July 25th, 2019
The worst book on a shelf is, believe it or not, still better than your best idea.
This is true because the finished book has the virtue of being complete and existing in a sharable form.
“That does not mean a terrible book is better than this amazing movie idea I’ve had in my head for ten years!”
Yes. It does mean that.
Our culture is constantly telling its artists that they could do better. You watch a film and the ending you had in mind was so superior. The character that you would have created had smarter lines, had a deeper emotional hook and actually looked like you a little more. The plot twist you thought up halfway through? It would have BLOWN YOUR MIND.
Except guess what? None of that exists. Because you didn’t create it. And even, at this point, if you did, you would have created it on the legwork and structure that other artists put there before you — for you to consume and digest and discuss and deconstruct and judge and rewrite. But not create.
People ask me how I do it all the time. I do it by doing it. It sounds basic, but that’s how I do everything I’ve ever done. I do it because I absolutely have to. I put my heart and soul and guts and words into things for people to hear and read and see because I am like every other person on the planet: I want to be heard and read into and seen.
You could do it. I encourage everyone I know to create art. A lot — a LOT — of my family and friends talk about creating art. “I should do this.” “I have an idea for this.” “This would be really cool.” “Someday.” “Well, someday.” “I don’t have time right now. But maybe someday.”
I got really bad anxiety from making The Weirdos. Not because it was hurting me to create. No, it was the opposite. I was saying so many things that I wanted to say and I was nervous that something would happen to me before I got everything down on a page. It’s done now, so the stress has simmered, but that’s when you know you’re creating art. When you have something to say and you’re so scared that nobody will hear it. So you make it as loudly as you can.
So do it. Make that bad book. Sing that sad song.
Create. And put yourself out there in the realest, truest way.