I watched Mary Spender talk about how long recording artists can hope to have a career. About how bands and recording artists come and go, how some have success and then fade away. What she says has a bearing on all creative endeavours. It got me thinking about writing.
I’ve been writing for a long time. It’s a hobby and something that I love. Writing has become what I do and is a part of my identity. So much so that when I don’t write, I become a person that I don’t like.
To me, the question of ‘how long can this last?’ is irrelevant.
I’ll write for as long as possible, for as long as I live.
In writing, I consider myself a success when I have the determination, patience and courage to finish a piece of work. When I publish that work, I free it and clear the mental space it inhabits by being incomplete and imprisoned. I move on to the next piece and the next.
My published works will succeed, in my eyes, if people read them and are challenged, entertained, or inspired. That’s it.
As I age, those that have inspired me, my heroes, are dying. Especially those that were twenty or thirty years older. It is sobering to realise that I’ve overtaken a few, that I’m now older than they ever were. I’m left with their works of art. It’s the only way I have to know them.
I believe that this is enough.
I’m able to love what they left behind. As I watch, listen, read and play, I discover who the artists were and be uplifted by them. Their art fills my life with beauty and genius, hope and joy.
As Julia Cameron says: they fill my well. Where else will I find the colour, mood and perfect detail I need, if not from the art I consume? From the life that I live?
So, how long can this last?
Writing until I die holds no fear, for I must live well to write well. I must live with as much grace and reverence for those that inspire me by what they left behind. My life would be impoverished without the creative endeavours of those who came before me. Who would also be impoverished without the influence and inspiration of those who came before them.
I am richer for those influences. Richer than I think I deserve.
I’ve got a lot to pay for and a lot of wealth to give away, so why would I stop?