Details from Patience

It occurs to me that one of the biggest struggles I’ve been having with everything, from my art to my writing to my efforts to tackle various projects, is that I’m stuck in a rut of trying to see the big picture first.

This is likely linked somehow to a dozen years of government work with titles like “strategist” or “architect” or “project manager” where having a huge overview of a highly detailed system is important to communicating about that work so that one can (a) stop the scope from shrinking because people focus on the details and forget the plan and also to (b) explain the big picture to the people with the money whose attention spans are incredibly short.

But in life, words, and art while the big picture is important, actually doing the “work” means focusing on one thing at a time: like writing a really good sentence, or drawing a single tree, window, or person. A good novel might be thousands of really good sentences strung together into a story. A great piece of art might be five hundred tiny pieces of art cobbled into one image.

I, on the other hand, have been stuck in the rut of the “big picture” … and I need to change that.

I have been trying to understand the story I’m writing in the fullness of everything, trying to tell it all in a handful of sentences …rather than say, writing even just five awesome sentences per day that add to that big picture.

I have been trying to define the pictures I’ve been drawing and painting with the perfect single pen stroke or sweep of a brush, and forgetting that I could fill a single square centimeter with detail a few times per day and then over the course of multiple days or weeks build up dozens or hundreds of square centimeters with an amazingly detailed image that would blow the minds of people who looked at it.

I forget these things and rush to communicate a big picture first. And this is backwards for all the stuff I want to accomplish.





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