LATE BLOOMERS by Malcolm Gladwell

Full title: LATE BLOOMERS: WHY DO WE EQUATE GENIUS WITH PRECOCITY? by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker October 20, 2008

     Gads I needed to read this! I bet you do too. Most of my writer/illustrator friends are not prodigies. They are not young. They are mid-something, struggling to get it right. Trying this, trying that, frustrated, giving up, starting over. Me too. Turns out - that's okay. There is nothing lost from not coming out of the box a formed genius. It is just the workings of a different creative mind - an experimental vs. conceptual mind...
     Galenson’s idea that creativity can be divided into these types—conceptual and experimental—has a number of important implications. For example, we sometimes think of late bloomers as late starters. They don’t realize they’re good at something until they’re fifty, so of course they achieve late in life. But that’s not quite right.
     The Cézannes of the world bloom late not as a result of some defect in character, or distraction, or lack of ambition, but because the kind of creativity that proceeds through trial and error necessarily takes a long time to come to fruition... ...Cézanne was trying something so elusive that he couldn’t master it until he’d spent decades practicing.
     And Gladwell backs up his argument with examples - tons of glorious examples - of the ages top creators made their masterpieces. Most were older than you'd think.
There's so much pressure in art to blow onto the scene as a young phenom, creators sometimes feel rushed to get it right and FAST. (I did, anyhow.) And phenoms do exist, which just nails the coffin all the tighter. But while these artists are profound and talented, their approach is one of conceptualization - finding. Whereas the experimental artist's approach is one of searching - which takes time. Neither is wrong or less valuable. They are completely different.
     Anyhow - I'm trying to summarize an entire article which may have just changed my life. Experimental vs. Conceptual. I know which one I am, how about you?
     (Click the title to go read the whole article.)


Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

This is flipping brilliant! And oh, how I needed it today. Thanks for posting this, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

It hit me at the right time too Mary Ann. Glad you enjoyed it! :) e

Shanda McCloskey said...

I read the whole article! I needed to see the budgeting, scheduling, and support from friends and family that the main writer written about received to find his art. Sometimes I feel like I have to plan the daylights out of life to find the time and money to pursue writing and illustrating. Is it this hard for anyone else? Apparently I'm not alone at all:) I actually felt like a prodigy when I was in school, but when I commited my heart to books I realized I have a long path ahead of me. I didn't just amaze everyone. I have much to learn. And that is hard for me to get used to and (at the same time) is an adventure I cannot abandon:)

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Shanda, I can so relate. My young mind had the idea that the industry had been waiting for me to walk through the doors - "I'm here!" "What a relief - we need you!" Yah, no. Didn't happen that way at all. That was just the beginning of the struggle!!! But it CAN be done! More power to ya! :) e