With every creative endeavor, there is effort to be expended. Sometimes it’s a lot of effort. Sometimes it’s a little. Myself, I stay away from a lot of effort. Though society may tell us that the work of artists is a labor of tedious hard work, I’m more inclined to believe it’s the product of well timed, smart work.
Well timed because it was done in the heat of inspiration. And smart, because as the product of an artist, the effort was expended where the effort was known to be needed by the artist. A song not sounding right, recognize what is not working and fix it quickly. A painting not doing what it needs to do, balance it correctly for that piece.
Quick and smart.
Granted, if you want to do complicated works, it may be tedious. But that’s not how I operate. Fuck tedious. Even something like laying out a book, sure it’s repetitious, but if it’s done with passion, tedium falls to tolerable repetition. A flow state of repetition. That’s not tedious. Tedious is doing something you hate. If you hate making your art, perhaps it’s time to find a new medium that you can work passionately in.
I always come back to the protestant ethic, always, in talking about how we do the things we do these days, and it’s probably because it’s the most destructive lie in a capitalist society: that hard work pays off. And I always wonder, where is this magical manager whom tallies up our hours of suffering and applies it to the end goal of our product. Hint, there is no manager. Hard labour may gain you pity from those you complain about it to, but it will not transform your work into anything other than what it is. And as artists, the process in which we make art, is our lives. So if the process is tedium, our lives are tedium. I’d rather my life be smart, quick movements, followed by reflection, thinking, and resulting experience.
Tedium is effort misapplied. And tedium is work minus passion.
Of course, this is not to say life will not have tedium; dealing with governments, business, bills, etc, will all involve tedium. But even in those cases, if we can step back from the situation and evaluate what needs to be done, rather than what we think we need to do, we can usually find a more passionate, more agreeable way to do these things: one that draws on our personal strengths and perspectives, rather than forcing us to apply such things, tediously, to a thing itself.