Why Writers Should Spend Time With Other Types of Artists

Sun by Dawn Banning

We writers – when we discuss our work and our process at all – tend to restrict said discussion to other writers.

After all, who else could possibly understand our unique brand of crazy?  How can anyone genuinely comprehend, for example, the compulsion to sit up in the dead of the night and scribble down a story idea unless s/he too has endured the utter frustration of greeting the morning with forgotten inspiration?

Artists of other disciplines (e.g. painters, musicians, actors, etc.), while themselves not fully cognizant of what it means to be a narrative writer, might come pretty darn close to understanding us.

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Taking Over Me: On writing, obsession, and the search for artistic balance

Singer Amy Lee of the alternative rock/metal band Evanescence, from whose song the title for this week’s post is borrowed.  There’s something about the grammatical weirdness of the song’s name – the fact that, in ending with the subject “me”, it serves to emphasizes it – that really resonates with my experiences in this subject.

Amy Lee of the alt rock/metal band Evanescence, whose song I borrowed for the title of this post.

When a writer becomes utterly fixated on his/her WIP, is that a sign of artistic revelation or that s/he has become a less well-rounded person?

I’ve twice had it happen where writing has taken over my life, the first time being back in 2004 when I was writing my first (incomplete, shelved) novel, and the second in 2005 when I wrote the first volume of my two-volume historical fiction WIP.

In 2005 especially, I fully gave myself over to my writing.

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Writing Inside the (Out)Lines – Redux: A Creative Departure

(Or, Why Much of What You Plan in Your Outline Will Get Changed Along the Way)

A Distractions & Subtractions post for Rule of Stupid

Writing a novel is an endeavour of many emotions:

  • The excitement at having an idea take root in your head.
  • The pride you feel every time you sit down at the computer and add new words.
  • The anxiety that maybe you won’t be able to capture your idea in words as clearly as it plays out in your head.
  • The satisfaction of when all the plot pieces finally fall into place in your mind, and you’re finally convinced that yes, this story works.
  • And then, after months or even years of dedication, when the novel is finally completed, a satisfaction of a different sort that results from having successfully achieved a difficult, long-term goal.

But sometimes, this latter satisfaction comes prematurely; sometimes, satisfaction #2 and satisfaction #1 commingle, until they end up one in the same.

That is to say, sometimes, having devised a fully functional plot in one’s head (or on paper, or on the screen) feels like such a sense of accomplishment, the subsequent desire to actually write the novel disappears.

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Living an Artist’s Life in a Workaday World

(A How-To)

A Distractions & Subtractions post for Dianne Gray

It’s hard to know whether there’s been an era more detrimental to living the life of an artist than the current one.

The temptation is certainly strong to say there hasn’t been – that the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, the Renaissance (wo)men, the Elizabethans, and the Romantics with their sculpture and architecture, their mosaics and genre scenes, their busts and paintings, their music, literature and frescos, their theatre, and their landscape-focused writing, painting, and composing that seem to burst from the pages of history texts all revered their artists.

Maybe they did.

But perhaps their artists suffered the historical equivalent to what many artists face today – that is to say, a stifling daily grind of the working world with all its attendant hassles that is the sworn enemy of creativity.

There’s the commuting, the budgets, deadlines, overtime, stagnation, trying to do more with less, spending more hours a week at work than not at work, and the constant competition for more, better, and now that exemplifies a consumer-based economy.

All of these practicalities of life leave the modern artistically-inclined especially feeling drained, de-animated, and deprived of the space, reflection, and deliberation required to let loose their imaginations and give their creative musings a tangible form.

Such is no different for national/international award winning Australian author Dianne Gray, whose writing subtraction speaks wholly to this artist/workaday dichotomy many of us struggle to reconcile.

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“Leave Out All the Rest” (or, How Linkin Park reminded me that readers often read different things into writing than writers actually wrote)

So, finally, this week, the long-awaited Linkin Park concert occurred in Vancouver.

I’ll answer two questions right off the bat: 1) Yes, it was awesome, and 2) no, it won’t be the last concert I ever go to.

I was quite surprised, however, by the set list the band selected to play.  Not because they played songs I didn’t know or like (I know and like almost all of Linkin Park’s songs, so that’s never a concern).  Rather, it was because their set all at once caused me to perceive the band in a different way than I’d previously done all the years I’ve been a fan, since 2000.

Which, in turn, recalled me to the fact that what a music-lover/reader/viewer takes away from a song/novel/movie/TV show/etc. might be wildly different from the intended message of the artist that produced it.

At times, I was quite stridently reminded of this fact.

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Blogger/Author 2.0

Historically, my track record for blogging is not that good.

My old, now defunct was called Through the Keyhole.  It was all about my writing life while I was hard at work on a novel back in 2006.  I actually did fairly well with that blog: I posted to it every other day; I assembled a decent blogroll, and received comments regularly from other writers whose blogs I followed.

But Through the Keyhole only survived four months.  I just couldn’t keep up the pace of posting “every other day” on top of writing, and job searching (I was unemployed at the time, and living back at home), and trying to hold together my relationship with my mother that the stress of a year-and-a-half of joblessness and my return to the once-empty nest had frayed almost to the breaking point.

Just when all hope seemed lost, I finally landed a job.  I moved four hours away to a rural community where my residence had no internet connection.  So, I quit blogging, and quit writing altogether for the whole year-and-a-half I held that job, and the four-and-a-half years, two provinces, and three jobs that followed.

And now I’m back.

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