A little bit plus a little bit adds up to a whole lot. I learned this life lesson 25 years ago when I needed a photo of myself for the jacket of my first book. I visited a local photographer and was enthralled with his studio. He had one wall that was covered floor to ceiling with framed photos, each one was 5” X 5.” All were senior portraits of high school kids. There must have been fifteen rows with twenty photos per row, adding up to several hundred portraits overall!
Clearly, this man, Keith Keiser, had experience with portraiture. But he was a wise guy too – in the kindest sense – for as I stood there wowed by the wall, he reminded me that this accomplishment was created one photo at a time, over many years in business.
Having been wowed by the great wall of Keith Keiser, I almost have no words to explain how I felt upon visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. On one level of the museum there is a large room that has THREE walls with floor to ceiling framed works of art – all of his Saturday Evening Post covers in chronological order. I could not be more literal than to say it was breathtaking! Overwhelming!
Here are the facts of his prolific artistic life:
- He was 22 when his first Saturday Evening Post cover appeared.
- He had 321 more Saturday Evening Post covers over the next 47 years.
- This was just a portion of the more than 4000 original artworks he created in his 84 years of life.
I could likewise go on and on about my feelings toward Barbra Streisand who has 117 singles, 35 studio albums, 9 compilations, 7 live albums, and 15 soundtracks to her name, but I think I have made my point that all of these artists have created great legacies and that they have done it one work of art at a time, over years of creative endeavor.
The question becomes, why am I writing about this? Well, it is said that we teach best that which we most need to learn and I am trying to teach this lesson to myself. With a newly launched website and Etsy shop, I want instant success! I wish I had started all this creative stuff a year ago! No, that’s a lie. I want to have started five years ago! But instead, I started in September 2017 and have no choice but to work day by day over weeks and months and years to build my legacy.
On social media, I often post comments such as these for people like me who are striving to reach a dream:
- Step by step and inch by inch, I move toward my goal.
- Ya gotta keep on keeping on.
- I think I can, I think I can.
- One step a day in the direction of your goal – even a tiny step – will take you far over a month’s time.
- Just do it!
- Stay the course.
- I can and I will.
All of these encouraging words are lovely, aren’t they? But instant gratification would be so much more pleasant!
Like the famous story about the tortoise and the
hare, slow and steady wins the race.