Sunday, February 3, 2019

Being a Wizard

I often say it's "the process" that really matters in any art. Drawing, writing, comics, RPG design, music, whatever. The end result is just a token or snapshot of what you went through on a journey. To put it in motivational poster cant: it's the journey, not the destination.

But to say "the process" is what matters isn't exactly right either. The process is whatever steps you take in order to put one foot in front of the other to DO art. And that is very important, no doubt. But it's not exactly what I mean when I talk about DOING art.

It's the doing that matters most. My good friend Jayne and I have this mantra we've screamed at one another for decades: FINISH IT. And it's a motivating mantra. But of course while the goal might be to finish something, that's not the real goal. The real goal is to be doing something. Because, at least for me, an artist who isn't doing is going to feel dead inside.

The process, on the other hand, is whatever craft you devise to keep the doing alive. So process does include brushes and paints and pen tablets and software and how you use those tools. But also, what rituals do you perform to get into the creative zone? Coffee in a particular cup? Sitting a certain way, listening to certain types of things? Clearing the room of distractions? These are all part of your process, which should lead to doing art.

I have struggled my whole life with getting to the doing part. I can think and prep and worry all day long and never actually do anything. I cannot express accurately how much time I've spent thinking about doing instead of actually doing. In fact, easily the overwhelming majority of all the thousands of hours I've spent in my 48 years in "creative mode" have been hours spent thinking about, preparing for, and worrying about the thing I want to do instead of actually doing the thing.

I get sick to death thinking about doing. I long to be doing. I long to be elbows deep in working on a thing, to see the thing taking shape before my eyes. I feel powerful in that space. I feel like my existence really matters. I feel like I'm part of the whole god damn universe and not just a nameless speck that will be forgotten. I feel like a wizard.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing this. The bit about wishing I was doing
    and preparing to do instead of doing is pretty much the story of my life. Best wishes.