A few months ago, I went to a photography exhibition in London. The pictures were all winning entries in a big high profile competition. I knew a few of the people there, so went along to join them on the opening night.
As I stood among the runners-up and a few who didn’t make the shortlist, there were mutterings about a woman who had scooped more than one award. There was sighing, pantomime eye-rolling and cries of ‘Not again!’ Apparently, this woman keeps winning prizes for her pictures and her less successful contemporaries don’t like it. Not one bit.
I interviewed said woman this morning and came off the phone feeling wonderfully inspired. Her pictures, mainly of the sea, are INCREDIBLE.
I asked her how she did it. She replied that if she counted up all the hours she spent taking photographs and calculated how much she had earned from those pictures, the figure would be well below the minimum wage. She takes home less than your average paper boy, yet her passion for photography remains undimmed.
To get ‘winning’ shots of the sea, she does a 150 mile round trip to the coast, three times a week and will often stand on the shore or quayside, for six hours at a time – on days when the rest of us have heeded weather warnings and are safely indoors eating biscuits and wondering why our waistbands are so tight.
This woman deserves every accolade that has come her way. She has worked for it. And even if she never won anything, she wouldn’t care. She loves taking photos so much, she would do it for free. Just for herself, for the sheer joy of it.
Now THAT is art. And that is a lesson for me. This is how I must treat my novel. It shouldn’t be a chore, but it feels like one at the moment. I need to fall in love with my characters. That way, writing about them will become an obsession. I have experienced this before. It is no good for my friends, marriage or children, but it is the only way I can turn out anything half way decent.
Art cannot be rushed. It takes time, dedication, passion and perseverance. It is not for the faint-hearted. I can either be flakey about it, or throw myself into this wholeheartedly. I choose the latter obvs, because I am a badass.
Significantly, my online writing course begins today. Task 1 was to tell the others a bit about ourselves, which as you can imagine, was a doddle for me. I await task 2 with interest.
I commit to writing the best novel I can and will keep going, even when it feels like wading through treacle in over-sized Wellington boots. I am an artist. I am a badass artist. And incidentally, I am also a cash magnet!
PS. This morning I had coffee with a really interesting lady who recommended a money frog for fortune the feng shui way. I will post pictures when it arrives – it has to be worth a try, surely?