Tonight, while struggling to figure out the introductory sentence to a chapter, I piddled around on YouTube and somehow ended up watching videos of Baryshnikov. First, let it be said, the man is still incredibly handsome!

But after watching his dance videos, I drifted on to some interviews with him. And during a clip about Pushkin, something struck home to me. I'll share the actual video link at the end.

Micha reminds me a great deal of my Russian riding instructor, and in this interview, some of the principles he spoke of reminded me even more. As I was listening it struck me -- what makes a writer a good writer is the same thing that makes any other artist a good artist.

Yes, writing is about words and the craftsmanship thereof. But as anyone can learn rudimentary ballet, so can anyone learn rudimentary wordsmithing. Anyone who wants to write can.

However, just as in any other art, what pushes someone beyond 'nice storyteller' into 'an artist' is far more than just sitting down and putting words together. It is the study and mastery of an artform.

It is recognizing where you want to be as an author, setting the goal, and training to achieve it.

Each day an artist gets out of bed, he commits to his work. Whether it is taking a few hours after a day-job, or whether he goes to a school to study, or whether he works for himself already in his field, he commits to his purpose and goal. He develops a schedule. He trains for the next big event.

Days come where the job seems intolerable. Where idle hours pass and it would be 'so much easier' to do nothing at all. But the artist stays the course even when he is ill, when his muscles are sore, and when his body doesn't cooperate.

In watching this video, initially I was reminded of all the things I learned while learning to ride. The first lesson my Russian trainer instilled in me was, "If you want to succeed, you park your butt on the horse every day." When I was much younger my goal was the Olympics. I pushed for that hard for several years. I knew what I needed to do. In the end... I didn't get it done. Not because I didn't possess the talent. Not because I couldn't get my hands on the right horse. Not because I didn't have time.

All those were and are excuses. There were and are ways around every one of those reasons I used to not park my butt on the horse daily. I didn't commit myself to the training.

As a writer, perhaps as a simple result of maturity, I understand that commitment and perseverence is the key to succeeding in any field. What it boils down to is how much you want it. How hard are you willing to work?

If you are willing to make the commitment and train, you will succeed. Each page you type, each article you read, each book you study teaches you. Each rejection letter you receive helps you grow.

Don't let the excuses get in the way. Take a few minutes to watch Baryshkinov on Pushkin...

Then park your butt in the chair and write.



1 Response so far.

  1. Wow, Great post, Claire!
    So true. Thanks for sharing. cheers~

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