Some people love meetings, seminars, group discussions and workshops. They love to organise, supervise, attend, officiate and administer them. They love the meeting, seminar or workshop process more than they love the skill or craft these processes are meant to improve. Often accused of being workshop junkies, they are meeters rather than masters of their craft.
Dedication and devotion are required if you want to hone your craft. If gardening, sewing, teaching, writing, painting or woodworking is a skill you have, or one that you want to acquire, then learning from others is an obvious place to start. Forming committees, attending meetings or group discussions, or workshops and seminars on the subject, in the first instance will develop a craft, skill or talent. These activities will connect and bond you to others with similar interests, and sharing knowledge and skills is clearly beneficial, but overall, if these activities dominate then they will not bring you closer to improving your abilities in the long term.
If you want to improve your skills, the real rewards come from practise. You have to practise your craft every day, over and over and over again, and far, far beyond the point where the novelty and your passion for it wear off. You have to go a long way past being in love with what you do and into being out of love with it. You have to be sick of it. You have to know how to hate it in order to qualify as a lover who is intimate with your craft.
A guitarist will play until their fingers bleed, in an effort to master more than one riff. A permaculturist puts their time and energy into cleaning up their own back yard rather than spending more time and energy sitting in meetings discussing how to do it. An artist will continue to buy paint when others would pay the rent. You must fall out of love with your craft. Then you have to make up to it. You have to forgive your craft for betraying you, for pushing you over the edge or for disappointing you, because it has asked too much from you. And if that isn’t enough to test your devotion and dedication to it, then you must move into a place of deep, soulful companionship with your craft, where you are at one in companionable silence with it.
A potential master has to be prepared to go up and down, backwards and forwards, and into and out of, and back again with their craft, but instead, a dilettante avoids these depths, twists and turns by keeping this bittersweet creative experience to a minimum. Talking about their craft at meetings is one way to do that. Keeping up appearances is important to a dilettante; meanwhile, the professional gets on with it, despite the dilettante’s public displays of hairy chest beating, noise and chatter.
Not all meeters are workshop junkies. By overdoing the group meeting process, workshop junkies are those who attend workshops or meetings in an effort to avoid an intimate relationship with their creativity or their skill or talent. This is not to say that meeters are dilettantes either. The reverse is true. Meeters are masters of their craft. Their craft is the art of calling a meeting, workshop or discussion group and all the work that goes with forming the group meeting process. Their ability has less to do with the topic of the meeting or workshop and much more to do with the actual management of the meeting or workshopping process.
Soul companionship with your craft is harder to achieve when you spend more of your time, energy, space and money talking about it with others. You have to go all way with your craft. Talking about doing your craft does not constitute even a quarter measure required to hone it. If you want to do more than meet your craft, you have to become a hands-on expert at it. It’s time to stop meeting and start mastering. You have to live it and breathe it. You have to do it until it becomes second nature.