QUITTING VS. STOPPING

“Virtually all artists encounter such moments. Fear that your next work will fail is a normal, recurring and generally healthy part of the artmaking cycle. It happens all the time: you focus on some new idea in your work, you try it out, run with it for awhile, reach a point of diminishing returns, and eventually decide it’s not worth pursuing further. Writers even have a phrase for it — ‘the pen has run dry — but all media have their equivalents.

In the normal artistic cycle this just tells you that you’ve come full circle, back to that point where you need to begin cultivating the next new idea. But in artistic death it marks the last thing that happens: you play out an idea, it stops working, you put the brush down… and thirty years later you confide to someone over coffee that, well, yes, you had wanted to paint when you were much younger.

Quitting is fundamentally different from stopping. The latter happens all the time.

Quitting happens once.

Quitting means not starting again—and art is all about starting again.”

— David Bayles and Ted Orland from Art & Fear

You are an artist_1

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Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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