Although this blog was started primarily as an outlet for my paintings, I feel it’s time I come out of the closet and tell you that although my heart belongs to painting, it also kind of belongs to writing, probably about equally as much.  But I don’t advertise that fact because I feel a lot more private about my writing.  Perhaps I don’t feel quite as confident in my abilities as a writer, perhaps I feel like there’s more of me in my writing than in my paintings, or that I can’t hide the autobiographical aspects as well in the written medium as I can with paint.

Whatever it is, I always considered writing a pleasant hobby, but my painting something that I should be getting ‘serious’ about. I always did well in school whenever we had writing projects, I was part of a two-woman writing club (Crypt Milkshakes – don’t ask), and I almost always have something or other on the go, but somehow the visual art was what I got most of the praise for, so that’s what my identity sort of solidified around.  But the painting just isn’t enough for me.  Paintings let me create a thing of beauty, a litte snapshot to hang on a wall, a solid item.  But writing lets me create a world I can escape to when this real world gets a little bit dreary or depressing, which, let’s face it, is a lot of the time.  It’s either that or anti-depressants, so it’s vital to me.

But I’ve suffered from writer’s block the same way I’ve suffered from painter’s block in the last few years.  As I said in my introduction, I’ve read so many books for getting your creative mojo back and tricks of the trade both for painters and writers, but so far nothing’s stuck.

Until today, I think.  And it came from the unlikeliest of sources.  I spent the weekend at my mother-in-law’s house in the country.  She lives in a gorgeous Victorian house with a nice big garden that’s been lovingly tended and landscaped and a study and a conservatory that always make me think of the game Clue, even though they are admittedly much less grand.  My sister-in-law is a writer too – she actually makes her living at it – so there are quite a few books on writing on the bookshelves in the study, and I raided those shelves this weekend and found a couple books that looked interesting and borrowed them.

Since last night I’ve been reading a book called ‘Becoming a Writer’ by Dorothea Brande.  It’s not your typical book on how to write plots and develop characters, it’s more a psychology book for writers who are struggling to get started despite a keen desire to write.  I was shocked, because it really hit home, all of it, and seemed to touch on so many of the things I was secretly worrying about or the bad habits I had developed that are keeping me stuck where I am with, actually, both my writing and painting.  And even more surprising, it was written in 1934!  But, aside from some references to typewriters and ‘contemporary’ writers like Faulkner and Virginia Woolf, it really seems like it could have been written by someone today, and it all applies today as much as it did back then.  So I’ve decided to do the first and most important exercise she prescribes – writing for a half hour every morning first thing when still half-asleep, and writing for 15 minutes at a specific and exact time in the evenings (9pm for me).

I guess my purpose of telling you all here is both to recommend this book to anyone trying to write, who hasn’t yet read it, and also to announce my intention to follow this schedule, so that I’m more inclined to stick with it, and so that people don’t try to call me up/talk to me from 9:00-9:15PM! 😉

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