Friday, July 6, 2012

Child Prodigy Complex

Allow me to tell you about an affliction that plagues most every artist when they start out. It's called "Child Prodigy Complex", or CPC for short.
Imagine, if you will, a five year old. Imagine those little snot factories running around and cheating at hide-and-go-seek. You're supposed to count to twenty, you dick. You only gave me five seconds to hide. I'm an adult and I'm smarter than you. Stop squealing with delight because you "found" me. I had to dive behind a door because I heard your little Reeboks scampering across the door as you flagrantly skipped past about, oh, every number between one and twenty. But, I digress...
Hopefully you have in your mind what the typical five year old is like. Now get into your mind Mozart. Five years old was when he started composing. Really? Five years old? Yes. It's sickening, isn't it? Of course, I try to soothe myself with the notion that in his time the favored pastime for a kid was dying. Seriously, five of his siblings died in infancy. That's a pretty good motivating factor to get in as much living as possible in a short amount of time.
So, why do I bring up Mozart? Well, because a lot of artists have it in their mind that they are Mozart. They expect that whatever branch of artistic endeavor they pick up, they will master. With little effort, too, mind you. It's this complex that leads to complete and utter failure. You've already built yourself up before you've begun. So, it is important to avoid this line of thinking.
You see, and I'm going to use writers as an example, nothing comes easy. You might assume you are going to be great right out of the box. This is why a lot of "authors" (and I'm using quotes here because to truly consider yourself an author, you ought to be someone who is sought after by at least one publisher) will shirk the idea of going to any seminars, classes or any higher education on the subject of writing. They feel they've got that part down. They don't need any improvement, so why waste time or money?
For people who suffer from CPC, the only thing separating them from the vast riches they so richly deserve is their surroundings. Sure, they'll sit down at the computer, hammer away at a paragraph or two... but then the story they set out to tell languishes. Sits in the writing folder for weeks, months, years. You see, because they are infected with CPC, they expect the story to come easily. If it doesn't, then it obviously must be too boring. The flip side is that they think the idea they've had will be far too complex or too much of an undertaking for the reader to possibly comprehend, so why move forward with it?
Do you suffer from CPC? Do you think everything should flow through your pen like water down a river? Well, it's time to get over yourself. As much as we'd all like to be Mozart (the five year old prodigy, not the financially destitute buried in an unmarked grave thirty-something guy) we can't. Hard work is what waits before you in anything you endeavor to do. If you work hard in every aspect of your life, you will be rewarded. Attend classes for the subject you love. Make it your mission to have at least a small amount of daily output towards what you desire to achieve. Write, draw, paint, sing, dance or do whatever your passion is... passionately. Obsessively. It is only in doing these things on a regular and consistent basis that you will improve.
So, please, if you or a loved one suffer from CPC, rail against it. Tell yourself you are only as good as your latest completed work. If you've not completed a thing in your life, now is the time. And if you're five years old and you've understood fully everything I just said above, I loathe you.

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