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Friday, November 16, 2007

Inner necessity...

Vintage article from Joel Achenbach:
Leon Botstein, the composer, says you can't plan your breakthroughs. You just have to keep plugging away, and wait, and hope.

"Breakthrough is not when you want it, it's not when you expect it. It's a function of the constant activity. It is only the constant activity that generates the breakthrough."

And what causes the constant activity? It's not money. It's not glory. It's an "inner necessity," he says. Unless you have this inner necessity to create, you'll probably never do anything of brilliance, Botstein believes.

"Without constant, almost irrational, obsessive engagement, you'll never make the breakthrough," he says. "The difference between you and the person you consider great is not raw ability. It's the inner obsessiveness. The inability to stop thinking about it. It's a form of madness."

So this is what separates the great ones from the rest of the world. It is not simply that they are smarter, savvier, more brilliant. They are geniuses because they can't stand to be anything else.


Patrick said...

One of my creative writing teachers told me that you need three things to get published: persistence, talent, and luck. Since you couldn't do anything about the last two, you may as well focus on the first one.

That strikes me as a better argument than "they can't stand to be anything else." Involving your whole self in the work would, it would seem to me, result in far greater rewards.

Or, as the great Tom Lehrer said, "Life is like a sewer: what you get out of it depends on what you put into it."

Squelch said...

"Every writer produces ten thousand pages of crap. So my advice to young writers is to write as much as possible, and get those ten thousand pages out of the way, so you can move on to the good stuff." -- Rick Russo