AMATEURS vs. PROS (read time :57)
Amateurs use procrastination to hide from the angst, effort and challenge of creating something from nothing. Pros know procrastination well, having lost and won many gallant battles, and yet they continue to soldier on.
Amateurs permit distractions to steal their attention away from the art and work that is beckoning their concentration. Pros turn off, shut out and disallow any distractions to thwart the task at hand—to the point of being rude. Then they take on the inner battles of the creative process with precision and focus; whether it be a song, a screenplay or a business venture.
Amateurs believe it when the demon of doubt delivers a devastating blow to their creative abilities, and it often takes weeks or months for their fragile ego to recover. Pros confidently allow the demon of doubt to declare his forecast of doom, all the while knowing (from experience) that the shallow criticisms of the inner beast are meaningless and futile.
The big difference between Amateurs and Pros has nothing to do with talent. In fact there are far more talented amateurs waiting in the wings than there are successful pros currently working. The difference between the two is the courage and willingness to soldier on and fight the inner battles that only true artists and entrepreneurs are privileged to be charged with.
With all due respect, you ARE dissing the amateurs. Here’s my question: If everyone starts as an amateur, but no one’s supposed to hire amateurs, what do you do when all the existing wedding photographers retire or change careers? Do we stop the business of wedding photography because those darn amateurs would ruin the business? Do we leave it up to courtroom sketch artists to record the big day? Maybe just abolish weddings altogether so those rotten newbies can’t get a foot in the door….When my fiancee and I (who are both photographers) went looking for a photog. for our own wedding, the older established guys all trash talked shooters like us, right to our faces. We booked the one couple who didn’t get all threatened when we mentioned my experience as a photo editor & photojournalist.
|Posted By Magic Brook|
| Courage+Curiosity |
My current working theory is that there is an additional element: curiosity. Curiosity coupled to the courage to attempt something different and perhaps scarry to attempt? What I find is that many of the apparently 'no talent' practice what they already know well. What takes an artist further is walking into areas where I'm limited or altogether unskilled: An instrumentalist learning to sing, a singer working on basic piano, a singer who limits to chest voice expanding into mixed or even head voice, an improviser practicing someone else's solo to perfection, a rhymer writing free, a free writer entering into the discipline of rhyme and meter. Curiosity+Courage
|Posted By joe nickerson|
| amateurs vs pros and faking |
thanks michael! finally someone recognizes how amateurs with their egos trying to always put us pros down.. I've been on OMDs for 5 years now but sick of it! the game is: tell everyone how awesome they are so they have to tell you that too.. ignore the pros or put their music down and try to act like amateurs are the best.. naive amateur music dominates the net.. the amateurs are always faking it.. it's their only chance to beat pros.. act like they don't exist and keep telling each other how awesome they are.. so now i avoid the game.. i'm a pro and i just keep practicing.. go ahead fake it that you're good but i hear the truth.. BTW, pro to me means music level, not how much you make - amateurs make more :-)
|Posted By Debbie De Steno|
| Amateur or Pro |
Great article. I loved it and will be passing on to a select few friends who will get it.
|Posted By Joseph Carmen Horta|
| Wendi... |
...thank you. :) Great post by J.
|Posted By Mari Mack|
| Thank You! |
Great advice. Thanks.
|Posted By Spunky Munkey|
| Every Song |
To me, every song I write becomes a new house to build in my mind as I do it from start to finish, then I move on to the next one and forget about the last one. I'm a pro amateur and an amatuer pro. I've kicked people out of my studio and I've been a nasty band member if I didn't like something but I've mellowed a little and am continuing the musical journey. spunkymunkeymusic on youtube
|Posted By Wendi|
| Joseph Horta's comment |
I LOVED Joe's response! I don't usually comment, but I have to acknowledge Joseph Horta for his comment, for his experience, and for rising out of the ashes to say "I still have music in me." But I want to say, Joseph, also don't listen to the voice that's telling you, "at whatever level I can." Because then you are agreeing with that dark voice that says you are at a lower level. No! You are at the same level you were when you were one of 10 out of thousands!!! You still have this rare gift of a "Voice" that is meant to be shared with the rest of us in the world. Can't wait to hear your voice.....
|Posted By Joseph Carmen Horta|
| Ego... |
That word hit home for me as an artist more than once...but just lately it really stung. I auditioned for The Voice. I did so firstly because I knew my family wanted me too, yeah I know. Secondly I auditioned out of pure curiosity. I had real reservations about it because I didn't think the first 2 reasons were good reasons for doing it. Thirdly, I did it for the experience. I knew casting is a big part of this kind of cattle call and despite that I resolved myself to preparing a couple of songs, getting there and doing my best. Hours later I found myself in a room with about 10 other people and I was amazed at the talent as each one sang for the lone judge who was writing notes as we each performed our songs . We were only 10 of thousands who showed up that day. My ego felt good when I went up and did my thing. It felt better when I did well, however so did every one else in the room. The judge looked at us all and acknowledged us as one of the best groups he had heard all day...BUT the "bar is even higher this year..." and not one of us made it thru. I didn't think it would affect me, because I knew that the chances of hitting on every point of their casting was slim, but my ego wanted to shut me down. Why? I still don't really know why, but I knew I had to ignore that voice. I knew that I still had music in me to make...at whatever level I can.
|Posted By Big Dave Little|
| A vs P |
|Posted By Raw Purr|
| the n(ew r)ude |
"Pros turn off, shut out and disallow any distractions to thwart the task at hand—to the point of being rude." Screw social etiquette. If the work being done is from a place of love&creation, it's ruder (and a greater crime) to not allow it free voice, free flow. "Turn off, shut out and disallow" Do it *gently*, for the benefit of the world and all those who can't or won't.
