Pablo Picasso said, “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” He produced a great deal of serious work, over six hundred pieces of artwork each year over a career that lasted nearly eighty years.
He also had wives, mistresses and children. Picasso could always find his solitude, his personal space to create regardless of the loves that passed through his life. His focus never left his art.
Picasso lived to ninety-one, and his art remains some of the most valuable in the world. As a family man he would not be judged as highly as his work. I read that one of his mistresses and also one of his wives committed suicide.
A passionate creative and prolific man, Picasso had little to no time for the people who adored him.
Creating one’s art does not have to be a struggle between finding “great solitude” and preserving relationships. Except it often is just that: a struggle.
Some of the writers who attend our writer’s group have full time jobs, some are stay at home parents, some are retired. In order to produce their art, they have to write in an environment where they share time and space with loved ones.
It’s not easy to split time between work, family and writing. There will always be someone or something that suffers. How does a writer choose what to give up? Meal with a spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend/child? Going to bed on time? A weekend day with family/friends?
Choosing how to adjust one’s schedule so as not to cheat a loved one out of precious time puts a huge burden on the writer.
So, when do you write? When can you ever have that “great solitude” Picasso said was the key to getting some serious work done?
A closed door is not usually enough to stop the entry of children, wives, husbands or good friends. Someone always needs something and a person staring at a computer screen is not a deterrent to distractors.
After all, it doesn’t look like you’re doing anything. You’re just thinking.
And writing is equally not sacred. It’s tapping on a keyboard, making stuff up. To a casual observer anything on earth is more important.
Like sleeping. That has to be more important than writing. Except it’s not to a writer when the flow is happening. When a faucet turns on and the words are really flowing…
“When are you coming to bed?”
That is a horrible question when a writer is mid-chapter and the words are coming easily. Come to bed, stop typing, lay in bed and think about the chapter I’m still writing in my head.
Sleep? Yeah, right.
Writing is more important than sleeping. And maybe more important than a lot of other things as well, but try and explain that to people who don’t write. And try to explain that you can write and write and write and not get a single page of anything worth keeping.
Picasso would understand. He said this:
“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”
The more you write the more you learn what you’re writing about. And, unfortunately, the more you will have to explain why it’s taking so long to write what you want to say. As you write, you also muse, and as you muse you become hypnotized by your own words. The door stays closed and time ticks by.
The author Colette wrote these words:
“To write is to sit and stare, hypnotized, at the reflection of the window in the silver inkstand, to feel the divine fever mounting to one’s cheeks and forehead while the hand that writes grows blissfully numb upon the paper.”
Would you like to be the one who knocks on her door and announces dinner is ready?
All you can do is strike up a contract of sorts with the people you love. Tell them you will commit to something like, I promise to love you and write my novel without sacrificing the quality of our relationship.
Once again, I offer the PDF link to our PenPaperWrite sign, “If you love me, leave me alone, and let me write.” You can download it and print it out for your door, the door that may or may not offer you some much needed “great solitude”. https://penpaperwrite.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/IfYouLoveMe.pdf
Keep writing, keep loving, and get to “The End” without damage to those who love you.
The next 60 Scenes® Writing Method Workshop in Atlanta, GA is January 19th, 2019.
If you have an idea for a novel or a screenplay, consider learning how to storyboard and use scene cards and timelines. We take you through the Outer Journey of Plot and the Inner Journey of Character in one day. Workbook is included and only 15 spots open for each workshop. These are skills for a lifetime. Take what you are writing to a first draft. We can help.
To learn more or sign up visit our website: www.60scenes.com