I am on hiatus from my Vocational Vivications once more, readers. Until I return, please enjoy this excellent article from K. M. Weiland:
Taking Your Writing to the Next Level: Whole-Life Art
You are a writer.
If you’re reading this blog because you’re jotting down a story, even if it’s just on a napkin right now, then you get to call yourself a writer.
A writer. An author. A scribbler. A storyteller.
Maybe that’s all you are. Maybe that’s all there is to be.
But maybe not. Maybe there’s more that we, as writers, can aspire to.
A few months ago, I mused on how authors can level up to become “artists.” While that pursuit is one mostly executed from within the trenches of the craft, I think one important aspect is an all-engulfing concept I’ve recently taken to calling “whole-life art.”
Most writers with a true dedication to the craft know being an author is a lot like being an athlete. Weekend warriors don’t cut it. Even showing up at the court or the rink or the track on a regular basis cuts it only if the person in question happens to be unbelievably talented or unbelievably masochistic, or both.
Rather, dedicated athletes work out daily, watch every calorie they put in their mouths, and practice rigorous mental discipline. If someone is truly an athlete, then he or she is never not an athlete.
Authors have exactly the same opportunity. This opportunity isn’t just about taking our art to the next level, although that’s certainly a major benefit. It’s about embracing the beauty and power of our art until it reaches beyond the page to inform every part of our lives.
5 Aspects of Whole-Life Art
I can’t remember a time when stories weren’t intertwined, in some way or another, with every part of my life. When I was young, it was effortless. I breathed stories, lived stories. I romped through them with a delightful lack of control, since I wasn’t yet actually requiring myself to write them. As an emerging adult, I embraced the fierce discipline of the artistic life mostly in a desperate bid to turn those beautiful breathings into stories that were actually readable. When my efforts eventually turned into a vocation, art as a paradigm permeated my life even more.
Now, having graduated from what I suppose might be considered the First Act of my life as a writer, I find that art has become more than just a joyous expression or worthy occupation. It has become my defining template. If I am to continue growing as a person, I see now that I must grow as a writer. And vice versa: if I am to grow as a writer, I must grow as a person.
In thinking about these ideas of late, I’ve also been thinking about the varied aspects of life and how we, as writers, can fully integrate them all in a pursuit of whole-life art.