After one of my latest posts, where I showed some vulnerability and admitted that I was struggling with writing, a friend suggested to read something. So I did. I’ve just finished the biography ‘Kapuscinski non-fiction’ by Artur Domoslawski and it left me inspired in many different ways.
Not only have I learnt more about the nuances of politics, journalism, information flow and propaganda in Poland under the communistic regime, but I have got a ticket to the private studio of an artist, who despite the worldwide recognition for his writing was experiencing similar emotions like I do: doubt, comparing oneself to other “better” artists, dissatisfaction with one’s finished work and even bigger regret because of all the books he knew he’d not manage to write, fear of criticism or even rejection of feedback and contradictory opinions, thinking they were just another criticism in disguise.
An even more interesting lesson was what he always repeated to his students and young journalists: for every page that you write, you should read 100 pages of other authors’ writing. The biographer also found in Kapuscinski’s notes a quote from Jules Renard’s journal, which in my opinion is worth printing, writing down, drawing, tattooing, etc. by any artist:
Talent is a question of quantity. Talent does not write one page: it writes three hundred. No novel exists which an ordinary intelligence could not conceive; there is no sentence, no matter how lovely, that a beginner could not construct. What remains is to pick up the pen, to rule the paper, patiently to fill it up. The strong do not hesitate. They settle down, they sweat, they go on to the end. The exhaust the ink, they use up the paper. This is the only difference between men of talent and cowards who will never make start. In literature, there are only oxen. The biggest ones are the geniuses‑the ones who toll eighteen hours a day without tiring. Fame is a constant effort.