You have no idea what you're missing.

Prolific output leads to profound work.

Let me repeat that:

Prolific output leads to profound work.

Isaac Asimov wrote 500 books (and an estimated 90,000 letters).

Emily Dickinson penned 1,800 poems.

David Bowie recorded 400 songs.

Pablo Picasso created 50,000 works of art.

Andy Warhol: 9,000.

Katsushika Hokusai: 30,000.

Georgia O'Keeffe: 2,000.

Salvador Dalí: 1,500.

Paul Cézanne: 1,000.

Henri Matisse: 1,000.

Your responsibility as an artist isn't to be perfect.

It's to be prolific.

With time, you will create something profound.

April 23, 2024

You're a beautiful machine.

Your job as an artist isn’t to be perfect. Never aspire to be perfect. Perfection is boring. It’s uninteresting. It's underwhelming. If you saw perfect, you wouldn't look twice. It would be so entirely absent of any sort of soul, flaw, character and humanity, your eyes would slide over its surface like oil atop of water. Worst yet, the pursuit for perfection stalls creative output. Your job as an artist isn't to be perfect but to be profound. Your job is to create and share at such a fantastic pace the world can’t keep up. When someone blinks, you should have new art in front of them. While someone is judging whether the new art is good or bad, you should have new art in front of them. When someone is comparing the new art to the old art, you should have new art in front of them. You aren't an artist. You're a vessel. You're a vein. You're a channel. You're a conduit. You're a beautiful machine. You create and you create until the day you die and you hope that somewhere along the way you create something profound.

April 23, 2024

Ideas breed ideas.

You should never hoard your ideas. They will only die on the vine like unpicked tomatoes. You should share your ideas. Tell the joke when you have the idea for the joke. Pen the poem when you have the idea for the poem. Paint the painting when you have the idea for the painting. Write the song when you have the idea for the song. If there is one universal truth to creativity, it's that ideas breed ideas. They aren't a scarcity, ideas. As long as you share your ideas when you have them and believe that more will blossom like fruit that has grown, ripened and then been picked only to grow again––ideas will never be a scarcity.

April 22, 2024

No ice cream today.

Tanhā is the Buddhist term for thirst, desire or longing. When we are overwhelmed with a feeling of Tanhā, we do what the Buddhists call clinging or grasping. Our minds become so engrossed with acquiring the object of our Tanhā––money, fame, status, recognition, sex, drugs, alcohol, etc––that we lose any and all presence in our lives. We think that clinging and grasping will allow us to obtain that which we desire––and occasionally it does––but it often leads to feelings of agitation, annoyance, frustration and deep dissatisfaction.

To prevent Tanhā from ruling our lives, we first have to acknowledge the moments when we are clinging and grasping. Think about the child who throws a tantrum when they want ice cream. As soon as they get ice cream, the tantrum stops. But, only momentarily. When the child's desire for ice cream returns, they will throw another tantrum. The parent's job is to teach the child to be content despite not having that which they desire. This means allowing the child to throw a tantrum without the pacifier of ice cream.

We are all children in adult bodies who have to become better parents to ourselves. We should never reprimand ourselves for experiencing Tanhā because this will cause us to develop feelings of shame around desire (a far uglier beast to wrestle). Instead, we should sit still when we are clinging and grasping. We should see that we are clinging and grasping. We should show ourselves empathy while we're doing this clinging and grasping. But, we should have the discipline to remind ourselves that sometimes we don't get the things we cling and grasp for and that's entirely okay.

April 19, 2024

The art of letting go.

When you're creating something new, there's this gorgeous period where you get to keep your creation all to yourself. As the days pass and your creation grows wings, you have to share it with the world.

I tend to experience crippling levels of fear when it comes time to take this step because I lose control over my creation and the outside perception of my creation.

I don't have any kids. But, I'd liken the act of letting go of your art to dropping your child off for their first day of Kindergarten. As soon as they let go of your hand, you lose control. You can't protect them from drinking sour milk or being the brunt of some cruel joke or taking a tumble off the monkey bars.

While this phase of the creative process hurts like hell, you must recognize that in order for your art to become a part of the culture––and perhaps even change the culture in some small way––you have to let go.

April 18, 2024