Beethoven, when asked where his compositions sprang from, answered:
“They come to me in the silence of the night or in the early morning, stirred into being by moods.”
Beethoven contemplating the night sky and the challenges of capturing his deepest feelings in art . . .
“. . . when from time to time I try to give shape and form in sound to the feelings roused within me, alas! I meet with cruel disappointment. In disgust I throw away the sheet of paper I have soiled, and am almost convinced that no earth born being can ever hope to set down by means of sounds, words, color, or in sculpture, the heavenly pictures that rise before the awakened imagination! For only by hard, persistent labor through such powers as are bestowed on a man can the work of art be made worthy of the Creator and Preserver of everlasting nature.”
Stunning and sobering, isn’t it, to think how even Beethoven struggled. How he strove, often unsuccessfully, to capture those fleeting moments of his “awakened imagination” when they came to him. How he met “cruel disappointment” in creating his art.
When those moments of disappointment, of falling short in his aims, came to him, what did he come to realize? That only by “hard, persistent labor” using all the powers of creation bestowed on him could he hope to create art he considered worthy of the name.
So here’s his recipe for success: “the awakened imagination” combined with “hard, persistent labor.” We can do this! We can capture the flights of our imagination on paper by working hard and persistently, just as Beethoven captured his heavenly sounds. Write on!