If you judge by the movies, being creative is all about freewheeling ideas and a total lack of discipline. In reality, being an artist is hard work. If you want to build your art, be prepared to deal with some boring minutiae.
Photo by Giles Turnbull.
That’s the advice of woodworking artist Mira Nakashima. As she explains on creative productivity site 99u, building your skill takes discipline. The discipline to sit still and learn or to practise something over and over and over until you’ve mastered it isn’t one that always comes naturally. It defies our preconceived ideas of what it means to be an “artist” but it’s key to building your skills.
If you are a creative person, I think there needs to be a certain amount of discipline and rote learning. In Europe and the far East, there is the master and apprentice system, where the apprentice just does what he is told. And he is fired if he doesn’t do that. You need to learn the structure of your craft from your master, and that takes a long time, and a lot of patience.
You may need to take some free time to be inspired and let ideas flow, but coming up with your ideas is only one small part of the creative process. The work of bringing them to life is often boring and repetitive. The result, however, will be something that can stand on its own.