Marilag Lubag's Blog

Cursed Tasks

February 19, 2016
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There were things that is necessary for us to do even if we hate doing them if we really want to be successful in our crafts. One of those things is organizing.

Just because you love everything about the craft doesn’t mean that you’re going to like everything about it. If you want to be a professional, there are some aspects of your craft that you wouldn’t like. Whether it’s organizing or doing interviews, there would be things that you don’t like to do but are necessary in order to get things the way they are.

Sometimes, people think that if they abandon their current jobs and try to make a living off something they really like that it’s going to be smooth sailing. That is not the case. People still have to promote their products, organize their things, balance their budgets, etc. Not everybody would love to do those things. Nevertheless, they’re necessary for people that are turning pro.

There are things that are necessary evil in people’s lives. You can’t help it but they’re necessary if people would like to make money through art—at least in the beginning. You have to conquer your fear if you wish to become successful in your craft. For example, if you hate talking to other people, you have to learn how to talk to other people politely as a way to advertise.

In my case, it’s trying to organize my things. A few weeks ago, I was writing the pattern for a beanie I made. I couldn’t remember the yarn and the color I used. Thankfully, the yarn’s website has all the color for the yarn. I was able to recreate the pattern. That afternoon, I spent my time cataloging my yarn collection.

There are things that we need to do that we don’t necessarily like if we were to become professional. Even after we receive the level of success, there would be days when we would rather have a root canal than do a certain task. While we like one aspect of our work, we won’t necessarily like everything we’re doing on our perspective occupations.


Practice

February 8, 2016
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Every single artist has a desire to be successful. Still, he or she needs to know about the learning curve.  People like Stephenie Meyer are more of the exception rather than the rule. More often, our path would be like that of Rick Riordan—teacher by day, author by night until we hit the bestseller list and write full time.

Just because you publish your first book, it doesn’t mean that it would be good enough that people would buy it. It would be hard work to learn the necessary skills and it could take years. Are you willing to put in the hours in order to succeed? To be adept at something, you need to practice.

If you want to be a successful artist, you need to learn two things: your craft and how to sell your products. While it was a noble thing to do to only improve your craft, not showing it to anyone wouldn’t help selling your work. After all, Van Gogh painted 900 paintings in his lifetime but only sold one.

Now, if you want to be actually successful while you’re still alive, you have to learn your craft and you have to learn how to sell. In order to do that, you have to give yourself permission to be bad at both. If you’re bad at something but keep on practicing, you would improve. If you don’t practice but dream of becoming a successful artist, this dream would remain what it is: a dream.

The time when someone isn’t famous is especially essential. This would be the perfect time to hone your skills. Whether it was with painting or with writing or with designing or with singing, a person who isn’t famous could make a ton of mistakes and nobody would care. But, if someone like Beyoncé or Kelly Clarkson hit the wrong note, everybody would judge them even though they did well the entire time.

The only way to get better is to practice. Every artist needs to put in the time in order to get better. Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice rule was popularized in his book, Outliers. The point was that it took the Beatles 10,000 hours of practice to become the world class band that they were. Whether or not the 10,000 hour rule is true remains to be proven but the idea still remains—we need to practice in order to get better.

Every artist must practice his or her craft. Though each one of us had a particular eye for what looks beautiful and what sounds wonderful and what doesn’t, practice helps us hone our skills so that when inspiration hits, we would know what to do with the materials we had been given.

 

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Quality vs Quantity

February 3, 2016
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As artists, we all have to pay our dues. That being said, there was an age-old debate. What is better? Quality or quantity?

To me, quantity is better than quality. The more things you create, the more you get to practice your craft. The more you practice, the better you get. Quantity is better than quality because quantity leads to quality.

For example, if you want to become a novelist, you should write your story even if it is a total trash. Your first goal should be to finish your novel at the shortest time possible. Once you’re done with your story, you set it aside and start a new one. When you’re finally done with your second story, you go back to your first one and you edit it.

I’m good at crochet not because I was born with the talent but because I worked nonstop on my craft from the time I was nine. Everyday after school, I would get my hook and my thread, trying to get things right, making sure that everything is tight, not realizing that it’s better to do loose stitches than tight.

It took me years until I was finally able to do things well. By the time I was in junior high, I was able to show my classmates what the teacher was talking about in terms of crochet. Because of my years of practice, I learned what works and what doesn’t in terms of crochet.

If you want to be a good artist, you should create things as much as you want without worrying about the quality. Learn what works and what doesn’t, filing everything in your ever growing knowledge of your craft. Read the books about your particular craft. If you like a technique you read, use it over and over just because you like it. You have to enjoy the creative process and forget about the quality. Eventually, because you have practiced a lot, quality would follow.

If you want to be a professional writer, I encourage you to write a novel and self-publish it in sites such as Amazon or Smashwords. Be sure to self-publish it for free. I doubt that your work would have a lot of buyers. People don’t know your enough to buy from you. That’s the way it was to first time self-published authors. My fanfiction stories are just started to get traction even though I stopped publishing fanfiction four years ago. Meanwhile, since your work is not picking up the traction, keep working on other stories and improve your writing skills.

Having no one buy from you early on your writing stage is actually a blessing in disguise. That means there won’t be a lot of harsh critics wasting their time pointing out every single flaw you have as an artist. Review your work from time to time and edit it. The goal is for you to be prolific because quality follows quantity.

To me, it’s important for artists to be prolific. It’s a way for an artist to practice on their crafts and learn from their mistakes. Eventually, the artist would be so good at their crafts that people would actually buy their products not because there are too many of them but because they are good artists.

And for those who would criticize me regarding my stance? The goal of my blog is to unlock your creativity and not to improve your craft. To do that, you need to allow yourself to produce crappy work. I am well aware that other people would criticize me for my view. However, the only way to improve your craft is to practice. The more work you produce, the better you’ll get.

 

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