Lessons Learned From Ruined Sculpture


For my art minor in college, one of the core classes I needed to take was sculpture. I assumed I would love the class and be halfway decent at it; but I quickly discovered that 3D art is most certainly not among the gifts God has given me.

I left that class with nothing to show for it. There was not one single piece I felt proud of, or would ever consider mounting upon my shelf for the world to see. Yet, out of all the art courses I partook in, Sculpture taught me the most important lesson: detachment.

I distinctly remember my immense disappointment when the one and only piece I was relatively happy with was ruined mid-process. My rubber mold of a clay relief sculpture failed to solidify properly, and as a result, squashed the clay (along with my hopes and dreams). I had worked so hard. It had even turned out pretty good. And now, I had to start from square one…

But my second attempt was three times better.

As I’m getting into the nitty gritty of my second draft of my novel-in-progress, A Whitewashed Tomb, I am indebted to this invaluable lesson. It taught me to believe that if I am willing to let go of something good, something great will replace it.

“Hard” does not do it justice. It is excruciating to destroy something you’ve made with craft and strain and love. Yet, I am unafraid as I massacre my first draft to make way for a second. I delete scenes, entire chapters, major plot points and even characters with the firm conviction that I will be three times more proud of what is to come.

So the moral of the story is: when at first you kind of succeed, do it again anyway!