What does the motor industrialist with bitesize, tweetable quotes about leadership and customer experience have to do with our creative liefstyles? Here are a few words from the man himself and then some words from myself on how Henry Ford's life lessons can help us to think about our own work ethic and lifestyle as artists.
Let me know if you find any of them helpful.
‘Quality means doing it right when no one is looking’.
Being an artist with integrity means calling yourself an artist and then creating work which reflects who you are and what you are about. It can be so hard not to compare ourselves, then letting that lead to creating work because we know 'This' is more likely to be shared online or even, to create work that you know is not your best, because you feel pressured to get new content out there (and we all feel that pressure occasionally).
However, are you so dedicated to doing what you do and doing it well that it doesn’t matter if anyone sees it or not?
If you’re not going to at least make it good, then why are you doing it? This isn't about perfection, but making sure that it is your best work. We all have down days creatively, but check back over your recent project(s) occasionally, asking yourself 'Was this a true reflection of my vision as an artist?'. Don't worry yourself too much if it isn't. One of the beauties of creativity is that it is a constant flow and you have future opportunities to make more work, that reflects your artistic vision, again and again.
'There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.' - Ernest Hemingway
A hard and long time had passed. The trees have died with your many ideas and one sprout remains which you cling to and tend to, until - finally - it is a thought good enough to be an idea.
Not just an idea but your idea. Your thought. You've clung to it, you've developed it and now society agrees with you when you implicitly state by way of showcase that you own it.
It started with this doodle. I drew it with a thought of it's personal meaning to me whilst listening to someone give a talk. It reflects a lot of the process I go through as an artist;
I write one line of lyric or poetry and it becomes the line looking for the song it can belong to and be with. My poor poetry.
I doodle on scraps of paper as I did then and when the time comes to put these papers in the recycling bin I hesitate and think 'Oh... Maybe I can use this for something...?' And my brain works on being inspired by something that was never truly inspiring and seeks to recycle - or 'upcycle' - doodles of chairs, lines about love or two chord progressions into something usable. My poor art.
What do you do when you have hit a wall? The Smart find a way to climb around it. The Determined push through it. The Shy back away from it. The Realist accepts that they may be looking at a wall but in another direction, there is only rubble. Or is that the Optimist? Or the Hopeful?
Reality injected itself into my system in that moment. I will never use this doodle again.
I can't use everything. It has a meaning to me now which I'll forget when I look at it and I can remember the theory without the awfully drawn recording. And suddenly a greater thought appears: There is so much I will create that is not only of a standard I am uncomfortable with, but also is unsuitable for further development.
Accepting, after the process has been begun or is done, however short, that not everything can be pushed into work is hard when you have worked and worked on something. Not every line will be a line in a song. You are sorry to let it go. However some writings should simply stay as thoughts and musings. That is their identity.
It is very tempting to bleed into your work and then feel dejection as if your blood has been wasted when half of that notepad sees the recycling bin. But the glimmer and shine of this sadness is that there will be more. There will be more ideas. More thoughts, more musings. More triggers and developments into actual usable material which you then use to create work better than before. That is the Hopeful meeting the Realist. You disregard flippancy and value contribution and worth. But you own the huge freedom in learning to not be so precious over an idea that you insist upon it, when you need to accept that it is time to progress and simply to move on from it.
What happened to my doodle? It went into the recycling bin. But what happened to the three lines of lyric I wrote almost a year ago and couldn't find a fit for?... Well a month ago it found it's song. Only some things will ever be used. And now I'm going to go and bleed some more.
A professional Director and performer once advised me not to include amateur dramatics on my Actor’s CV.
I followed his advice and deleted it, although a little mournfully. I still take part in amateur dramatics. Currently I’m the Evil Witch in Sleeping Beauty and I am learning throughout the process and I am giving the best performances I can give.
Yet you can understand why it may not be appropriate to include my amateur experience on a CV for a professional job. We’ve all experienced someone not yet ready for the stage yet determined to be on it anyway, then we know why Hamlet said:
One of the scariest things about theatre is claiming that your thoughts have merit: that they are of worth and worth knowing for that brief moment. The sort of saying that what you said is of such value that after sharing it people should partake by either witnessing or even at its most horrific: engaging with it.
Such a fear I have of cultivating pride that I have developed an acute inferiority to my own creativity and the power I think that I can possess. I feel so small and insignificant which is a dangerous thought for any human being to have, because it is an infectious disease that targets your most wonderful qualities and skills, for example your creativity. Its symptoms include paralysis – either of the mind, thus stopping you from imagining in the first place, normally through fear – or paralysis of the will so that once you have created something from your inner parts you can never bring yourself to share it with anyone…Sometimes not even yourself for fear of indulgence.
I have discovered that although I will always be small physically, I am not a small person because we were each created ourselves to have a unique presence. And which we all do. That alone is captivating and I can spend all day enjoying the beauty of other people’s presences. However my being does not stop there.
Why would one consider their creations to always be relevant to their beings instead of two separate entities?
“Those who are lost in their passion are less lost than those who have lost their passion.”
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Clare Louise Roberts
Singer Songwriter, Actress, Poet and all round Creative, passionate about sharing, ideas, collaboration and seeing other people develop their skills and passions.
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