On Output vs. Practice

Your Dear Author’s personal insistence on calling his blog “The Workbench” should be enough of a clue into his psychology for the content of this post to be self evident. It is one thing to dress a certain way, to title one’s blog a certain way, or to refer to oneself in the third person. All of these may have practical value, but these are also aesthetic values, and personal aesthetics are all about how one wishes to be seen, or how one wishes to see oneself.

Granted, the Dear Author (me), believes himself genuinely committed to the understanding of the artist-as-laborer, but he also, by his choice of blog title, wishes to be seen as such.

Most often, the traits that annoy us the most in people close to us are those faults that we ourselves possess. The Dear Author is more annoyed by a messy coworker than a clean one, even though he himself is rather messy in that endearing, maddening way of artists worldwide. “What makes you think that your ideas are so special that you can just leave your s**t everywhere???”


They are not.

So the irony of this post is that ever so human irony that the author wishes he were able to live up to what he imagines himself to be. But he spends so much time, like much of the world, in a state of cursory study and half-practice, punctuated by cat videos. He blames the internet, but knows that it is not the internet’s fault.

The internet is a gateway to both immense output and tremendous consumption, but is not, in and of itself, an evil. Or a good. It has the potential for both. It is a tool, like the telephone was a revolutionary tool.

The thinking for 2015 reflects a beloved article from the Art of Manliness, one of the older, wiser, more well established blogs out there. http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/04/06/modern-maturity-create-more-consume-less/

Create more, consume less. Granted in spheres where you need to continually practice and collect inspiration, it is easy to say consumption of new information is necessary. Sorry, that’s only partially true. It’s useful up to a point. There isn’t a good rule of thumb here, as a complex work of art can take immense amounts of research and collection, tremendous hours of practice and preparation, before being worthy of public consumption. But we must always take care not to let our consumption grow so deep as to waste away having never made something.

Honestly, that’s what this blog is supposed to be about — getting down to work and doing it. So the Dear Author, amid lots of random practice, thinking, reading, etc., must get down to putting something out there, even if it is only 500 words about getting something out there.

2015 will need to be about give me all your eggs and bacon and let’s build a house or six. It’s really easy to pretend that you’re not ready, that you haven’t practiced enough, that you don’t have a good enough degree or enough awards or instagram followers, but if you don’t get out there, you’ll stay inside, and the tools will rust on the workbench.

See what I did there? See you shortly.

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