writing

Round Two is Done!

Writing a novel is hard. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. Through this process, I have learned that it is so much easier to talk and dream about writing a novel than it is to actually write one. I’ve also got a newfound respect for those who have written a novel.

I just finished the second draft of the novel I wrote at the end of last year. I wrote the first draft in six weeks and it was 88,825 words. The second draft has taken me nearly four months to complete. It is 80,242 words, but I cut out 44,312 words from the first draft. So, in this second revision, I rewrote half the novel. And it has been really, really difficult. The writing itself has been hard, but the coming up against myself again and again has been especially harsh.

There was a moment earlier this week, when I thought I was just going to quit. I only had one chapter left, and I just could not write anymore. There is something deeply emotional happening in me. This novel is more than just a novel. I don’t quite know how to language it yet, but I have come up against some very persistent internal demons throughout this process. They are loud, obnoxious, and yell horrible things at me constantly even in my sleep. The past two days, instead of writing, I made art to try to shut them up, but they persisted. Today, I woke up, I made art, and they finally were quiet enough for me to finish the last chapter.

I know round three is coming, but for this moment, I am celebrating making it through round two and surviving. This writing, it is hard, it is brutal, but I have made it through yet another round, and I am still standing.

Image by ktphotography from Pixabay

Art, art journal

Full Pink Moon 2019 Art Journal Spread

I’ve been participating in Effy Wild’s Moonshine course since January. I love how it’s helped me become more aware of the moon’s cycles. I’ve noticed that since I’ve created a ritual around creating at new moon and full moon each month, I receive visions tied to them each month. When a vision comes to me, which usually happens a few days before new moon and full moon, I try to get down a rough sketch, and then I just let my mind work for the next few days on how to translate what I’ve been shown onto paper.

Below is my full pink moon art journal spread. It is a bit different than the vision I received. In the vision, I saw a woman curled up inside the center of a fully-bloomed rose which was encased in a full pink moon. For this spread, I covered the page with gesso. Once dried, I sprayed it with water and added several different colors of Brusho crystals. I then created a moon mask with cardstock and painted the remainder of the page with black and payne’s gray acrylic paint. I sprayed gold and white acrylic ink on the background once it was dry. I then applied a stencil from Sarah Trumpp with gold acrylic paint to add texture to the moon. Adding the curled form in the center was difficult. I ran into a lot of issues with pens that would not write on the surface, and so it took several tries to get her to a place I was okay with. I traced her image onto the moon using carbon paper, then tried to outline her with white which didn’t work out very well. So, I painted the image with black acrylic, and then tried once again to outline her with white. It still didn’t work out. I took a baby wipe and wiped most of what I had done away, and then added the same stencil image with gold acrylic as I had added to the moon. That left her looking a bit snakish. So, I took a gold gel pen, outlined her, and then started to outline some of the markings from the stencil, and that created an image that I was really happy with. Since this moon was a full pink, willow moon, I added willow leaves with a stabilo-all white pencil, so they would be less prominent than if I had used a gel pen. Overall, I really love how this spread turned out.

Art, writing

Lessons Art Taught Me About Writing

I’ve always had a warped sense of how things should be. It is the thing that most often brings me down. I had this dream of writing the perfect first draft of a novel, no revision necessary. Yes, you can laugh, it is quite funny. But, I had developed a bad habit in college of sitting down at the last minute and writing papers (even if it took all night), and it had worked really well for me. I trained myself to self edit as I wrote, and after many, many, many years in college, it became a natural way for me to write. It wasn’t that I didn’t do revisions, but I wrote/edited/revised all at the same time, and all in one sitting. This did not carry over well to novel writing. It was impossible for me to sit down and write a novel in one sitting, and so I got stuck, and then I quit writing altogether.

Enter art.

Unfortunately, my bad habit of trying to create in one sitting has carried over to my art practice. I sometimes spend upwards of eight hours working on a piece. I forget to eat. I forget to drink. I forget everything but creating. I am working on changing that, but it seems to be something that is hardwired in my brain. Even when I try to walk away, my mind is buzzing with ideas about it, and I end up going back to it. Despite this bad-habit carryover, I have learned a very important lesson from the process of creating art. What art taught me, what creating art has helped me to see, is that my art can look like total shit, and I can think there is no hope for it, but then I add another layer, and maybe another layer, and maybe just one more layer, and then something beautiful emerges. I cannot tell you how many times I have looked at a piece of art when I am done and wonder how in the hell, me, who started out with zero artistic talent, could create something so beautiful out of nothing.

It took me a while to believe this could be applied to my writing, too. With my writing, I had always believed I needed to have everything perfectly planned out first. But with my art, I have learned that it is okay to jump right in, throw a bunch of shit at the page, and see what comes out. This has helped me to let go of “perfect first draft” syndrome. And now that I am nearing the end of the second draft of my first novel, I am getting excited about starting on the third draft. This kind of thinking would never have been possible without my experience creating art.

Image by Alexandr Ivanov from Pixabay

Art, writing

Good News, Art, and Updates

It has been a while since I’ve posted, but it’s because I have been really busy writing and revising. Yay! I had initially created this site to chronicle my journey into visual art hoping it would eventually bring me back to my first love: creative writing. I am happy to report that spending eight months focusing on visual art led me right back to the novel I had been dreaming of writing since 2011.

In October of last year, an artist I follow mentioned a live FB event with author coach Sage Adderley-Knox. While sitting in my car waiting for my son to get out of school, I watched Sage discuss her six-week program for writing a first draft. I decided to take the leap, and I’m so glad I did. For the first two weeks of the program, I was still completely blocked and just could not write. Then during one of our live meetups on FB, she said, “You are not writing this book for other people, you are writing this book for yourself. You must write something you are proud of. You cannot do that if you are writing for someone else.” Something about that clicked for me. I had been trying to figure out how to write the novel based on what I thought other people might want to read with a thousand different opinions screaming in my head. When I started to focus on the story I wanted to tell and how I wanted to tell it, the novel just poured out of me and onto the page. Six weeks later, on December 24, 2018, I had completed an 88,825 word first draft. I decided to continue working with Sage one-one-one, and I am nearly finished with the first revision of the novel I had dreamed of writing for seven years! And…I finally came up with a title that I love! What a miracle!

So, what else have I been up to? I’ve been making lots of art, too. I’ve been participating in Effy Wild‘s amazing art classes. In addition, I’ve been using an incredibly healing technique in my art journal called Cosmic Smash Booking created by Catt Z, and have been learning so much about some very freeing abstract painting techniques from Ady Almanza’s Abstract Dreams course. If you head over to my Instagram page, you can see more photos of what I’ve been creating over the past four months.

I am learning that I cannot just write or just make visual art. If I try to do too much of one without the other, I get really cranky. So, I am working on finding a balance between writing and making art. I hope that you will stay with me for the next part of my journey as I chronicle the art-making and novel-revising, and figure out what is next for me on this wild and wacky adventure.

Art, Books

Book Recommendation: Day Six and Some Art

I took a few days off from my book recommendations and from writing my novel so that I could make some art that was swirling around in my head and needed to come out.

 

The Sun and Her FlowersNow that I’ve fed the starving artist part of myself, I am back to writing my novel, and I am back with another book recommendation: The Sun and Her Flowers by rupi kaur. I had previously read her book of poems, Milk and Honey, and loved it, but the The Sun and Her Flowers reached me at my core. The poetry is as beautiful as it is brutal. It is about love, loss, and sexual assault. It is about the aftermath of sexual assault and how it affects every aspect of the self. It is about all the things we do because we believe we are not enough as we are. I related to so much of this book, and it worked like a salve for my soul.