4. Learn from the Masters
When I was little, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I'm not sure that I necessarily had a knack for it, but I desperately wanted to do it. I loved books. Wait, no... I loved books. I loved words. I loved how words worked together to form thoughts. I loved how some were stronger than others, and when certain sequences were created, I could be transported anywhere: to another planet, another world, another time in history, another way of life, another person's mind... the thought of it excited me; and I wanted to take part in this mysterious, beautiful craft.
As I consumed books at an alarming rate; learning new words, understanding certain sequences, punctuation, literary devices (If you ask my mom, almost everything that I know about the English language I did not learn from my school textbooks, though I did them anyway. :P), character development and so much more, observation and passion for words was my teacher.
Even now as I read some of my favorite works, books filled with rich character development, excellence in description, choice wording--it sets my creative heart on fire. I want to be a part of that!
I believe it is the same any time that we observe excellence in any area of art. If it be music, listen to the finest. If it be painting, feast your eyes on only the best. Research, read, listen, observe--fill your mind with excellence!
The Bible gives us a standard for our work,
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father." ~Colossians 3:17
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God." ~1 Corinthians 10:31
God has called us to represent Him here on the earth--we are to bring His glory in everything that we do! Whether it be the exciting mode of art or even just mundane routine of doing your chores in the morning, He calls us to His glory and excellence in everything that we do!
Praise be to God that there have been those gone before to pave a way for us and show us what excellence looks like! Don't let their work be in vain; consume it, treasure it, enjoy it, then allow it to fuel your creative fire to go and multiply it.
Be blessed, I apologize for the delay in posting! :-)