I was poking through my notes and came across the journal entry below. I’d written it one night while feeling particularly uncreative and wondering where my writing would take me next. My frustration grew by the minute, but then I thought, just write. When I read it today, it dovetailed with a book I’m reading titled: “Mindset: the New Psychology of Success”
by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. In “Mindset,” Dweck talks about two different mindsets: a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” You can probably guess which one will take you further on your chosen path—yes—growth mindset! But that’s not all, so check out the book and dive into the details on how to stretch, why you may be prone to one or the other mindset, and lots more. (I’m not paid to talk about this book, I’m just a fan.)
And, so, I decided to share this journal entry with you because I thought it might be helpful, maybe even inspirational. If you are trying to attain a different goal than mine, just replace “writing and/or art” with your chosen goal. Enjoy!
Never Give Up Means Never
Never give up.
Never giving up means never.
Like when you feel so depressed and think you’re no good, no one, nothing. Or when someone tells you your writing stinks, doesn’t offer helpful criticism, just says you stink. Or says your writing is boring. Or that your ideas aren’t good.
Never give up.
Never giving up means writing through pain. Pain in your heart. Pain in your mind. Pain in your art. The pain of research. The pain of getting words on the page. The pain of writing through sickness, on holidays, when everyone else is at the beach. The pain of writing when you’re tired. When you’re hungry. When your bills need paying. Pain is secondary to writing. Pain is not an excuse. Pain is only a feeling.
Feelings: when it comes to art, don’t count. They count in the art, and should be added in abundance into the art, but they are never an excuse not to “art.” Happiness: write through it. Teariness: write through it. Depression: wrtie through it. Boredom: write through it. Anger, fear, anxiety, loneliness, grief, embarrassment—write, write, write.
Writing needs to become a habit so that you never give up. So that you can’t live without it. So that your days begin and end by writing.
There have been many days when I moped all day, wishing I could be a great writer. Wishing that the words would come.
But those days were folly.
Writing only gets better with the doing of it. Make it your habit. Make it your business to sit down and write every day.
Never give up.
Three small words with great meaning and longevity. Never means never. Until you are dead. Until death takes the power away from your fingers.
These thoughts are morbid. Who cares? This is the way it must be. Always, words on a page.
When sunset reddens my window, I think about the words I would use to describe it. And this is good. But what’s better is grabbing a piece of paper and scribbling how it looks—maybe a watermelon, dripping towards the horizon. I don’t know. But I reached for the words. I made the effort.
Ah, effort. One of my favorite words, and yet also a much hated word. Effort. It requires effort to create anything. Artists sometimes leave that part out of their bios—HOW MUCH FREAKING EFFORT IT TOOK TO CREATE THAT THING!
How many times do you think an artist rips up a drawing? Or if they are precious about their work maybe they save it in a drawer, but the drawer should be full. Effort. All the time, effort. Trying to be a good writer. Reaching for those proverbial stars. It’s all about the REACHING!
Stretching your mind. Stretching your words. Constantly trying new ones or a new arrangement of them. How does this sound? Is this better?
It gets a bad rap. But it’s the KEY to unlocking potential.
What is it? How do we know what kind of potential we have?
Most of the time we are blind to our potential. We are blind for many reasons, but one might be perfectionism.
If you feel you are a perfectionist, you might not see your potential, and so everything you create looks misshapen.
Forget that. Forget perfect. It’s evil. It’s not half as nurturing as finishing an imperfect piece of art.
Create. Finish. Move on to the next piece.
This is how we create art. This is how we live an artistic life.
Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Until next time, friends, never give up!