Five timeless reminders about art and creating
I'm a writer and illustrator so this post really spoke to me - I am so guilty of hanging out too long in the depth of despair when it comes to my writing and art. I decided a little while ago I need to grab onto a more fake it til u make it mentality. Which I guess is similar to the naivete of the DK effect. I think a lot pf us artists, new and seasoned aliike, could do with a bit of a confidence boost! Thanks for another great post!
Oh, ha ha ha, I was reading this and thinking to myself, "Erin is so darn smart and she always somehow manages to hit on whatever it is I'm thinking about" and then you recommended my newsletter. Because you're smart?!?
So, SO agree about newbies being naive (and often cocky! I know I was). The Dunning-Kruger thing is real. I use Upwork as part of my freelance book editing and writing gig-acquisition and wow do new writers not understand the basics of how writing and editing work. And they often want freelancers to work for almost slave-wages. I remember when I was in my twenties, thinking I knew it all, submitting rough drafts to agents (*squirm*) and not grasping the important differences between the types of editing and when to get A or B or C type and how that works and why. Like you said: You don’t know what you don’t know. But what I learned is to trust experts. Since we’re in a time when ‘everyone is a writer,’ this means that many newbies feel entitled to tell editors ‘how things are going to go.’ You’re headed for disappointment if this is your perspective. Learn from my past mistakes (and most other writers) and cultivate some humility. Be open to change and criticism. Be willing to spend some money. Book writing isn’t realistically about making money--you most likely won’t. It’s a labor of artistic love. You do it because it’s in your soul.
‘Sincere American Writing’
As a former educator (and I suppose an always-educator-at-heart), I love this reflection and needed the reminder today. Thanks, friend! Also, look into Lisa Krannichfeld. She does these gorgeous mixed media pieces that include watercolor. They're fabulous. I have two of her prints hanging in my office.
I think about this kind of thing a lot when it comes to my yarn hobbies. My tendency is to get as good as I need to get to do the things I want. But I'm not trying to make a job out of it.
Even so, there's still a lot to learn, because like you, I like to be good at things. But when folks as me "what are you going to knit with that yarn you're spinning?" I usually just shrug. I don't know. It's a pet for now. I just like making it.
Thank you for this reflection, Erin. And I can’t wait for your querying series!
This is such a great piece and reminder. And what is hard is that writing has been my hobby for years, but the more I want to do something real (i.e. make money) with it, the less it feels like a hobby and the more it feels like I'm putting in the hustle. Maybe I need to get back to photography to remind myself what it means to have a hobby.
Oh, and these are also some good lessons for me to take away as an English teacher.
"When we are beginners—naive beginners—we tap into something pure and unburdened. We don’t get in our own way, because we don’t even possess enough skills for an inner critic to exist.
These days, I spend most of my writing sessions wishing I could tap into the confidence I had as an aspiring writer, long before I started pursuing publication. “Pre-Debut Erin,” I call her. She wrote from the heart. She wrote with joy. Her books weren’t the best on a craft level, but gosh did she believe in her writing.
In a way, the DK effect is a double edged sword. I think it is important and necessary for an artist to slog through the low valley and slowly climb the ascent on the other side toward "Expert.” But that slog… It takes a toll.
It is so easy to lose the passion of your “greener” self."
Beautifully put, Erin. Your story has been very touching for me today, I've read it multiple times.