There is an artist - lets say it's early 20th century French Impressionist, Monet. He is sitting in the garden behind his house. Simply sitting. His neighbor looks over the fence and exclaims, "Ah, Monsieur! You are resting!" The artist, taken aback, corrects him, saying, "I am working."
Confused, the neighbor retreats until the next day when once again he looks over the fence and this time sees the artist set up with his easel and paints. Confident, he says, "Ah, Monsieur! You are working!"
To which the artist replies, "No, now I am resting."
I first heard this story from Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D in "The Creative Fire". I feel it perfectly encapsulates the bewildering artistic process. The bulk of the real labor is the hours and hours of reflection and rehearsal that goes into a finished piece. Labor that often can't be quantified or easily explained when asked, "What did you do today?" The quiet, but in many cases, taxing process of "gathering steam", letting ideas and impressions build and take shape. The execution of the art itself - the flow of it - truly does feel like rest.
That's my experience anyway! What about you? Can you relate to the "real work" in your field being something others might not recognize or immediately value? Leave your comments below and share with friends or on social media to get their take as well!