Charlie has to run the Chocolate Factory now!
A conversation from the last scene of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Willy Wonka (played by Gene Wilder) to Charlie: Do you know what happened to the man who had everything he ever wanted?’
Charlie looks up and says: What is it?’
Willy Wonka replies: Then he lived happily ever after.
And all throughout the scene, I thought he would have said, “Now you have to run the Chocolate Factory, good luck with it, work hard to maintain the standard!”
Steal Like an Artist
No matter what we get or what we have, the fun and excitement are in the process of working. The process of working on the strengths. Most people get bogged in the conundrum of working on their weaknesses. However, working on our strengths is much more gratifying.
When we start to think about our strengths, we also start to analyze them. And analysis paralysis kicks in. For example, if we put down ‘Writing’ as one of our strengths, there could be a faint voice telling us – ‘but it’s not completely original!’ Been there?! I thought we must tackle that problem first.
While researching how not to feel pressured into the maze of original work, I stumbled upon a book called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. The book has given me a fresh perspective on ‘imposter syndrome‘ sensations. It has given me the liberty to get inspired and emulate a style.
The key messages in the book
No art is fully original – all artists steal. It is perfectly ok if you ever get any idea or inspiration from what I write. This is so relaxing and liberating to know, as we all get inspired by someone or the other almost every day. The Beatles, for instance, started as a cover band! They perfected their heroes’ songs before writing their own songs.
Imitate and emulate – You cannot plagiarize someone else’s work by passing it off as your own. I am just trying to draw the line here. When we start something new, we don’t necessarily know everything. While starting out, it’s a good idea to imitate your idols. When you imitate, you start to realise that actually you are quite different from your idol. And your own style develops. You will find your ‘Niche’. When you fail to copy your idol completely, you emulate them by exploiting their weaknesses.
Don’t fully immerse yourself in your work – Keep your hobbies and any other interest alive. Do not sideline everything for the sake of your one piece of artistic endeavour. Because your hobbies and interests provide you with an outlet when creative block hits. Creativity and inspiration come with free wonderment.
Share your work but sometimes post anonymously as well – Sharing your work as yourself will give you both praise and criticism. But writing as anonymous is great for testing the waters. No one knows you; you are free to do anything you like.
Create an inspiring workspace – I leave it to you. Whatever makes you work.
Value praise and don’t think about criticism too much – Engaging with your critics is a waste of time. But really value every bit of positive comment on your work.
Run your own Chocolate factory
It is normal to get inspired and follow a style until we find our own. We have to run our own Chocolate factories. There will be inspirations and recipes from the people before you, but you will have your own spin on things. The elements of the original will be still there, but you will bring something even better than the original. Keep working on your strengths and share them with the world. Sometimes, there will be praise and sometimes criticism. Just like you feel bad about your critics, have a special place in your heart for your well-wishers who have nothing but words of encouragement for you.