Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Painter or Writer or What?

I thought you might like an inside view of what a writer might also do....

Imagine this canvas bunny surrounded by clover and white blooms. I hope. I'm painting it from a photo I took of a yard rabbit. Lovely photo. The canvas bunny is dubious at this point. :)

He's waiting while I'm working on my writing projects, poor unfinished thing. But hey, if he doesn't turn out, I'll just gesso him out and do something else.

I've lost some painting skills, because of not keeping up with painting. But my family likes these efforts and they're encouraging.

It's difficult for a writer who loves to do many creative projects to write and only write. (I love to bake, too.)

I love painting, and painted before I was published. But I'm getting back into painting now, and had to completely rebuy my acrylics.

Acrylics suit my fast pace now, as I am now a writer, busy with writing projects. Stacks of blank canvases wait.

These ducklings were my first return to painting. They are nothing but little fluff balls, the picture taken while walking along a river. I do like direction-type paintings and water, but gee, I should have chosen something easier than those ducklings. I like the one above and to the left of the mother; one who sets his/her own direction. Their little beaks are nothing but a stub. Sigh.

Because I find small painting difficult, these seagulls weren't that easy either. This basic photo was taken off the coast of California, but I fudged a little on the splash over the rocks. Palette knife would have been great on the rocks, but I've not yet returned to that level yet.

Okay, graphic artists. You can probably create that, too, but truly there is nothing like the drag of a brush on canvas. I spoke to another writer/painter who loves her brushes and canvases. She is also torn between loves and how to spend her creative time. Many writers are also creative in other fields, i.e. sewing handbags for one writer. (By the way, graphic artists, I'd love to use a drawing tablet and stylus, too.:))

Speaking as a painter (and not the quality I was when painting more) the colors and canvas also appear in written descriptions.

Generally, these creative streaks run writers, who pick up from their "other" sides. 

When I first started writing, this was what editors noticed: the scenes portrayed in words. But I saw them in my mind. They also noticed dialogue and characterization, and the rest, I set out to learn.

Somewhere I read that it takes two hours a day to perfect a skill. Again, it's difficult to make a time-choice for writer/painters. But there are plenty of us out here....

If you are a painter, photographer, etc., I understand. 

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Love Your Dreck Day

Love Your Dreck/Drek Day

Writers often complain that they're writing worthless Blah, Blah, Blah. It's termed Dreck/Drek.

Dreck is defined as Trash and Rubbish.

But Dreck, as it pertains to writing, is just a mush of ideas that can't quite take form, no matter how much we push them. There's nothing good about this mass of what we really want to write. Of the ideas circling our brains.

People, people. Dreck provides the doorway to what some people term as Writers Block. Personally, I do not believe in WB, the darkly feared boogeyman man of writers. Do not focus on what you think is WB. The more you focus on it, say it, you're setting it firmly into your creative brain and actually creating your block... Do not even think it. But more on that later.

When you're looking at that blank page on the screen, that first page, it's terrifying. Questions like, "I know I have a good idea, but what if I can't write it?" circle your brain. 

Okay, well, to get rid of that first page fear, here's a tip: Type in your regular format page, i.e. Name/Address/Contact left corner; go down spaces, Title Something, by Someone. Power down. Leave the page for awhile. When you come back, that page isn't blank anymore. This according to my own psychology of myself.

Writers have to do a lot of that, reassuring themselves, pulling little tricks to make them more comfortable with The Piece, The Work, The Book/Short Story.

So that takes us to Dreck, possibly the most valuable tool in our arsenal. 

You see, before a story starts to take shape, there are all sorts of ideas that the writer wants to infuse into his story. It's a huge bundle, even for the most efficient plotter. (You know there are Plotters and Plungers, right? :))

So here's this mass of material at the start of actual writing. We want all of it in the story, somewhere. But where to begin?

Just pick a Story spot that's best for that moment. Write. Write that Dreck. Free it. Push it out. Write more Dreck, stuff that doesn't move in a cohesive line, just a bunch of drivel, dotted with punctuation. This is probably your first chapter. Do not allow yourself to be discouraged when you do not have perfect prose, the perfect starting place for your story. Write on, Dreckers.

Dreck is a start, and that's a doorway through and into your story realm.

Sit back and take a look at your Dreck, this whole mass of too much that has to be filtered through the storyline. Your story is in there, but the pieces are too many to pick the right starting place. Snag a piece you think might work and write the Second Chapter. Then the third.

Go back to Chapter One and review. It's probably still a big lump of ideas. You may wish to cut that chapter, start with another scene, etc.  By the time you're 3/4 through the writing, you may want to go back to the start and infuse another element that just popped up, or delete an element/storyline that just isn't working.

The point of writing Dreck is that it gets the writer started. And that's what is important.

So, have you written your Dreck recently?