One of my favorite books of all time, hands down, is How to Get Ideas by Jack Foster.
Every creative person should have a copy of this book on the shelf...I heartily recommend it to you, and someday I will do a full review. But for now, one particular nugget of wisdom has been on my mind this week:
In this marvelous How-To manual for sparking creative thought, Foster tells a story about George Ade, a popular novelist/humorist/playwright from the late 1800's and early 1900's.
According to Foster, Ade's mother was once interviewed by a journalist who was quite critical of Ade's work. The man was rude enough to pepper Ade's mother with numerous questions about George's shortcomings as a writer, including his "capricious style, wobbly structure and shallow characterizations."
Eventually, George's good mother had taken all she could take.
"Oh, I know that many people can writer better than George does," she said. "But George does."
I first read "How to Get Ideas" many years ago, and since that time, the phrase has always stuck with me...
How many people sidetrack their own dreams, their own calling, because they talk about it, chat about it, Facebook about it (looking at you, Ginny!) think about it... but they don't do it.
It's easier to talk about writing a novel than to pick up a pen and write. Every day.
It's easier to dream about painting a masterpiece than to get your brushes out and start filling a canvas.
It's easier to tell people about the music career you'd like to have, than to sit down with your instrument and practice.
Despite all obstacles.... George does.
Despite imperfection.... George does.
Despite insecurities and doubts... George does.
It reminds me of the ancient proverb, oftentimes ascribed to the Chinese... "It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness."
Take one small step... Do one small thing towards achieving your dream. Today. And the next day. And the next.