In my last post, I explored the question of whether it was more important to have artistic skill, or to master the craft of writing. While the easy answer is “both”, it is not always easy to have both aspects in balance. There are countless books, articles, and websites that offer advice on How To Write Well; i.e., mastering the craft of writing. But what about The Artist in all of us? After all, that is the source of all the ideas, and what drives us to write; it is the will to create something from nothing. Without inspiration, where would all the words come from?
Well, from robots, I guess. But that is another story…….
So how does one keep their Inner Artist well-fed and productive? Here are a few things that have worked for me:
Reading about it– Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is the unofficial “guidebook” for honoring and encouraging your inner artist, no matter which art form you choose. Her follow-up, Walking In This World, focuses more on writing as a tool to release your inner creative spirit.
Journaling– been doing this since I could hold a pen. Get those feelings out!
Writing Prompts– challenge yourself, get your brain going by short writing bursts. Don’t overthink it.
Poetry– see my earlier posts on the benefit of poetry for writers- there are many!
Research- Wandering the internet can be a time suck, so allot some time and just look up things that interest you for current or future WIP’s
Brainstorming– for plotting or premise ideas. Fun with a buddy or group, too.
Other artistic pursuits– drawing, painting, music, dance; whatever strikes your fancy.
Mundane tasks– where your mind is free to roam; repetitive tasks are best.
Perhaps that is why writing the first draft can be so fulfilling, so enjoyable, even when it turns out to need a ton of re-work and editing. When writing a story for the first time, you are free to create, to let your imagination take over, without (too much) thought of what may need to be fixed. The tedious and often painful (but ultimately necessary and satisfying) work of editing will come soon enough.
So don’t neglect your Artistic side. It is just as important, and has as much work to do as your Craft/Business side.
How do you keep your Inner Artist fed?