I painted today.
If you are a serious author and you write, you should paint.
Let me rephrase that.
If you write, you need to find a hobby you can attack when your brain needs a rest from writing.
There is something about engaging that right brain that also engages the left. Since I have begun my painting spree, the words are flowing like water from an open spigot.
A few years ago, when I was trying to find my way as a writer, I read a book by Julia Cameron, called “The Artist’s Way.” I highly recommend this book if you feel frustration in your writing, and you need help unleashing the creative side of yourself. We all have this side, but most people never tap into it their entire lives. If you have always dreamt of being a writer, but were blocked from limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, this book seeks to help you replace them with artistic confidence and productivity.
One of her recommendations is to get into the habit of writing what she aptly calls “Morning Pages.”
In other words, journaling.
Get out the journal first thing in the morning, and let it all hang out.
Write, write, write whatever is clogging up your little head. Write about the little tick you hear in the car, write about having to call your mom, write about feeling depressed or blue. This is what is called stream-of-consciousness writing. You are head dumping onto the page to clear out your mind for your more productive writing time. This was a totally new concept to me.
Not edit as I write? Shocking!
I am a bug-a-boo about grammar and perfection.
You are not to worry about re-reading, or editing, or correcting. Leave it as is, and don’t even go back and read it right then. If you want to later on, fine. Just don’t do it in that one sitting. I have now been engaging in this practice for years, and I can’t believe how cathartic this process has become for me.
The other recommendation that brought me to the painting table?
An artist’s date.
A date with yourself that you are supposed to set for once a week.
You must honor this date as you would a date with your beloved that you would never consider breaking. You must get yourself out of the house, and go haunt the thrift stores, antique stores, art shows, or whatever. Take yourself someplace you’ve always wanted to go. Go sit on the beach and watch the sunrise or sunset.
Writers tend to isolate themselves and sit for way too long (which is another subject for fitness), and we become like bumps on a log. We become stale and stagnant and well, you know what happens there. Our writing gets stale and stinky and we get writer’s block. Get out in the fresh air, treat yourself and don’t you dare not show up!
OK. So back to my painting date with myself.
Am I a master painter like Da Vinci or Dali? No way. I revived this fun little hobby from my youth when I noticed my little cat and dog garden figurines were looking a little shabby. I mentioned it to hubby and he searched high and low (at Walmart) for some multi-colored acrylic paints that I could use to paint to my heart’s content.
My projects began usually first thing in the morning (with coffee in hand, of course) on our wrought iron table out on the patio.
I had so much fun giving both a facelift that I moved on to the faded stepping stone. It needed a good rinsing off under some water, and once dry I got to task in the tropical sunshine, and our faded little stepping stone went from ugh to vrooomm! It is now gracing our garden with its new found beauty. I receive the feeling of satisfaction every time I glance its way—a satisfaction that only comes from knowing it is a job you have completed all by yourself!
Then I got on a tear.
A new thought wriggled its way into my subconscious mind. Hmmm….I can repaint all of the smaller garden decorations the same way–those little daisies and their leaves, the flying bird, spade and bucket and birdhouse. Well, you get the idea. Before you know it, I had repainted every last one of them. Hubby sprayed them with an acrylic to seal them and keep them looking pretty.
Now I’ve run out of things to paint.
Before I start on the furniture inside the house, I believe I will make a trip to Hobby Lobby to see what I can beautify for my Christmas presents and then I will go write some more!
Leave a comment and let me know what your hobbies are. Do you feel they help you to be a better writer?
Penelope Silvers is founder of PhilosBooks.com,
where “Independent Authors are introduced to the World!”
She is a freelance writer, publisher, and radio host of
Penelope’s Book Chat on Blog Talk Radio.