to reach the goals of Round Three I might be able to prevent it before it’s even begun. The third is simply to give myself more direction in how I spend my time. I spend so much of my day bored, surfing the internet that it just seems a waste and these goals will help me use my time more efficiently and effectively. The fourth and final need is to push me to complete the things I want to do that aren’t that fun but necessary for my chosen career dream. Even if it’s writing a synopsis, editing existing novels, planning new ones or even working on the scripts of projects that have fallen by the wayside. I’m going to push myself to work on them all, even if I don’t really want to because they are necessary.

So that’s it. My intent is laid out clear and simple. The third Round starts at the beginning of July so in the next few days I’m going to think long and hard about the goals I’m going to set myself on the first post. They need to be clear, measurable but not overly fixed. I think I know them already actually. Now it’s a matter of just writing them down and checking them out. They won’t be all focused on writing though, I know that much.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Must We Suffer For Our Art?

This morning I found myself watching Sex and the City. It got me to thinking; do we, as artists, writers and creators need to suffer for our art to be truly great?

I ask this because, when you think about it, the greatest works of history, the greatest works of our time were all created when the artist or writer was at their lowest ebb. Take J K Rowling for instance. She was living in a council flat, newly divorced and surviving on benefits when she first wrote Harry Potter. Now she is a multi-millionaire with a happy marriage and a successful writing career. Virginia Wolfe struggled with depression for much of her adult life, eventually taking her own life but during her weakest moments she wrote some wonderful novels and even established a printing press to get them out to the public. Vincent Van Gogh was a great painter, ranging from realism to surrealism and everything in between but his personal life was a shambles with several failed relationships and one break up so devastating he went so far as to cut off his ear. J R R Tolkien took his experiences in the trenches of World War 1, the horror, the atrocities and the camaraderie and turned it into what is possibly one of the greatest works of the 20th Century, the Lord of the Rings.

So, the question is, do modern writers and artists truly need to suffer great emotional upheaval to create great works? Or is that now a thing of the past? Is it the emotional trauma that pushes us to reach our true potential? When I’m writing or drawing I can feel that there is more there, something more than what I can do. And yet it won’t come out. It’s as though there’s a door blocking the way and I don’t have the key. I can’t help but wonder if maybe the key is emotional suffering, that I need something to shake me to my core in order for me to break through this door and create that which I’m truly capable of. Or it may simply be wishful thinking on my part, who knows.

What do you think?