Writing ideas from Will Gompertz’s Think Like an Artist

 

In a book about art, stressing leading a productive and creative life, I uncovered a few ideas which extend to any creative activity, so it seems apposite to share them with you.

  1. Failure is subjective, marginal and mercurial.Failure is subjective, marginal and mercurial.

Sometimes, we will ourself to fail because then we can then prove our ‘worthless’ self right. Sometimes we are in a failing mood. The difference between success and failure can be minuscule, and very personal. Others may see success where you see failure.

2.  If you make/create you cannot avoid failure.

Not everything we create is going to be our best. Sometimes, good is good enough. Move on to the next thing rather than labouring something to death.

3.  Failure is often a feeling and does not mean giving up.

How are things invented? First time of trying? No. It takes a period of trying and failing, over and over again. Persistence pays off.

4. If you don’t succeed, don’t try it the same way to fail again.

If something doesn’t work, then it needs a change of variable. If your book isn’t working, then you may need to write first person instead of third, to change a character, or a scene, to improve the inciting incident, to add more dialogue. On it goes. The difficulty is in identifying where the problem lies.

5. Success is often down to a plan B.

Or C, D, E, F, G, H, etc.

6. No one is born an artist. Or a writer.

It requires hard work, graft, a modicum of talent, editing, proofing, and a fresh idea.

7. Curiosity triggers the motivation of the mind.

Write about something you are curious about. My current book (in production) is about Pamela Colman Smith who fascinates me. There are other people and ideas who do the same. Try not to write about things you feel indifference towards.

8. Ideas born out of ignorance are weak and often useless.

It is best not to write about something you know little about, whether it be exploitation, crime, autism or working in a slaughterhouse. If you do not have direct experience, then ensure you do plenty of research. Find out all you can. Keep asking questions!

9. Collaboration can lead to new ideas/discoveries.

If in doubt, work with others, seek out advice; join a writing group.

10. Confidence is crucial.

Over-confidence is something else but be confident in your ability and feel empowered by constructive criticism, not defensive.

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