I’m going to talk today about the concept of a “bucket of ink.” My mom is a graphic artist, and she once told me a story that in her youth, when she was a student at the art institute, and one of the professors told her that they have to use up a bucket of ink in order to draw well—in order to learn to draw well. So imagine, a bucket of ink. So ten liters of ink. That’s a huge amount of ink! And you have to draw constantly, or write something beautifully, like calligraphy. So that’s what professor Vladas Drema actually said to her, a very famous art historian of Vilnius. And, she told me this story recently, and I thought about our creative efforts.
Whatever we do in life, maybe we create music, maybe we draw, maybe we write poetry, or some other kind of activity, even, let’s say, we practice playing organ, right? Imagine that. A bucket of ink symbolizes maybe 10,000 hours of practice. You know, 10,000 hours is like 10 years of regular consistent and intentional practice, maybe two hours per day. And after that amount of diligent work, you become good at this, right?
So, I kind of hope that we all get this kind of training every day. Just a little bit, not necessarily two hours of doing something, but maybe 15 minutes a day of creating something which hasn’t been created before, either in text, pictures, audio, or video, and then sharing it with the world, and doing it so persistently that with the concept of a bucket of ink we don’t see the end result of that. It’s like swimming across the ocean. We don’t see the shore, but we know that the shore is there, so it’s a marathon, not a race. You have to pace yourself, you have to be patient, and never rush. Stick to the step by step approach, one step at a time everyday. And I hope you can do that today.
My plan is also to create a Pinky and Spiky comic strip about animal rights today, how they are probably creating something very funny in that theme, animals rights. And hopefully, I will finish my big organ piece based on the Lithuanian folk song, "Vilkas grikius sėjo," which I’m working on this week. So, this is my plan, and hopefully, in the evening, I will get a chance to sight read and improvise as well.
So that’s for me. What about you? You have to think about your optimal output and plan for that to happen. Even the bare minimum of creative work today would be worth doing, right? If you know that you will repeat this same activity tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, so that in maybe 10 years, you will complete your bucket of ink.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
Don't have an organ at home?
Download paper manuals and pedals, print them out, cut the white spaces, tape the sheets together and you'll be ready to practice anywhere where is a desk and floor. Make sure you have a higher chair.