Goals and Letting Go

I’ve been a storyteller my whole life. And I’ve been good at writing since we started learning to write paragraphs in elementary school. Combining the two was pretty natural. And I discovered a love for story structure and all things writing advice related. Clearly I was a writer.

But maybe not. Or not exclusively. And, what I haven’t admitted until recently, maybe not primarily. I always wanted to make art. I bought all sorts of art supplies and these thin and pricey books about how to draw and paint the ocean and how to draw trees and so on. But I didn’t have a natural talent for any of it. And I thought being an artist meant painting portraits or drawing sketches. That was all, and I wasn’t good at those. I was good at writing. So I was a writer.

But I was a writer who kept taking art classes. And then I found out that I had a talent for oil painting. I was in a workshop for a couple of years, and I improved, and my instructor encouraged me to keep painting. He even let me come to workshop when I didn’t have money for it because he said I should keep painting. But I stopped. Lots of reasons. But I stopped. It didn’t really matter, right? I was a writer who was interested in art, not an artist.

I’ve been holding onto that narrative for 20 years. I’m a writer who does art things. But the writing became more and more of a struggle because I really wanted to pour myself into the art stuff. But I’m a writer, I told myself. I’m a writer! I can’t just go around doing art all the time. I have to give my time to writing.

Sometime back in January? Early February? Sometime recently I had to open my eyes and admit that I want to spend most of my time on making things. I had to acknowledge that just because I’m good at writing and stories doesn’t mean that has to be my primary creative work. I had to admit that in some ways clinging to the writing was the easy path.

Am I stopping writing? No. I’m changing it, though. I think writing is crucial to my psyche. It clears my mind, opens my eyes, lets me see what I’m thinking and make new connections and build new ideas. But this isn’t from stories. It’s from writing practice, a beloved and very important part of my creative life. So I’m going to dedicate the writing part of my creative life to writing practice.

I’m going to stick with ROW80, too. I love the community and the connections I’ve made. It’s an important part of my life, and I want to stay with it. So here are my goals for Round 2:

  • Re-read Writing Down the Bones
  • Set up a dedicated spot for writing practice
  • Do writing practice at least 3 times a week (starting small with just 2 minutes and building as it starts to flow)
  • Write a weekly blog post for MuseCraft
  • Write at least 3 blog post check-ins for ROW80

7 thoughts on “Goals and Letting Go

  1. I have the same thing going on with photography. I’ve done b&w/experimental photography since college (about 23 years). But as I got older, my priorities shifted a bit, and writing took over. And then my health went into the crapper, so I didn’t have the energy to do anything but the occasional shoot (digital). I miss it so much! Once my foot’s doing better, another goal of mine is to try to do something with it.

    I always considered myself a writer first, photographer second. But you’re right. Why can’t we do both?

    Something to think about for sure.

    • Erin, I hiope your food gets better quickly so you can get back to your photography! I think when we answer our creative calls, it enriches all of our creative work.

  2. Your blog post resonates with me, in fact, I could have written it. Many times the pull to create is so intense I find myself drawn to many different arts from knitting and photography to jewelry making and sewing. You have great goals! Building the habit of sitting down to write and creating a space that encourages you to do so! Love it!

  3. Why not combine them into a graphic novel or something similar? Do a book of prints of your art and some words to go along with them?

    Good luck on Round 2!

    • Maybe at some point I will do something like that. I could imagine some paintings with poems or micro stories for sure! Good luck to you, too!

  4. Kim,

    Because we share a mutual friend (Gwen, whom I met first through online unschooling circles, and only later through writing ones), I imagine it won’t surprise you that I don’t care much for dichotomies or labels. I don’t think you have to choose whether you are a writer OR an artist. Writing IS art. So are drawing, painting, acting, photography, singing – any number of things.

    Creative people are at our best embracing creativity, whatever that means in the moment or season.

    And I am ALL FOR rereading Writing Down the Bones and giving yourself writing practice. May the ebbs and flows of your writing and other creative endeavors sustain and delight you, wherever they carry you!

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