Well, I am writing a book. So here is a little sneak peak at my intro thus far.
“You come to me for advice, but you can’t cope with anything you don’t recognize. Hmmm. So, we’ll have to tell you something you already know but make it sound like news, eh?”
Well, business as usual, I suppose.”
-Oracle sitting on top of a pole in Mostly Harmless. Page, 703
Death and stuff
It was my 25th birthday when I had the sudden realization that I was going to die. Hopefully not, like anytime soon or anything, but it was impending. One day I just wasn’t going to be here anymore. I was in the shower doing some deep contemplating about life, the universe and everything when I heard a voice. A familiar little voice that seemed to burst from the depth of my brain shouting at me that I was a creator and I was supposed to be making stuff. Great, here I was in the midst of my quarter life crisis and now I’m hearing voices, but never the less, it had a point.
I had always felt like an artist, I had for my entire life. As a kid, I just knew that I was going to be an artist when I grew up but now I realize there were two reasons why this hadn’t happened yet. First, I never felt compelled to do one specific thing. No single creative medium called out to me over the others. So, you can imagine it being difficult to ask for help if you didn’t know what it was you wanted to be asking about in the first place. Which lead me to the next problem, I never had a good beginning. I had the heart of a creator, but no path to follow. I always wished for a mythical hero to appear in my life and say something like,
“Ok, right, you want to be an artist? Great! Here are your instructions. Yes, it should all be there, I thumbed through that packet myself. Well, good luck then, call if you need anything. Cheers!”
Unfortunately, that never happened. So, here I was, grown up and not an artist. Somewhere along the lines of figuring out how to adult, I forgot all about my desire to create. With more life responsibilities I took on, that little voice that wanted to create things, got pushed farther and farther back until I couldn’t hear it anymore. With all good quarter life crisis stories, my future demise starting to weigh heavy on me, so, I decided it was about time that I start listening to the voices in my head and really go for it. If death was coming for me anyways then I might as well put some good old fashion hard work and elbow grease into figuring out how to become the artist that I had forgotten I was supposed to become. It was time for a re-ginning.
I had begun the process of trying to become an artist many times in the past. Always starting strong, full of passion and gusto, then not too far along, my will would peter out and I would waver and throw in the towel. For this reason or that, beginnings just were not my thing. So, this time around I decided to not start with a beginning. Plus, I wasn’t starting from the ground floor, I had the experience of many beginnings under my belt. I had a slew of example of what to do and what not to do and that shouldn’t just go to waste. It was time to start again, but with an experience beginning, a remix of sorts, a re-ginning.
By the time my resolve hit me, I was fully immersed in adulthood with a truck load of responsibilities. I had bills to pay and mouths to feed. I also still had no idea what exactly I wanted to do or where to start and I didn’t have the time or cash for full time traditional school. I knew that if I was going to do this, it would have to be on my own terms. Self-guided. DIY, if you will.
Thank goodness it’s the age of information, and accessibility is at an all-time high. With the encouraging voice in my head and my new resolve, I began my messy journey of figuring out what it was I was supposed to be doing. I forced myself to get out into the world and give it the old college try. I participated in an artist challenge, I created shitty art, I experimented, I questioned everything, I failed a lot, I learned, and I grew. I got a little closer to figuring out what it truly takes to be an artist and how to start creating the work that I was meant to create. But most importantly for you, I wrote every seemingly important thing down and organized it into this book.
Why I wrote this
I am constantly amazed at how much information I forget in regular day to day life. For this reason, I decided that if my re-ginning was going to be different I should write things down. It would probably be a good idea to make notes to myself of whatever life changing information I thought important at the time. So, that’s exactly what I did. After a few years of jotting down these life lessons and ah-ha moments, I decided it would be a good idea to better organize them. I wanted to make a guide for myself, so I could fully understand what I had spent the last few years figuring out. I wanted to make a reference of my notes that would connect all the dots and make as clear and understandable of a path to artist-ing as I freaking could.
Gradually, after hours upon hours of organizing and reorganizing, my chicken scratch notes started resembling the very book I wish I had when I began my creative journey. What began as a purely selfish act, soon suggested the idea of sharing. If I was having a hard time getting started and understanding the confusing world of creatives, I probably wasn’t the only one. There must be more people out there that would love to create but they just don’t know where or how to start. If my goal was already to create an easily understandable guide for myself, it would be terribly rude not to share with others that could benefit from it. So here we are, you me and this book.
What exactly is this book and who is it for?
This handy little book is your step one, your stepping stone into the world of becoming an artist. It is for the people that are just starting out as well as my fellow re-ginners that never had the right go at it. It is for the people that know exactly what they want to do as well as the ones that haven’t got a clue. This book is for the person that needs to create, doesn’t matter the medium, they just have stuff to make. It is going to explore the inner workings of becoming an artist as well as the external ones too.
This book is going to challenge you to make a commitment, take it seriously and follow through to the bitter end. It is going to point you in the direction of where to begin discovering your truths and find the significance in the stories you have to share. This book will have you dig in deep and lean in to the discomfort of figuring out how to make the art that you really give a shit about. Work that taps into your humanity and shares the stories that only you can share.
This book will help you figure out your process and discover your get shit done side. It is also going to explore the harder parts of becoming an artist, like getting stuck and the failure and rejection that inevitability come hand in hand with creating something and putting it out in the world. For that matter, this book will go into figuring out what your personal idea of success looks like and if you even want to bother sharing your creations with other people. Finally, it will look at your options for education and how you might go about exploring them, becoming the badass creator, that if you work hard enough, you will eventually become.
Wibbily wobbly timey wimey… stuff
How in the world can one book offer such things in the mysterious and complicated realm of the creatives you might be wondering? Well, this far into humanity we have figured out somethings and have created rules and systems to help us accomplish tasks more efficiently and pass the knowledge from one generation to another, even in the arts. Hurray! This is great news because you can learn rules and systems. The difficult part begins when you need to venture off road and experiment with this information to find out what works best for you. The systems, rules and guidelines this book presents to you is merely a start in the right direction. The ideas and structure are all here but how it gets built and styled are all up to you.
What works for one person might not work as well for the next. Not everything will be a fit because everyone is different. It is your job to decided what parts works best for you in your life and what doesn’t. This is your journey; your personal way and you need to customize it how best suits you. Agree, disagree. Experiment and play to figure out how you feel on stuff. Dare to have an opinion. The purpose of this book is to help you on your path of Artist hood, and damn it, artists have opinions. Take the parts you like, change the bits you don’t and keep pressing forward.
You have heard this before
Not only are you going to have to work to make this information fruitful to you, but you have already heard most of it before. Before you go closing this book a little miffed at wasting your time reading up to this point, hear me out. Did you happen to read the quote on the first page, the bit about me telling you something you already know making it sound like news? That’s how these things work. You have heard some of this advice maybe too many times where it’s lost its meaning, or you have never had it explained in a context that was valuable to you, whatever the case, I promise not to waste your time. It is my duty to you, the reader, to make this information fresh and useful.
Well, that’s it. That is all the sneak peak you are getting. I am sure this is full of all sort of grammar errors and more but that’s besides the point. This page is for the sake of being vulnerable and sharing and saying I am here and I am doing stuff. This is only a early copy of an intro. Who knows what it will look like later. I hope you enjoyed it thus far. I just want to help out the new and confused artists that need some extra loving.
Thank you for taking the time to look and absorb. I appreciate you.