When Can You Call Yourself a Writer or Artist—Comfortably?

“The artist finds a greater pleasure in painting than in having completed the picture.” — Lucius Seneca.

 

by veggiegretz
by veggiegretz

Do you dream of people buying your art masterpieces or reading your bestseller or attending your sold-out performance? Or do you picture the Most Creative Teacher of the Year Award resting on your mantle?

You’ve purchased the beret and the smock or the getup of your craft. You look marvelous. Then it comes time to study the craft. You realize it encompasses so much than you thought. Maybe God hasn’t called you to the craft.

Don’t get discouraged. Your desire may need to mature a bit. It did for me.

You’ll know you’re on the right track: 

  1. When you connect to everything you do through the perspective of your craft.
by vilhelm
by vilhelm

I’m a writer. My husband looks at the price and functionality in buying a tractor for our garden. I look at its seat and visualize my grandsons riding on Grandpa’s lap. I imagine their smiles and excitement. I picture them telling their children stories about Grandpa taking them for tractor rides. I see everything through story.

An artist told me her artist’s eye never shuts down. While she reads a novel, she sees paintings.

A creative preschool teacher looks at a toilet paper roll and pictures hundreds of uses for it as a craft or a learning tool.

  1. When you care less and less about fame-filled success.
kconnors
kconnors

I want my novels to sell, yes, but am I seeking fame as a bestselling author? No. I just want to write stories that will touch others as the stories have touched me. Through my relationship with God, I believe this is where I should be.

Two artists told me how the economy has made it tough for them. For one, it’s few people signing up for her art classes. For the other, it’s few sales. In their success slumps, did they quit offering art classes or stop painting? No.

  1. When you jump on opportunities to learn something new about your craft.
Pobello
Pobello

You actually practice what you learn from conferences and workshops you attend. Your bookshelf lined with books on your craft has expanded to two shelves. And you’ve read the books.

You spend time perusing the works of your betters, soaking in how they create something marvelous. You no longer care about looking marvelous.

Tweetables

  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you view the world through your craft’s perspective.
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  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you care more about the craft than the fame.
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  • Call yourself a writer or an artist when you dig deep into learning your craft.
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What made you comfortable to call yourself a writer or artist?

3 Elements Your Creative Work Needs to Stir Hope and Renewal

“Perhaps the greatest psychological, spiritual, and medical need that all people have is the need for hope.” — Billy Graham

Girl Holding Plant

When you hear a song, view a painting, or read a story don’t you want to be moved? Don’t you want your experience to be worthwhile—to understand a new truth about life or have one confirmed? Receive an ah-ha that changes your life for the better? Isn’t that part of the entertainment you expect?

Let’s look at the three elements a creative work must have to stir hope and renewal.

3 Elements to Stir Hope and Renewal

1. The Creative Work Must Give a Hint of a Basic Need.

fisherman

In one of my mom’s paintings, a fisherman, dressed in a muted yellow rain slicker and boots, stands in a river, his fishing pole extended. The glassy water reflects a sunless sky. Gray stone buildings stand tall and sturdy on one bank. Down the river a brown bridge constructed of brick arches spans the river.

The possible needs hinted are:

  • Food source
  • Protection from the weather
  • Sturdy shelter
  • Rain for the earth
  • A way to cross the river
  • Solitude to renew one’s spirit

These needs draw me into the picture. I want to go inside the buildings and hope a fire blazes against the damp day. I hope and want to see the fisherman catch a fish to take home. I want to walk across the bridge and look down into the water.

2. The Creative Work Must Give Glimpses of Good and of Hope

In the story I’m writing, a young woman has put herself in a predicament because of her reaction to a deep hurt she’s experienced. Among all the obstacles and setbacks to overcome her mess, I show glimpses of how she can heal and become whole again, even if at some points she’s not ready yet to make the right choices.

Image courtesy of Zuzzuillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Zuzzuillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The painting of the fisherman gives a glimpse he can provide food for his family. His slicker and boots keep him dry. He may be renewing his spirit in his solitude. God has provided rain for the nourishment of his surroundings.

3. The Creative Work Must Satisfy Within the Realm of Reality

The painting didn’t show the fisherman catching a fish, but we know it’s possible, and that’s satisfying. The day is overcast, but we know the earth needs rain and the sun will shine again.

SunriseBlog

A story may have an unhappy ending. But if the choices the main character makes shows the ending is the only one likely without a miracle, the ending can be satisfying to most people. Such a story may move readers to make better decisions or raise their children to make good choices.

Personally, I prefer a story that shows us how the character overcomes obstacles and gives us ways to improve others’ and our lives. For me, the overcoming includes a growing faith and trust in God.

A creative work can renew us when it shows a need, glimpses of what is good in relation to the need, and leaves us with a measure of realistic hope and renewal.

What have you seen in a creative work that was behind the hope and renewal you experienced?