I have an interesting historical fact for you. Did you know that two of the most well know artists of all time hated each other? I’m talking about Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. This may not come as a shock to you as artists often feud with one another. Think Tupac and Biggie or Taylor Swift and Kanye West. But what may surprise you is the origin of their feud.
Michelangelo had no respect for Da Vinci. He thought he was all hype. By the time they met, Da Vinci was famous for his work on the Mona Lisa, but Michaelangelo was still young and trying to make a name for himself. Da Vinci was well known for his novel ideas and his sparkling conversation, but he was also notorious for starting a project and never finishing it.
Michelangelo, on the other hand, did work. To give you an idea of a typical day for Michelangelo, I’ll quote from a very interesting blog called The Best Artists:
“Michelangelo was someone who, besides coming up with brilliant designs, solved gigantic practical problems to realize them. He had to go and get his marble in the cold mountains. He had to find it, cut it out and put it on a cart, then on a barge, and bring it to his workshop a hundred miles away. Sometimes he had to build the very road through the mountains to transport it.”
My point is not to take sides in this feud.
O.K. it is.
I take Michelangelo’s side. Why? Because he illustrates what it takes to create true art. Work. Plain and simple. Art is not fame, it’s not fortune. It’s a dedication to your craft. Art is a consistent daily effort. This is what the Professional artist knows.
If you’re reading this blog then I assume you’re someone who wants to write. But we don’t always devote the time and energy to our passions as we’d like to, do we? It’s not our fault, life just gets in the way. However, we can’t let our creative passion fall by the wayside. To do that is to neglect a very important part of ourselves.
That’s why, today, I want to challenge all of my readers to become Professional writers. How do we do this? You might ask. Shouldn’t we be paid before we call ourselves Professionals? Of course not. To be Professional does not mean to be validated by a publisher or a flock of adoring fans.
Professionalism is a mindset.
Being a Pro means you treat your craft with respect. You treat writing like a job, not a hobby.
Steven Pressfield writes on professionalism in his book The War of Art. He says of the professional, “by performing the mundane physical act of sitting down and starting to work, he set in motion a mysterious but infallible sequence of events that would produce inspiration… He knew if he built it, she would come.”
Pro writers don’t worry if they’re “good enough.” The only way to get better at your craft is through practice. They don’t worry about “finding time” to write. They make the time. Most of all, the Professional writer doesn’t sit around waiting for inspiration, because she knows the act of writing is the only thing that will attract inspiration into her life.
Now, you probably want to know what we need to do to become professionals. Or…
How do I write like a professional?
Well, I’m glad you asked because that brings us to…
For the next thirty days, I want you to write. Everyday. No excuses.
Be a Professional writer.
How much time do you need to write each day? That’s up to you. We each face different challenges, but I would try and carve out a minimum of thirty minutes a day.
We’ll call it the 30 for 30 challenge.
Thirty minutes a day for thirty days, and I’m going to do it with you. Now, I know what you’re saying, “I don’t have anything good to write.” But, don’t worry about writer’s block. Just write what comes to your mind. It might be horrible, but eventually, inspiration will find you.
Michelangelo often had to build new roads to transfer stone from the quarry to his workshop. The lesson: Art is work. It’s about overcoming challenges and dedicating time and energy to your craft. It’s about doing whatever it takes to put pen to paper.
Art is about sacrifice.
But eventually, it pays off. So take the challenge. It will be worth it. Trust me.
I’ll talk to you in thirty days. In the meantime, start writing!