Do you feel a compulsion to work?
What is work? This single word is one of the most powerful in the English language. It runs the gamut from science to common labor. In physics: the exertion of force overcoming resistance, in labor, any activity or effort to accomplish a task. Work can be pleasurable or hateful, healthy or harmful. It is the bane of the lazy and a blessing for the zealous.
Regardless of how you view work, certain occupations fall outside the mainstream conception of what we do to earn a living. A friend of mine is a professional artist. His work is excellent and his pictures hang on walls all over the world. For reasons of privacy I will not disclose his name.
Some years back he needed help with “bread and butter” work – aside from portraits and other paintings, he was overloaded with architectural pen and ink drawings. He asked a museum director if she knew art students who might do summer work to help with the drawings, help themselves working with an established artist. And receive a stipend for their work. The response amazed him.
The art students, one and all failed to grasp a basic concept of how artists work. Artists, no matter if they write, paint or make music are compelled to work. Writers write because they must, visual artists draw and paint because it is the nature and essence of what they do. The students, like most college students saw the summer as a time to play and vacation. Only one student accepted the job. The others would not give up even a bit of the summer to broaden their knowledge in a real world environment.
Of course my artist friend takes vacations, and days off. But not in the conventional sense. Just as a writer carries a pad and pen to take notes, he always has a sketch pad close by. He “sees” pictures where others see nothing. His innate capacity for thinking in terms of line, shape and form impels him to study a face, a tree or any object in that context. He is always an artist.
No matter the discipline, an artist inherently understands this. If you are passionate about your work your mind will not stop at a given hour. You will have set a subconscious stage, open to receive and create even as you sleep.
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.
– Abraham Maslow