Are You An Artist, Or What?

The following video of lovely songwriter and singer Corinne Bailey Rae may appear to have absolutely nuffink at all to do with writing. But I beg to differ; it's actually a lovely discourse on owning your creative process. Observe?

She finished her newest album, The Sea, (seriously, buy it, it's an amazing thing to behold), after her husband's death. What I found myself responding to in this video was that, even in the midst of such grievous emotional turmoil, she owned her creative process, *led* it according to her vision as an artist. She says things like, "I wanted this song to reflect this, I wanted to record this part like this, I decided to sing this bit like this" -- it's clear that she owned and trusted her creative process.

And I thought, well damn, Z. Where the hell is the trust in yours? I mean, are you an artist or what? Of course I am. So why this lack of confidence, lack of leadership and ownership in my creative process - the very one that seems to plague so many of us writers? I dunno, but I'm caging THAT unproductive bastard. Because what I do know is that


This is my book. It's my vision. And it'll turn out how it's supposed to.

(An aside: it helps to think of publication as an afterthought, dunnit? The craft is the point. Building writing chops is the point. Tucking years of experience under your belt is the point. Snagging an agent and getting pubbed? Merely footnotes, y'all.) So, on to owning and trusting my process, because, yanno, I'm an artist. Are you?


JustineDell | April 15, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Haha, yes - publication was most certainly the afterthought!

JustineDell | April 15, 2010 at 10:18 AM

If it would have been the forethought, I probably would have never started ;-)

Zoe C. Courtman | April 15, 2010 at 10:22 AM

Thanks for commenting, Justine! Man, you and me both! Writing is hard enough without worrying about whether it'll sell!

Matthew Rush | April 15, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Not sure if I'd go so far as to call myself and artist, but like Justine, at first I wrote just for me.

Publication was certainly an afterthought.

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