Standards, every artist has them and each set varies from artist to artist. Some might seem a little shallow from the casual observer (like never accepting less than a certain dollar value for your work) but to the artist who holds them they’re always vital. It’s these standards and our attachment to them that helps bring fort the weight of fear into our work. The thought that we can’t reach our standards of excellence, weights down every word, every brushstroke and every moment of an artist’s life.
No matter what kind of an artist you are, I’m sure you’ll find your standards. Probably earlier than you’ll realize at first. For me it came young, a desire to tell a tale that rings true to the minds ear, no matter how fantastical. Every word doesn’t have to be pretty or polite but every character, every scene, every bit of dialogue has to be as vivid, detailed and full of truth.
I dread the day I slip up for whatever reason and write a whole scene, or more, that I only discover later didn’t ring true and throws off the direction for the entire rest of the book. I’d rather be stalled for days, dipping into the darkness, trying to get just the write ring of truth to my writing than blunder forward just to be done.
Others focus on turns of phrase, they love a pretty sentence, a haunting statement. Still others focus on volume, they want to create more faster. The list of potential standards goes on and on and there would always be a few I’d miss. Still once you realize what your standards are – you can start to measure your success because only meeting your standards will give you that feeling.
Me? I’ve still got a long way to go yet.