An Artist Must Sacrifice

“He who would accomplish little need sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much. He who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.” –James Allen

We live in the age of distraction. Countless hours are spent trying to keep up with recent information as it occurs. If we want to create deep and meaningful work, we have to give up the things that constantly disengage us. That means giving up television (Netflix too), social media, video games, social events, multitasking, etc.

I haven’t watched any television show in years. Admittedly, I gave up one vice for another by constantly web-surfing on my phone and playing video games whenever I had a spare moment. It’s something I still struggle with.

But! To illustrate the point, think of the creation of your art as a war. If your forces are too scattered, your offensive capabilities will be greatly diminished. If you want to defeat your enemy, you must regroup and defeat them swiftly.

Sure, that’s easier said than done, but it’s a necessity if you ever hope to succeed. Not just for writing, but any creative endeavor. J.K. Rowling famously posted only once on Twitter to mention how she would be too busy writing Harry Potter to keep people updated. And who can blame her? Better to have those books in people’s hands than in her head. (If you’re interested in studying the benefits of focusing single-mindedly on your task, I highly recommend reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and “Deep Work” by Cal Newport.)

This is a call to action to simplify your life. What do you plan on giving up for the sake of your art?

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