|Posted By newjoizey|
| nothing wrong with being amateur |
'amateur' has a negative connotation in our society, but it really shouldn't, now should it? Amateur means "lover", and one would like think that all "professionals" are also "amateurs" of their craft, but I don't think this necessarily true. Professional just means you make money at what you do. What does "talented" mean anyway? The notion that success in music/art is not a meritocracy is pretty much the only thing that keeps me motivated, as there are so many naturally artistically gifted people out there, that even working my heart out, I would stand no chance if it actually were that way.
|Posted By Sol|
| OK... But.... |
What about all those amateur artists out there (at music conferences I've been to, most recently two weeks ago in LA) who are really persistent and courageous... But just not talented? I think the reason most amateur artists (and many pros, for that matter) are insecure and unsure of their talent is because it really is hard to get objective feedback, because sometimes we don't want to hear it, and because, as was pointed out above, there are plenty of pros who get validated (critical acclaim, money, etc.) who really aren't that good. I think our mistake as artists is to believe that that the artistic industry is a meritocracy. It's not. It's like every other industry human kind has invented where goods and services are traded for money. Success is based on a combination of good quality product, connections, being in the right place at the right time, perseverance, and savvy. Malcom Gladwell documented many examples of this in his book Outliers and his study of the factors that lead to "success" for many notable individuals, including famous artists. So, believing in oneself and one's talents is certainly necessary to carry us through periods of self-doubt, but to achieve success one must also solicit objective feedback, be persistent (not the same as being courageous), make the most (create the largest number of) opportunities for oneself... AND make the most of one's opportunities (be courageous).
|Posted By Rachel|
| Am-I-Mature???? |
"Well I just got back from my Music-Annonomous meeting...feels good to get it out... For me, well, I'm sorry, but I'm an artist...I can't help it... can't stop creating...what ever it is I am working on...Of course we all want affirmation...of course..I don't know where my art is meant to go..that's destiny. I just keep on going., creating.. Have an absolutely awesome day Michael! and everybody! Rachel
|Posted By walt|
| I gotta frame this |
Amen. If I accomplish nothing else, let me remember to keep the inner beast in the frame, where I can keep an eye on it. "Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And, then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -- Walt Whitman
|Posted By Carolina Hoyos|
| Definitely a Pro... |
Amen brother. I have certainly mastered the art of being rude to those who repeatedly try to distract me and just can't understand my level of commitment to the development of my art and career. In my opinion, they are not worth my time. In fact, some I've cut out completely... got enough doubt in my own mind to fight and hell, I'm on a winning streak =)
|Posted By Lydon|
| Van Gogh |
So would Van Gogh be consider an amateur since he died in poverty and was born before his time ? Now his paintings sell for millions. Was he a pro or not ? How about Art for Art's sake and if you get paid it's icing on top of the cake ? Sincerely BUGZLUXOR
|Posted By Harvey sid|
| I could be wrong. |
I always thought that the difference between an amateur and a pro is about $200. www.youtube.com/user/astrologysongs
|Posted By mark|
| Pros vs. Amateurs |
I guess there's no secret to being a successful musician. Just deep desire and a willingess to do it regardless of the odds. Thanks Mike Mark G
|Posted By Darren Lovio|
| amateur/pro |
Excellent articule! Your words ring loud and true!
|Posted By Conley Abrams|
| Pro vs Amateurs |
Very well said,
|Posted By Lydon Keith|
| I AGREE |
THANX FOR THE GREAT TRUTH BETWEEN PROS AND AMATEURS... I AGREE.. BEST WISHES. SINCERELY BUGZLUX
|Posted By Ronda|
| Amateur/Pro |
Great blog today!
|Posted By Ryan|
| Nice |
Wow! I read your blog and really appreciate it but this is the first time I've felt to comment on it. You really got my attention with this one. Keep up the great work of inspiration and honesty. Thank you
|Posted By Jerry Gerber|
| Amateur/Pro |
I think it is a bit more complicated. In the commercial arts, which seems to be what you are mainly referring to, it is not just what you know, and what you can do, it is who you know. Sometimes the difference between an amateur and a pro is based on social connections. Sometimes, amateurs have excellent work habits, much courage and discipline, maybe more so than so-called pros. In music, the American composer Charles Ives never earned a living in composition, but he could blow circles around most Hollywood pros in terms of his craft and his aesthetic originality. Same with the great Scandinavian composer Carl Nielsen. His symphonies, now recorded by the San Francisco Symphony, are masterworks, yet he probably was not a "professional" composer in the sense that he taught music. The word "professional", in our culture, simply means you make money doing it. The more noble meaning of the word is that of mastery, knowledge, understanding within a given field of knowledge. There are numerous Hollywood composers who cannot orchestrate their own works. Are they really professional in their skill set, or only in the sense that they earn money from music? See what I mean, it gets really complicated... Jerry Gerber www.jerrygerber.com
|Posted By Lucy|
| Am I an amateur or pro? |
Yes, I too am Lucy, but not the infamous Lucille Ball. Maybe because we share first names, I was always an admirer of hers. I never heard this quote, but I can certainly relate. Yes, the difference between amateurs and pros IS bravery! When I stopped listening to the voice in my head scolding me, saying, "Who do you think you are, anyway?" and pressed on, believing my identity interwoven with my talent...a gift...then really! I have no choice but to be brave and MOVE into my identity. I owe it to the One who gave me my creative gifts to take them on and boldly step OUT into my destiny. Not that every moment I feel and live this--many times I have to tell that demonic voice to SHUT UP! Thanks for the reminder.