How to Make Good Art in Bad Times

Stumbling upon Neil Gaiman’s inspirational speech to “make good art” couldn’t have come at a better time for me.

(If you have 20 minutes to spare, watch the whole speech here. Worth every minute.)

I’d been feeling distracted that day.

An understatement.

My morning had been consumed by problems I had no real control over. Rather, the control had been reversed, because when I sat down to write, I couldn’t help analyzing and thinking and brainstorming the problems to death.

After all, they were actual problems, big ones, and beasts like that tend to ravage a person’s brain.

Thankfully, my wandering mind led me to Neil Gaiman’s speech. He set me straight.

Make. Good. Art.

You, me, all of us.

No matter what side of the bed you woke up on, or what your teenager shouted on her way out the door, or what crisis awaits your attention.

Make good art.

I knew I should. I just needed a reminder.

Here’s a list of how I take time for what is important to me, despite the distractions of my daily life.

  • Listen to music.
  • Meditate for three breaths before creating.
  • Savor.
  • Sit near a window, look outside, and think about what you want to create that day …
  • Then, get up and do it.
  • Turn off your phones.
  • Internet, too.
  • Put in the time, no matter what.
  • You do have the time … if you think about it.
  • This is your life.
  • Your dream.
  • For part of your day, even just a few moments, everything else can fade into the background.
  • There is only you and your art.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Work.
  • Work some more.
  • Focus.
  • Make something.
Photo by AlicePopkorn

Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.

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