Habits are a strange concept. You want to break the “bad” habits, and start the “good” habits, and that’s a lot to expect from something our brains designed to help us get through each day so we can conserve energy for the big things.
I’ve been trying–and failing A LOT–to start the habit of daily drawing. Inktober really opened my eyes to my need to create art, and I already knew that I think in pictures. Novel writing is the process of me learning to slow the pictures enough to describe them to a reader, so why not put in the pictures, too? Life keeps putting great stories in front of me that are drawn very… Well, you don’t have to be Bilal, Serpieri, or “Moebius” to tell a story with pictures. (I mean, have you seen “The Walking Dead” original comic? Clean and clear, but simple.)
But, FIRST you have to give yourself permission to do the creative thing, the fulfilling thing, even if it’s not one of the official “important things.” I’ve bought a few high quality art supplies, but they sat, unused. I found my old art supplies, packed up for probably a decade or more, but they continue to sit, unused. So, I bought some really cheap art supplies, but they have also sat for three weeks, unused. The few times I’ve drawn in the past month are just pencil sketches. I can’t seem to give myself permission to play. Where is this block coming from?
So, for now, I’m researching habits, and how to start them. Maybe more pencil sketches will relax me enough to reach for the charcoal pencils, or even–gasp!–the charcoal sticks! (I’m already wiping my hands in reflex.)
Revisions for my Sci-fi Romance are going very well. I’ve had some real “Eureka!” moments. For those who don’t know, I come from a family of serious DIY people. “Good homeowners just do it themselves,” is the family motto, even when you’re renting. Need to tile a bathroom? Fix a leaky pipe? Put up drywall? Read a book, find a video, figure it out yourself. The DIY lifestyle also applies to cars, jobs, health–mental and physical–and pretty much everything else that life can throw at you. Just do it yourself. Surprisingly, this attitude has mostly worked for us, both as a unit and individuals.
So, for various reasons, I’ve brought that attitude to my writing, and there is PLENTY of writing advice out there. I’ve recently come across a couple of books that seem to have expanded and refined my sense of storytelling, and I’m excited to share them with you in my “Low-Budget Writing Program.” I’ll have the newest post up as soon as I can get it organized. I hope it will help those of you who are DIY writers, whether you are shooting for self-publication or trying to improve enough for acceptances from agents or editors.
Of course, the increased perception has caused a reaction of “OMG, I’m a horrible writer,” but that is expected and will be worked through. Focused practice and skill progression will calm the panic. This ‘aint my first time in the saddle.
On a last note, if you have not cultivated a few trusted beta readers then you NEED to work on that. Not only will you understand storytelling better when you have to explain to someone what they have missed, but an outsider’s eye on your own work is priceless. Well, not priceless, since editors will have a rate to charge you, but I think you understand what I mean.
I have a few people I have exchanged work with and they have saved my bacon this month. I spied an anthology that would be a good fit for one of my developing short stories, so I rushed through a readable rough draft. BUT, without a chance to let it get “cold” any objective revision would be difficult. I begged for help. Everyone came back with notes early, so I have time to revise before I submit. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Be well, my friends, and Happy Writing!