I lack the motor skills required to be an artist. So I'm in awe of anyone -- artists and musicians -- and their creations. Sure, I play a little guitar. But who doesn't? To me, a guitar is just a G-chord machine.
Sculptors especially impress me. As a teen, I was fortunate enough to go to Italy and see Florence. One of the most vivid memories of the trip was seeing Michelangelo's David. I don't know anything about art, or sculpture, but there's something appealing about the workman-like nature of the form. Hammers. Chisels. Blow torches. Take a perfectly good piece of material and find the gem that's hidden inside it. The paradox of creation through destruction.
That's what struck me about the sculpture. Michelangelo chipped away everything that wasn't David.
That's a lot like editing. John McPhee wrote this fantastic article for The New Yorker two years ago about the agony of writing, and the satisfaction of editing. Like Michelangelo, he describes the process of taking away everything that isn't the story, and how the drafts progress from intolerable, to just plain bad, to OK, to maybe good. Leave the last part up to the reader.
I make a living editing. When I write, it's hard to get the editor out of my head. But like McPhee, writing is the hardest part. Getting that first draft out of me requires some procedures outlawed under the Geneva Conventions. The workmanship, and the fun, comes in the editing process.