The Sin of SLOTH

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a whole but, (sigh) I’ve been tired, I’m sooo busy, I feel kinda run down, the World Series was on, I had Halloween candy to eat…

The monkey loves a good excuse for not doing what you really oughta (and wanna) get done. Maybe your small reserve of creative energy is  being tapped only to make those excuses.

There’s no real shortcut to drawing, bestselling, Sgt. Peppering, or making a perfect soufflé.

It’s easy to tell yourself that you just don’t have talent. But the people you admire didn’t get to where they are just through some God-given gift or amazing luck. They worked their asses off. They sweated over their sketchbooks, threw away draft after draft, built their networks, filled their wells of inspiration, and tried, failed, tried, failed, tried, failed until their humps were busted — and only then did they became overnight successes.

When the Beatles played in Hamburg, they did six 90-minute sets a night. Lennon said: “Every song lasted twenty minutes and had twenty solos in it. That’s what improved the playing.”

Before Picasso sent Les Demoiselles D’Avignon to the framer, he made over 700 sketches and studies in preparation.

Gone With the Wind was rejected by 38 publishers. The 39th sold 20 million copies.

And Isaac Asimov wrote five hundred books. And had cool sideburns.

Sowwy. There’s no real shortcut to drawing, bestselling, Sgt. Peppering, or making a perfect soufflé. You gotta break eggs and you gotta scramble.

You have talent. Or maybe you don’t. Whatevs. But don’t let excuses and torpor and depression and sorrow and keep you from where you want to go. The world needs what you will dream up. Your contribution is anticipated and will be valued.

It could seem easier to stay on the couch with a beer in one hand and a remote in the other — until you go to the john and catch sight of yourself in the mirror.

Failure may scare you into not trying. Sloth should scare you more.

Just do it.

Sixth in a series on seven deadly creative sins.

15 thoughts on “The Sin of SLOTH”

  1. Before Picasso sent Les Demoiselles D’Avignon to the framer, he made over 700 sketches and studies in preparation.
    Thank you Danny for pointing this out : I did not know. I will remember it when I look at my drawings and am disappointed of the results.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think artistic Gluttony has much influence on Sloth–causing visual exhaustion from over saturation or worse: ennui —my monkey tells me it has seen it and done it all before, so why bother? Thanks for the thought provoking series. It definitely reverberates!

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  3. This is the first time I’ve scrolled down far enough to find a place to respond to your blog. : (
    You are consistently the most inspiring, challenging & all around creative blog writer I have ever found. Besides, you make me laugh.
    For all of the above, I say thank you.
    Dee

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  4. Where do we get the idea that good does not take much? That is probably because we want to believe the lies that we tell ourselves. Great post.

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  5. I think artistic Gluttony has much influence on Sloth–causing visual exhaustion from over saturation or worse: ennui —my monkey tells me it has seen it and done it all before, so why bother? Thanks for this thought provoking creative sins series. It reverberates!

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    1. Why did I comment twice? because I am new to commenting on blogs and just pressed everything with great enthusiasm! Please forgive my newbie-ness! and back to the drawing board for me.

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  6. Dan, I think the act of drawing itself should be enjoyable. If the process for producing work is not fun, that process needs to be changed. There should be some curiosity as well. A drawing never turns out exactly as I expect. Sometimes its worse, sometimes better, sometimes more original as my style develops. This may seem obvious, but maybe easy to lose sight of in the beginning stages. There is an element of work/effort, but I think that makes it more fun- maybe 25% work.

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  7. You seem to come up with exactly what I need to hear, what we all need to hear. I broke bones in my foot last week. I am a sort of make lemonade out of lemons kind of person. My first thought after the pain left, the swelling went down and I was fitted with a boot thing that came with the warning from the doctor that I was to stay off it, do little walking for three weeks, …was ” wow, a gift of art time! Then the monkey crept in the window and started going on about ” can’t do art out of my studio, downstairs”; ” you need those tubes of paint in the studio and others can’t find them and bring them up to you” on and on and on….then you popped up with the truth….cut the crap and use what you have around you, make art! Thanks, Danny!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh heck, I just knew before I even hit the link from the email that this would be one for me. I’m leaving it open so I re-read it whenever I open my browser (to remind me no I don’t need to shop for more supplies, I need to DRAW)! The reference to Picasso’s hundreds of ‘rough’ preparation drawings is the most useful for me; a special thank you for that. Next time I look at my 15-minute ink-only (no pencil prep, no rubbing out!) sketch that looks nothing like the masterpiece I had in my head, and everything like the scribble of a 5 year old, I shall try to remember that and just turn to the next blank page with the thought that I still have 699 more attempts 😀

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  9. Wise words. I struggle with not knowing which 700+ sketches to do and how to improve them as they need it, whichever ones I do. Hard to argue with that definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again but expecting something different (well, that’s not quite it, but close). Getting old; would like to make sensible and enjoyable progress before — well — before I can’t.
    🙂

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