Some helpful tips about sketchbooks.
Many years ago when I was studying art in school, a teacher at the time walked by my easel as I was working and said something to the effect, “You have such a painterly style.” I thought she just meant that I was applying paint like I was slopping it on a bedroom wall..
Yes, that’s pretty much my style.
Not surprisingly I have spent quite a bit of time studying the paintings of the Impressionists who were masters at the “painterly” style. The classical way of learning the fine arts was by copying the work of the old masters. When it comes to landscapes, I imitate Claude Monet; but when it comes to figures, Pierre-Auguste Renoir is my man.
Renoir was a master at using light, color, form, and just a touch of line to capture figures in a moment of time doing ordinary activities.
I just love his work. I hope my work does him justice.
As I stated in my Sunday post, I have stopped working the creativity recovery program I had started two months ago. I am sure this program and others like it work for a lot of people, but not for me. I encourage those individuals to keep working at it. As for me, I have another way.
The only thing that helps me to overcome a writing block is the physical act of writing. I write something everyday. Sometimes it is only in one of my journals. Sometimes it is just posting silliness on my Facebook page. Sometimes you get a blog post like this.
If you were to ask me my advice on writing, I would say:
1) Carry a journal and pen or an electronic device with a note-taking program with you AT ALL TIMES;
2) once a day in the journal or on the device, write one sentence that is an observation of something around you or in your life. Just one sentence. It can even be one word;
3) then try for a second sentence;
4) and then a third;
5) and keep writing sentences until no more come.
6) You will end up with at least one sentence a day. Add them all up and you will have at least 365 sentences. You will probably end up with a lot more. It is exponential once you are on a roll.
Then, if you do feel the need of some wisdom from those more experienced (and who doesn’t?), study your favorite writers. And if they have written books on writing, you have hit the jackpot.
Here is a list of my favorite books on writing. I refer to them often. Actually, most of the advice I give above are variations and paraphrases from some of these books.
Bird-by-Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King
Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury
Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg
Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, by Natalie Goldberg
Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words, by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge.
Now, get off-line and write. 🙂
Obligatory Disclaimer: I did not receive any of these books from the publishers. I bought ’em all and I like ’em all. 🙂
I came across a site that I am adding to my list of resources: Magnetic Poetry. You’ve seen these before, I’m sure– those little magnets you move around ro make verses. You can fool around with this online now. From a little play session I derived this:
Drunk on catnip and instinct,
tortoiseshell goddess of the night,
you howl your lovesick love song
in a flood of full moonlight.
Your clowder of lovers
from my back fence leap
to worship your beauty
And rouse me from sleep.
Postscript: I thought the word “eat” in the image was “cat”. What a totally different poem I would have crafted if I had followed through on “eat”.
Besides actually writing, listening to other riders talk about their craft is another way to learn how to write. YouTube is a great resource for this. One of my favorite authors is Ray Bradbury, and he was particularly generous in giving interviews and talking about his process. Here is an 11 minute video of how conceived and wrote Fahrenheit 451 .