The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

You Are The Axe

Today, I'm going to be working on the fourth Dream Park book, so that I can get the outline over to Larry Niven before I take off for Christmas.  I like to move back and forth between projects, but have to be careful to center myself before each day's work.

Listen: everything that you write comes from where?  From YOU.  Your observations of the world.  The books you have read, the movies you have seen.  The classes you've taken, and the conversations with other writers you've had.  And from your experience re-writing, polishing, planning, and first-drafting your stories, scripts, books, whatever.  No matter how you look at it, YOU are the instrument of your success, or the means of your creative downfall.

The trick is to learn to bring the absolute most to the table, every time you sit down to work.  It is said that Abraham Lincoln once said that if he had four hours to chop down a tree, he would spend three of them sharpening his axe.  THIS is the attitude you have to have, the perspective you have to bring to everything you do.  YOU are the axe.  You are the implement. Your mind, your heart, your energy, your honesty, your education.

I LOVE doing this blog, because I get the chance to remind myself, again and again, of the core values that have driven my career.  And more, I love sharing those ideas with others.  I believe that art is a precious thing, that communication can make the difference in this world, that every one of us has physical, intellectual, and spiritual aspects, and that those of us who believe in such things as hope and faith and the human spirit have a responsibility to sing out to the world.  So...what in your life is important enough to die for?  It is important to answer that question, because every minute that you invest in any activity is a minute you'll never get back.  One minute, one moment at a time, our lives are passing. 

We're coming to the end of the year.  I beg you to take a few minutes...maybe your "Golden Hour," to ask yourself what in the world is of greatest value to you.  And then plan a story to express it, or an action to promote that value.  Then raise your energy.  Clarify your courage.  Sharpen your focus.  And go after your dream with all your heart and mind and strength.  That, to me, is what life is about.  You are the axe.  You are the tool that creates.  And your greatest gift to the world is the best and brightest human being you can be.  There is no better.

1 comment:

Pulchritudinous said...

And you sir, are my axe sharpener... Thank you infinetely! :)