There are three important rules I’ve learned over the years. I’m not talking about the Golden Rules, though those are important too. No, I’m talking about rules to strengthen my artistic side.
1. Love what you do
2. Keep at it
3. It's alright to take a break
4. Don't be afraid to break the rules
Loving to draw, write, or create is essential. I’ve met plenty of artists who do great work, but who only consider their art to be a hobby. They enjoy it, but they don’t love it.
So what’s the difference?
They each let life get in the way. They draw or paint or write occasionally and while it might be well done, the work doesn’t always reach completion. It becomes more of a dabbling than anything else.
Loving to write or draw means that you find the time, or even fight for that time to create. It means going the extra distance to make it happen. To me, love is the difference between being artistic and being an artist.
Keeping at it means practicing the skill every day, and that means improving. There’s a reason the saying “practice makes perfect” is popular. Not using a skill means not discovering new techniques or worse, forgetting previous ones. Constant use makes a difference and can turn an amateur into a professional – not always, but it does mean improving.
That said, the third rule is the most important: Don’t be afraid to take a break. Life does get in the way sometimes, and it’s OK to take a break when it does. After all, if you can take a break from a job for sickness, an injury, loss of a loved one, or just a plain ol’ holiday, then you should be able to take a break from a new story, painting, or drawing.
Of the four rules, the third one causes me the most difficulty because I feel guilty when I don’t write. There’s also the nagging feeling of letting myself down, like I’m not trying hard enough. When work starts piling up because I have a cold and can’t keep up with a rigorous writing schedule, I become demotivated. At those times, I struggle to remind myself that it’s OK to take a break when it’s needed.
The final rule is there as a reminder that not everything has to have structure. It's alright to go outside the box.
My advice to fellow artists: love what you do, keep doing it, but don’t be afraid to take a break or break the rules. Happy creating everyone!
Photo Credit: Trashhand