I like stories that depict artists in-process. Watching the story of a creation coming into being, reminds me 1. Creating is hard, 2. It takes time, and 3. I'm not alone in the struggle.
There are days when I need the reality check that the creative process is hard. That I should face my lazy days, sloppy days, or discouraged days and keep going, after all, no one promised it would be easy.
There are numerous things I can do that are far more practical than creating. Activities and life experiences that are simpler, clearer, and safer. And creating doesn't always result in a beautiful performance. It's often vulnerable and risky. I find that I need to enter into the process with more than the hopes of a good ending - something deeper has to push me forward. I'm learning that grit and hunger to answer questions - to wrestle with life must fill me as I create.
At the end of grad school I sat in my thesis advisor's office. We discussed what I was going to do next. The conclusion - I had no idea. But two things stick out from that conversation. Russ's words, "just do it." His gentle and wise words, encouraging me to create my own work even without a large budget or experience. And my response to him, that the one thing I knew I left grad school with, and what I had entered into it with, was my stubbornness.
I don't think creating is about the "the top five things you should do". I don't think there are easy answers. Yet, when I see other artists' stories - their honest struggles, the long hours, the hunger to grow, the love of their work - I am reminded that art requires perseverance, hunger, and grit.
And maybe that's what we need to tell each other more often - that it's not easy following a creative path - and it takes a lot of grit and stubbornness. But in the midst we aren't alone. We share a long history with those who went before, are creating now, and will in the future. We share and can pass along a history of perseverance.