“Talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force.”
I know I’ve been going on a bit on the Manic side of late – how to not lock your keys in the trunk, how to stop comparing yourself to others, how to not give up when things aren’t easy, etc. Manics struggle with these things so it’s important to deal with them. But just as important is the creating. Creativity is where we get to be Impressive.
This is the gift of the Manic Impressive. We are very talented in the creative arts. We can entertain, inspire, amuse and sometimes even awe. We just struggle with the process of getting our creativity out into the world and turning it into cash.
Have you read Stephen King’s book, On Writing? I’m reading it now and am delighted to report he’s a self-professed Manic Impressive. Here’s him on himself from page 51:
“I tend to go through periods of idleness followed by periods of workaholic frenzy”
If that ain’t Manic Impressive then I’m a shy little wallflower with no opinions on anything.
Steve (as he calls himself, and no, I wasn’t being presumptive) was just like the rest of us. He wanted to be more than he was. He knew he wanted to be a writer at a young age, but he soon found himself where many of us are: spouse, kids, day job, trying to make ends meet while still pursuing a dream.
Though he didn’t do things the way the Diligent & Disciplined do–a little bit every day at the same time in the same way–he put in the work. In bursts. Around his high-school teaching gig and his job as husband, father, brother & son.
The constant process of honing he speaks about is what we need to do to be Impressive. You’re plenty talented. Talented enough to get noticed. But to be Impressive you have to hone that talent. Sharpen it. Polish it. Then you have to position it, launch it, and promote it.
That takes a lot of work. But where others use discipline to get that work done in a methodical, grinding fashion, you will do it a bit differently. You will use desire. You will lure yourself with visualization, emotional dissatisfaction and old-fashioned pining to achieve creative success. That’s how you’ll get yourself to work.
Then you have to get that talent out onto a stage for others to enjoy and critique. Until your work meets an audience, it really isn’t art. Or music. Or comedy. Or theater. Or fashion. Or design. Or writing.
Because as Stephen says, art is telepathy. There is a transmitter, the artist, and a receiver, the reader, listener or viewer. Between the two is where the magic happens. If the transmitter is effective, the receiver can see inside the artist’s head. They communicate over time and distance. Telepathy. Magic.
If the artist does not transmit, there is nothing to receive. Nothing but wasted talent.
So you need to do the hard work and the honing. But you don’t need to do it the way others do. You’re Manic, so routine is not a natural state for you. And that’s okay, as long as you get it done.
You’re going to do it the way Stephen King did. In bursts. In workaholic frenzy after periods of idleness. Just like the guy that wrote Carrie, Misery, The Shining, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. Like the guy who sold over 350 million books. Whose work spawned 39 movies. Who donates $4 million a year to charity.
You’re going to be like that guy. Stephen King. Manic Impressive.
So get on it…