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Getting Started

September 2nd, 2010 by admin

A major inhibition amongst “beginning” artists (that is, those who have yet to really get themselves going – they could have been at it for 20 years) is the completion of a project.  When something begins, it’s exciting.  Suddenly, all these ideas pour out and explode into your new work, and it really feels like this is going to be something tremendous.  This is fine from the get-go, but sooner or later, something starts to happen, and it becomes impossible to tie all these ideas together before new ideas start popping in and you’re inundated.  You wanted so much for your little project, but now, it’s grown out of control… what to do?

It’s very important to think about the end.  Not everyone works in this fashion, but if you’re finding that you’re unable to finish anything, the problem is that you don’t know what you’re finishing.  What is the end of your project going to be?

For example, this article I’m writing at the moment is just something productive to do during my writer’s block.  I’m not really sure where it’s going.  I have some ideas I want to hit along the way, but all in all, [vacant eye-shrug combo].  In the case of The Last One, I know the ending, I know basically what happens, but the problem is getting between all those points.  In fact, the problem there is an issue of minutia.  It’s having all these ideas and wanting to incorporate them so perfectly that it all becomes unsatisfactory.  Which helps me segue into a point I wanted to touch on… music.

For me, it’s very easy to finish a song and be done with it.  Lyrically, structurally, I’ve written dozens and dozens of songs, so many that start out wanting to touch on a certain emotion or to represent something in my life, so many, in fact, that I know that if a song starts in one way and takes a completely different direction, then I’m comfortable enough in my abilities to know that eventually I will write a song that does fulfill my initial dream for another, or at least I’ll put enough of a buffer between then and now that I won’t care anymore.  The point of this paragraph is thus: sometimes you have to let ideas die.

If you gave it life, you can give it death, knowing that at any point in time, you can give it life again.

But back to the topic on hand.  “Once begun is half done.”  It can become the case that in all your idea gathering, let’s say, for a comic strip, that you never put pen to paper.  If it seems like you’ll never finish something, just start it.  If it comes out looking like trash, trash it.  If it just comes out in a way you didn’t plan, congratulations, I’m sorry (Gin Blossoms reference anyone?).  Or you could hit the wall that The Last One hit:  details.  You keep adding more and more and you don’t know when to quit.  I’ll tell you how to scale that wall when I figure it out myself.

The end.

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