As much as you would (not) like to admit, the following statement is true: if you are an author, you are a kind of artist. This book you’ve created, your novel, is a piece of art. Quite literally, too: it’s art in the sense that a sculpture is the art of a sculpture, a painting is the art of a painter, and a novel is the art of the writer.
As far as universal lists are concerned, some historian could find out that Jane Doe so-and-so wrote a book that contributed to the future of art. At it would be true: likely, it wouldn’t be a large impact, but you would be one more name in the great cosmological book that details the name of every artist to ever exist.
If you’re humbled, this is an appropriate response. To be put in the category called “artist” you get thrown in there with Da Vinci, Michelangelo, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George Orwell, and millions of others. The very fact that you are even somewhere in the neighborhood of the greats should cause humility.
You should also be proud that it’s true: It is a true statement to say that all artists are in the same neighborhood, and what binds every artist together, regardless of profession, is their creation of art. Just think of every other human being who isn’t an artist. Think of where you were and where you are. This is certainly no small achievement. Perhaps it isn’t very big, but it’s certainly not small.
Maybe you’ve already joined that neighborhood. Perhaps you haven’t but sincerely want to. Either way, you want to release art into the world. With that settled, I need to tell you one extremely important ramification of art. Swallow your coffee. Don’t choke on that sandwich. What I’m about to tell you is sobering but vital.
Your art is a part of you.
Some explanation: you would be angry if someone stole a Chick-Fil-A sandwich right off your plate, wouldn’t you? But why? Well, I paid for it, you might say. And why does that matter to you? Because you work the night shift from 6 PM to 6AMm, and you live a full hour away from your job. Ergo, you spent your life’s essence (time) to gain the funds with which you bought the sandwich.
This is nuts, when you think about it. We trade life essence for time (by living), time and effort for money (by working), money for life essence (by buying delicious chicken sandwiches) and then we trade the life essence for time again. before you ask, yes I am reducing all of a human being’s existence to a never-ending cycle of trading.
But what does this have to do with art? Well, you ever hear the statement “time is money”? Well, if time is money, that means that life is time and money is life. (I know this sounds weird, but bear with me) Effectively speaking, that sandwich that you bought is a manifestation of your efforts, pains, and time that you spent working for it. There is now less of you and more of tasty chicken sandwich. You have channeled part of yourself into a sandwich. Hence, the sandwich (in a very real sense) is a part of you.
The same thing applies to art. The process is the same, but you bypass the time into money factor. Instead, you trade work for art. You have traded you life’s force to make your art. Your efforts, pains, and time are encapsulated in a small, illustrated book that everyone can buy and read. This book is a part of you.
This is another inevitable fact. The book is a part of you because you spent some of your life to create it. You can’t opt out of that, unless you steal the book from someone else. However, that’s much worse, since it’s likely to get you in trouble and you’re actually stealing part of that person’s life essence. Serious crap, I know.
Writing a book tattles on the kind of person you are. I’ve said this repeated times. You aren’t what you write; you write what you are. You are telling the world all about you and your message. This is the essence of art: writers, painters, and sculptors make their mark because of who they are, because who they are determines how they write.
It’s an inescapable fact. But don’t fear this…revel in it. Take pride in the fact that you are showing the world who you are. Don’t be proud, but be brave: your thoughts and opinions are a branding on your character. Do not try to hide them. Also, observe Davy Crockett’s rule: “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”
This is art.
Now go write.
Good luck, and happy writing!
Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!