As artists, we have the uncanny ability to make a new piece of art from just about anything. We could be seeing a weird man on the street, taking rubbish and Voila! We have a new character to act out. We may see two men standing five steps from the dumpster eating an ice cream who nonchalantly throw the wrappers on the road. That’s a new painting. We listen to a song and there it is! A new character to write a story about. As artists, we tend to get inspired by just about anything we perceive, provided we give it time.
But most of the times, we start and then we throw. We don’t finish. For one of many myriad reasons, such as losing inspiration, or finding it to be too repetitive or clichéd or just seeing it’s too similar to our previous works. And then, we either leave it half complete, or just throw it away, whither one suits the art form.
I’ve done it myself. Ever since I’ve started writing, every time I’ve become disenchanted with a story or the story becomes too boring to write or too demanding or I lose inspiration, it becomes a habit to leave the piece and move onto the next one; rather than scratching out what doesn’t feel good and moving on. For every story I’ve written, I have maybe one or two stories I haven’t completed.
It’s important to see our things through to the end. Not just for the betterment of our art, but for the betterment of ourselves as well.
Whenever we start a piece, we give an unspoken word. So by not finishing the piece, we break our word. And a man is only as good as his word, as many great men in movies and TV shows say.
This carries into our lives as well. There are so many times we tell somebody, “Yeah I’ll do this”, but when the time comes, we laze about and blow it off.
That’s not because we don’t complete our pieces. It is one of the side effects along with not completing our pieces. It is a side effect of our habit to leave things hanging, to not do them or leave them in between, as it suits us.
Most of the times, we don’t even know such a thing is going on with us. We think we’ll do better on the next piece (we often do). We think the person would understand our predicament and wouldn’t mind (even though we completely failed to understand that person and also our own limits).
While I have stated this in terms of artists at the start, such things happen with everybody. Be it a software engineer, who can laze about and complete their code later, a marketing salesman who can make a presentation later and so on and so forth. The advantage artists have, at times, is we do our art usually because we love it. A software engineer loves his coding, no doubt, but when your art is also a hobby, you tend to work with more passion and freedom because there is no pressure of your monthly income depending on it. So artists have the opportunity to improve one of their habits, of not keeping to our word by completing our pieces. No matter how boring they get, or how bored we have gotten, or how we may have gotten de-inspired and don’t find the strength to finish the piece.
Such a change won’t happen in one day, nor a week. It’s a habit we’re trying to change here, one that possibly has been there for a long time now. But if we work hard, our habit will change.
So the next time you think of leaving a piece, and do it, that’s a positive step. And if anybody who reads this and thinks of this article once before finishing the piece when they wanted to give it up, that’ll be a little victory and the goal of this piece will have been reached!
It feels so important to share little things like these; because when I’ve never had people to tell me such things which I deem important. So I’ve started finding these out on my own. And I have an impulse to share them with everybody, so that maybe somebody can benefit from such musings or find the answer to some problem of theirs!