In her six months as IdeasTap's columnist, Kirsty Logan has written about isolation, criticism, vaginas and internet trolls. But all good things must come to an end. In her final column, she reminds young artists to take stock – and take pride...
Well, this is it: my last goodbye. I'm particularly terrible at goodbyes, so to avoid me wailing Jeff Buckley songs and weeping into my gin, I will keep this practical.
I've been the IdeasTap columnist for six months now – that's 28 columns, including this one, totalling over 14,000 words (this breaks down as 50% clunky introspection, 40% lame jokes, and 10% actual journalism). A lot has happened in my writing career since I started this job, and I've done a hell of a lot of things, but the one thing I haven't done is stopped. At all. Even once.
I don't know about you, but by the time I've finished one project I'm already ankle-deep in the next one, so busy with the details and annoyances and excitement that I don't think about what's just finished. But when a project draws to a close, it's good to take stock. To think about what we learned and to see whether we did what we hoped to do. If you're like me and have a stupidly short attention span, it's so easy to jump straight into the next project (or the next five projects simultaneously) without really stopping to think.
To be honest, I only take stock when I have to update my CV, which is one of those boring things like cleaning the fridge or throwing away old receipts that I do as infrequently as possible. It's easy to get so caught up in the minutiae of our current projects that we never stop to think about how well the previous one went – or even how badly it went. Running away from mistakes is tempting, but no matter how badly something went or how little it resembled your intention, there's still a lesson to be learned from it.
To punters, art is about product: the painting, the film, the book. But to artists, it's about process: what you intended, what you learned, how you grew as an artist and a person.
After six months and 14,000 words, what is the final thought that I want to say to you? Only this: be proud.
Some people go their entire lives dreaming of being writers, artists, actors, musicians or filmmakers, and never do a single thing about it. Fear of failure can be crippling, but no one ever achieved anything by taking the risk-free route. If you've taken steps – however small – to achieve your dream, you're already doing better than all those people too scared to fail. The things you've tried might not necessarily have worked, but failure doesn't have to be a bad thing. Trying and failing makes you more of a success than if you hadn't tried at all.
So be proud. Take stock of what you've achieved. Be content with how far you've climbed, and get excited about all the heights you will achieve in the future. And then stop navel-gazing and get stuck right into the next project.
... on the benefits of obscurity
... on writing the truth