Thoughts on Doing the Work

Thoughts on Doing the Work

Or My Reflections on Greatness


I wrote this post while walking around the Milwaukee Art Museum, surrounded by great works of art by great artists and some thoughts came to me.

Great artists get to where they are by doing the work. There is no shortcut to greatness. Things like having a point of view and something to say take a lot of work. For me part of that is the hard work of sitting down and facing my inner demons. Avoiding the work will not get me where I want to go. It is just arrogance to think that just because I want something I can do it. I need to put in the hours to attain my goals. I also need to recognize that I might never get “there”, never reach my goals and still continue on my journey to artistic greatness regardless.

Most artists take years to develop their voice and hone their talent and skills.

Avoiding doing the work will only makes the process longer. Avoiding the work, talking about the work, thinking about the work, that is not how I can achieve my goals, the only way I can do that is to actually do the work.

But the question that comes up then is, what is the work? How will I know if I am doing the work or avoiding doing the work? I think that the answer lies in my old friend, fear. The more afraid and resistant I am to doing something, the more likely it is to be the work that I need to do at the moment. I want to use fear as my guide, but in the opposite way. Instead of running away from the fear and discomfort, I need to start to embrace it, lean in and see where I can go.

It’s not easy to use fear as a guidepost, I constantly have to remind myself to do so, but in the end, (I hope) it is worth it. I want to push myself, discover what I am really capable of.


View of the lake from MAM


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