Apparently everyone who is in the creative arts should have an Artist Statement, much like organizations have vision statements and mission statements.
It is not goal-setting; this comes after that chore.
The idea is to keep you on track with your goal, add fire to your muse and motivate you to carry on when difficulties and obstacles arise, which they always do.
Re-reading your Artist Statement, polishing it, making sure your goal and path align what it states is important. Sometimes we get lost in the morass and chaos of creation. We get so excited and interested in a new project or work we don’t realize that although we are on track with our goal, suddenly the path or the goal itself are slightly off-kilter from our Artist Statement, our vision.
This is not always a bad thing; often the Artist Statement is made in the early stages of the journey, and we don’t know what we don’t know … or our interests change as we grow.
Using myself as an example, when I set my goal to publish a novel in five years (not a lofty goal, I know, but one I thought I could manage), I was interested in writing suspense/horror thrillers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz. I had an idea in mind for a story and I jumped into it.
Thus, when I threw down my Artist Statement, it looked like this:
I want to write to explore the depths of my own psyche, to bring out previously unheeded or unwanted thoughts and ideas within others, and to set something down that will live beyond me.
I wish to speak of the life interrupted, the lightning shift of life events.
Over the last year or so, I have taken to writing stories and works in progress that are better served as crime fiction./thrillers along the lines of Lee Child.
So today I realized that, while my Artist Statement still applied within the scope of what I was writing and my goal, it was not quite aligned with my current path. So I changed it to match my changed path to my unchanged goal.
I added one line:
I desire to excite the reader and myself with a plot-driven yet character-rich crime fiction novel.
I believe this incorporates what I am doing and how I want to feel about my work.
The Artist Statement is not meant to be shared with the world, as it opens the artist up to the laughter of loved ones, scorn of so-called friends and the onslaught of hordes of were-gypsies casting spells to steal your soul, but hey! I can always delete this later.
What about you?
Do you have an artist statement?
If so, how is it looking today?
Does it align with your goal and the path you are on now?
Are you brave enough to share?
<steps back, laughs, shovels a heap of scorn onto your head, and morphs into a wolverine wearing a diklo and a gold necklace, chanting “tolle animam eius!”>.
OK, <returns to simpering scribe>
No problem, you’re not supposed to, remember?