Friday, August 7, 2009

quit your complaining. it's not the world's fault that you wanted to be an artist.

My friend complaind about how difficult it is these days to be an independent filmmaker, how hard it is to find government arts grants, how the audiences have all been ruined by Hollywood and how the world has lost its taste... etc, etc. (German filmmaker) Herzog wrote back a personal letter to my friend that essentially ran along these lines:

"Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work."

I repeat those words back to myself whenever I start to feel resentful, entitled, competitive or unappreciated with regard to my writing: "It's not the world's fault that you want to be an artist... now get back to work."

Always, at the end of the day, the important thing is only and always that: Get back to work. This is a path for the courageous and the faithful. You must find another reason to work, other than the desire for success or recognition. It must come from another place. ...

... In the end, I love this work. I have always loved this work. My suggestion is that you start with the love and then work very hard and try to let go of the results. Cast out your will, and then cut the line. Please try, also, not to go totally freaking insane in the process. Insanity is a very tempting path for artists, but we don’t need any more of that in the world at the moment, so please resist your call to insanity. We need more creation, not more destruction. We need our artists more than ever, and we need them to be stable, steadfast, honorable and brave – they are our soldiers, our hope.
From Elizabeth Gilbert, Some Thoughts on Writing.



I say, we need words like this once in a while to remind ourselves -
If nobody likes your work, it's not their fault.

Get back to work.
Work smart, if not harder.

10 comments:

Steven Teo said...

i can't agree more!!! jiayou kewei!

Anonymous said...

inspiring words.

a_ndy said...

Art is always subjective. I can't figure out what Picasso is drawing but that doesn't make him anything less than one of the greatest artist of the 20th Century. Important thing is to do your best.

PS: I posted the chinese version of Plastic Mannequin Love that i wrote under its comments.

Vincent said...

i like this post.

Pot Lin said...

Hey, just happened to come across your blog from a link in a forum where somebody quoted the quoted part of your blog entry. And it is such a reminder, to many of us that have forgotten the passion for a hobby or work and instead, started to rely on others' compliments and attention as motivation to go on.

I'll definitely give my broken dream a second thought.

smintz said...

well said =P

ABBY said...

stumble upon ur youtube acct & caught a min of ur great voice :)

jiayou babe! :)

carrie said...

Wow, great post! Can I steal it? and put it in my blog? So that i will always rem this...

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Mewer said...

I'm glad you're grounded like that...^_^ So what I hear in your singing DOES come from inside, I like that very much.

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