If there’s one thing that homeschooling does, it reveals the general laziness of humanity. I see it in my kids quite often, and I recognize it in myself at times as well. I’ve written about the Craft of Creativity before, and the fact that it takes loads of work to really hone something to make it good. And now I just got my book back for a second round of (official) edits, and so I can attest to the feeling of exhaustion thinking about doing another work through, this time of primarily technical editing. This is where the adult in me accepts that this is what is best for the manuscript, but the child in me wants to throw myself on the floor and yell “I DON’T WANNA DO IT!!!”
Thankfully, my adult self wins.
Teaching children this concept is difficult. The idea of the revision is nonexistent in their minds. Every word they write, every drawing they create is a Final Draft.
I know that a lot of this is that they are still learning the basics of things. Their little hands get tired after writing their spelling list, because the act of shaping words with a pencil is still new, they still have to think about it. To get really comfortable writing requires you to be able to do the technical aspects of it without thinking about it.
Kind of like acting in a play… you can’t do any real “Acting” until the lines you have memorized are so deeply ingrained in your brain you don’t have to think about them. I’ve worked with kids doing drama – even teenagers have a hard time understanding this. It’s not art just standing onstage reciting lines. The art comes when the technical disappears.
But to get to the point where you can make “Art,” you have to go through a lot of drudgery and boring work. It’s this concept that separates the Artist from the rest of the world, in my opinion. The drive to want to create something pushes the Artist through the hours and hours of practice.
It’s why the writer of plays is called a playwright - a wright is a worker, a craftsman, someone who has to sometimes beat something (like iron) over and over in order to make something awesome (like a sword).
It’s so tempting to do things “just good enough.” To think, well, this is okay, and it’s better than most people could have done, so that’s it. Practice makes perfect, and practicing requires discipline. Discipline requires motivation, and I think people are motivated when they are inspired.
So how can we find out what inspires our children? I’m not exactly sure, because my kids are still little, and I don’t want to jump the gun on anything. But I do know that I can help them develop their work ethic now and attempt to show them that their hard work in dedicating themselves to something that they love will pay off in the end.
To get it to look effortless, Artists have to be relentless.