State of the Art: Getting to It

After all my posts about material snobbery, I had myself a little pep talk about just getting to it. When it comes to visual art I’m pretty easily able to just get to it, but when it comes to writing, well, not so much.

I cleaned out my reading nook, an area in the house, not an electronic device. The reading nook functions as a space where I drink tea, read, and write. IN the nook I have a couple of book shelves. The shelves are filled with my professional books about art therapy, when I had a traditional office those lived there. Now they are at home. I also have all my art books.

On a single small shelf are my writing books. There are only a handful but they live closest to the chair, where I can grab them and muse on their pages. Also on these small shelves live my composition notebooks. Not the empties, but those I’ve filled with my writing. I had to stop myself from writing BAD there. The writing isn’t bad, it mostly just a series of shitty first drafts. The other half of the comp books are filled with what I call my story bibles- character snippets and outlines. I write about the settings and people in the books, name ideas and the such. IF I made post it notes or index cards, I stick these into the story bible.

Anyway, after cleaning out my nook, I sat with my story bibles and novels that I wrote over the pandemic.

Surprisingly they aren’t half bad. Honestly, I’m not sure why I was so hard on myself. I mean, the pandemic, work stress, and all that contributes but these stories are at least half as good as some of the stuff I’ve read recently.

Maybe because things are going well- work is good, my family is good, and I’m not feeling the pressure of the world, I’m feeling better about my life and thus better about  my work.

I took my long weekend to take a story that has been stuck in my head on and off since I started a rough outline and character sketch and I reworked the sketches so they fit my ideas now, and then I hacked out a rough outline. After that I started to write.

All this makes me wonder about what it takes to do our creative work and how it changes as we age. When I was in my early 20s, I made art all the time. I produced zines. Because I was in my early 20s my life was a mess, but it never stopped me from creating. I used anything I got my hands on to make art. I stole photocopies at work and made my own screens for screen-printing. I experimented. I moved around.

Art was a constant. Writing was relegated to blogging.

And that worked for me for a long time. I hadn’t had an urge to write fiction in forever. I made time for the things I had urges for- art and blogging.

I’m not sure my point, but a good question is what art do you have urges to create? Make time for them, allow yourself to create and make.

I’ve always held the belief that for those of us with creative urges, it’s imperative to our mental health that we follow them in some manner. Ignoring the creative urge will only leave us bitter and unhappy.

Remember creativity in one area will feed creativity in another.

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