02 Feb Hello, Emmy!
So I was a little down about the Minnesota Book Awards. I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole award thing this week and had an interesting talk with my son, Joren. He runs his own business at The Pixel Lab and recently won an Emmy for his video work. I know, crazy right? So on one hand: he won an Emmy!! And there’s this crazy cool statue sitting on his desk. And it’s all gold and shiny and iconic. But on the other hand, it didn’t change anything. He still gets up each morning at 5:00 a.m. and sits in front of his computer screen and creates. He puts in ten and twelve hour days. Five days a week. Every week.
As an artist, he’s defined by his work, not awards. And he’s the only one who can complete that work.
This week, in an effort to move on from the book awards blues, I made myself a daisy chain. It’s something I used to do when the kids were little. Make a colorful chain and pull one ring off each day: Only ten days left till summer vacation! There are 100 rings on my new chain. It’s made out of plain white paper. Each ring empty and white. It’s a symbolic thing: the empty page before me that needs to be filled.
Each ring on my chain represents 1,000 words. So if I get a thousand words written, then I get to pull one ring off the chain. A thousand words is between three and four pages. It’s two to four good solid hours of uninterrupted writing. When I get to the end of my chain and all one hundred rings are pulled off, I will have approximately 100,000 words. Which is about 300 pages. Which is about book length.
I know that some days will be measured by only a dozen words, and some by none at all. I know that some days I will take care of my mom, do banking, groceries, shovel the snow, bake bread, and go to Costco. But I also know that I want to focus on the writing. And give it the attention it needs.
Yesterday was a two thousand word day. And I pulled the first two rings off my chain. Today my chain is only 98 rings. If there’s one thing I know about writing, it’s that it all adds up. One page after another. One hour after another. One more ring.
So to all the artists who’ve won awards, and not won awards, and are hoping for awards, just do your work. Because in the end that’s what defines you. It’s your creativity that really matters. You have no control over what awards will come or not come. All you can do, is to create. And isn’t that great to know? It takes the stress and pressure off. Do your work, and leave the rest up to the powers that be. Just do your work. And do it well.
P.S. Joren’s Emmy came in a very cool gold and black box, all satin lined. On the bottom of the box it states that if Joren or his offspring don’t want to keep the Emmy, they have to return. It can’t be sold, or auctioned, or given away. So you’re not likely to find an Emmy floating around an estate sales. No reason to add this P.S., just thought it was a quirky unknown Emmy fact. Keep it or return it. Legally, you can’t give the thing away. Looks like Joren is stuck with it.