Ann Patchett's This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage was recommended by someone, somewhere. A favourite author, on the radio, maybe. I'm not that far in to it, but I've already underlined half the book. Ann writes about the art and craft of writing with such clear eyes, it's both reassuring and slightly frightening.
It's been a timely read; I've been thinking a lot about writing lately. Last year was kind of the year of the image for me, and it feels like 2015 might just be the year of the word.
Art stands on the shoulders of craft. I like this sentiment a lot. It's something I believe to be true for many things, possibly for everything. Sometimes it feels like we live in a world where we are encouraged to jump straight in - to go for the creativity bit without first learning the skill bit (I know I do this all of the time).
We see others creating fabulous things and we want to have a go and, sometimes, we want instant results. But we forget the long years of hard work, of sleepless nights and study, that led to that fabulous thing.
Ann writes "If you want to write, practice writing. Practice it for hours a day, not to come up with a story to publish, but because you long to learn how to write well, because there is something that you alone can say. Write the story, learn from it, put it away, write another story." See that? Write the story and put it away. Don't pitch it, don't publish it, don't sell it. Put it away.
In the happy social media glow of likes and comments and follows I often feel the need to share and publish and sell. And if I don't share and publish and sell I sometimes feel like I've wasted my time creating whatever it is I've created. So this is a much needed reminder that time spent building skills and knowledge is never wasted. Before art comes the craft.
The font is Harman Script. It's from a family of mix and match fonts designed by Ahmet Altun. It's pretty expensive (I bought it on special a little while ago) but each font in the family is loveable and versatile, beautifully crafted.
Is this something you struggle with too? Do you allow yourself time to simply practice your craft, whatever that may be? Do you feel pressure to share and sell, or do you just enjoy the creative process?