I remember reading about the concept of grit when it comes to (especially entrepreneurial) success…
Stephen Song
22

Art and Grit

It seems the mismatch between grit and your artistic endeavors is centered around workflow. Whereas grit, or at least the evaluation Will provided, is focused on the pursuit of a single goal, your work in art appears to run on a more asynchronous schedule.

Here, you create a bunch of processes (projects, poems, zines, etc.), but many sit idle until you (the engine in this case) has the inclination to pick it up and do work on it, either because it’s the only thing in the queue or some outside factor (inspiration, due date) has given it priority.


Art is often seen as this hand-wavy thing where you get intermittent blessings of divine inspiration which allows you to create a masterpiece.

While I think it would be interesting to figure out how one could repurpose the concept of grit to fit your workflow — I think it would be more interesting to see if you could repurpose your workflow to fit within its bounds.

Art is often seen as this hand-wavy thing where you get intermittent blessings of divine inspiration which allows you to create a masterpiece. While I think something of the sort certainly happens from time to time, I don’t think it’s reliable enough, nor frequent enough, to base your productivity on.

In my mind, creativity is a skill that can be practiced just like any other. It is the combination of known ideas in useful and novel ways. To me, everything is a remix of something else (obviously open to debate), so believing you’re waiting on a brain blast of pure originality is simply the stuff of myth.


So, while I understand that sometimes you don’t feel like you’re in the “right” mood to start on something or that right now isn’t the “right” time, I urge you to take a minute to think about what the “right” feeling and time actually IS. I think you’ll find that such moments are incredibly rare, if they indeed ever occur.

You may find your productivity and subsequent rate of knowledge accumulation skyrockets if you stop waiting for the “right” time and instead make mindful and intentional stabs at the processes you’ve already started.

While your piece may not reach its absolute potential compared to what may have been achievable if you had waited for that inspiration, know, too, that such a metric will never be tangibly usable. It’s impossible to know the peak potential of anything, but through intentional effort you’ll at least have created something and bettered yourself in the process. Take this in contrast to the ever-increasing possibility of a project simply sitting on your desk, at the back of your queue, until forgotten or garbage collected.

TL;DR The repurposing of grit to fit art could be interesting — yet more interesting, and of potentially higher benefit, is to fit art to the grit model