Stop Waiting and Make Art

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Do you want to know the secret to making art? There is no secret. You just make it. Seriously, that’s all you have to do. One word, one brush stroke, one stitch at a time. Talking about writing doesn’t get the words down — even though it might motivate you! Claiming that the muse needs to strike may not get the words down either, but it can help you visualize that proverbial angel sitting on your shoulder. I don’t have a muse, because if I waited to be “in the mood” to write, then I’d never get anything done. I’d keep waiting and waiting and…

Waiting. Unfortunately, I see this a lot. An artist makes that “one thing”, and pins all their hopes and dreams on it. Or, they never get started in the first place because they’re intimidated. It’s easier to daydream about making art, than it is to have the discipline to make it. We’re not doctors or lawyers or police officers, mind you, so the life of an artist isn’t as challenging as someone who is put in life-or-death situations, but we do have our own trials to go through since our creativity doesn’t flow on command.

The truth about making art, is that you’ll get better and have more opportunities as long as you keep making it. If you get a rejection, write another story. If a door is slammed in your face, pitch to another venue. If you’re frustrated, try flipping to another project. Why wait for a perfect moment that doesn’t exist? You will not have a manuscript if you avoid your computer for a couple of weeks; you’ll have no words and a lot of guilt. 1,000 crappy words is better than nothing!

If you’re learning and scared to keep at it, keep in mind one of the key principles pounded into my brain when I was studying piano: you have to practice if you want to get better, and practicing is a normal part of the learning process we all go through. The only way to see growth, is to keep making art — even if it means writing draft after draft after terrible draft. The only way to sell art, is to have something to sell that other people might want to buy.

There is nothing more important to an artist than to be persistent and to keep making art. That is the only surety in this business; you have to keep at it — no matter what. Believe me, I know how frustrating it can be. I also know you can do it. So, what are you waiting for? Stop waiting and make art!

    Mood: Pretty zen, actually.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: That last double espresso did me in.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Lots of walking
    In My Ears: The soothing sounds of the washing machine
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age: Inquisition
    Book Last Read: Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: RED 2
    Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge and Rules
    Latest Releases: In Volo’s Wake for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Read my end-of-the-year list of releases for an overview of what I’ve put out for 2016.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming this month!

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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