Thoughts after watching Kung Fu Panda. I know, it’s a kids’ movie. But they throw in the piece of ancient Chinese wisdom: There is no secret ingredient. It brings to mind the advice frequently given to unpublished writers and not-yet-successful artists. There is no magic secret to success.
Like so many bits of wisdom, this is both true and untrue.My thoughts:
True: There is no one bit of knowledge or skill that separates the successful from the unsuccessful in the arts.
True: There is no secret that the successful artists keep back from the others.Not true: there is no difference between the successful and the hopeful.
It is not one thing, but a whole pile of things, including:
Brush miles/number of words/hours spent on craft
Effective work habits, which translate into hours spent on craft, and productivity rather than spinning wheels
Thoughtful study: some combination of work with a mentor and self-direction
Expanding on strengths
Improving or circumventing weaknesses
Effective rule breaking
Development of a unique voice (which some say happens after brushmiles/number of words)
Choices, limitation of scope, unique methodologies, world view, all of which add up to voice
Selectivity, working toward beauty of expression
To sum up: expertise, expression, marketing.