Earlier today, I read this tweet from @CutterStreeby:
"What's one piece of advice that you'd give to a younger you about art/writing?"
That stopped me in my tracks and made me think. This is a powerful writing prompt for you to use if it sparks ideas for you, too.
My answering tweet about writing was:
"Don't stop writing when life gets in the way. Write during lunch or late at night after working 2 jobs. Keep going, you'll be glad you did."
If I could tell 18, 23, 28, or 31 year old me anything, that would encapsulate a lot. I was sporadic in my writing, especially after high school. Most of my writing was buried in a desk drawer, so I could avoid it.
I felt like the goal of becoming a published and/ or professional writer was something out of reach. Something for a select few.
I didn't have a writing degree. I wasn't a journalist. I needed a reliable paycheck to pay my bills.
My writing was put on a back burner and life got in the way, in several every day kind of ways:
- When I was too tired at night to even think about digging my manuscript out of my desk.
- Time off was spent decompressing from the hectic, busy workday.
- My lunch break was spent grateful that I could sit, since my job was very physical and filled with constant motion.
- Picking up a part time job to supplement my full time job, left a smaller window of opportunity.
- The list could go on and on.
I wrongly figured that I needed to have huge chunks of uninterrupted free time in order to write my book. That couldn't be further from the truth.
It is more about setting up writing as a priority, and breaking it into manageable day to day chunks. The smaller bite size pieces make it feel more attainable and keep overwhelm at a minimum. It is also how I wrote and published my first two books. Writing for an hour each day, after I completed my mind map and outline.
As for art, what I wish I could tell myself was to keep painting. Something I am diligently working on during my 100 Day Project, consistently producing a painting a day.
Art was fun in high school. I opted for Ceramics, Photography, Statute Sketching, and my absolute favorite was Experimental Art. That class was the first time I was given a sketchbook and told to make it mine. We had to constantly sketch in there, take notes on demonstrations on new techniques, and it was turned in each semester for a grade.
Experimental Art was where I learned how to use oil paint and watercolors. We ran out of time before getting to acrylic paints. The class also covered useful stuff like picking subjects for your painting, working with pictures, correct perspective, etc.
The best part of the class was the doing part. We didn't learn about a bunch of stuffy old guys, we put paint on a canvas, sketched, or learned techniques. I learned a lot in a short amount of time. When things get rocky for me personally, I find myself going back to paint. My next step is to complete my one hundred days, then reassess where I will go next.
Last night's painting is the one featured at the top of this blogpost. It is a piece inspired by a video I stumbled across on YouTube here about the Ataribox. It is a mysterious video, and you can sign up for email updates to find out more. A possible Atari home console sounds awesome! Finding out about it in the middle of painting some of my favorite Atari games from when I was a kid, makes it even better. My biggest hope is that my favorite games will be coming back, too. (Please Pitfall II, please!!)
Bottom line, if there is something you are passionate about, DON'T STOP. Don't give up. Find a way to continue by making the time for it, as the priority it is.
Is there something you're going to make time for this week that you've been meaning to get back into?