Weapons for Artists: The Sword of Discrimination

Comic book legend Alan Moore (known for V for Vendetta and The Watchmen) talks about how artists and writers need weapons to be successful. The first weapon (featured in the last post) is represented by pentacles in the Tarot. The second, more vital weapon, is the sword, which represents intellect. It is this sword of discrimination that allows us to differentiate a good idea from a lousy one.

Do Unto Others

The blade of this self judgment can be sharpened through critiquing others. Joining a writing group (or other professional support group) gives you vital feedback. Yet the process works both ways. The more you help others sort out the good from the ugly, the easier it will be to judge your own work. 

Keep Learning

Attend workshops or seminars led by experienced writers or artists who can provide insights and guidance on critiquing techniques. In essence, you are learning other people’s strategies for self-critique or self-editing. 

Keep turning those pages and never stop reading. Read work that you admire and work that you find challenging, paying attention to the techniques used and the impact of the writing.

Practice on Smaller Projects

Oftentimes, writers and artists say they have no time for social media or blog writing. However, working on these smaller, deadline-oriented tasks can hone the blade of discrimination. Each time you post on social media about your work or write a blog post (like this) you have to commit to including this or excluding that. The work you do on the small scale makes it easier to tackle more important decisions on bigger projects. 

At the end of the day, the only one who can make the decision on what to do with your work is you. If you keep on changing your mind based on critique and outside ideas, you’ll keep on flip-flopping back-and-forth and never actually have a concrete finished concept.

Sharpen that blade and get to work. 

Tim Kane

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