“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams
When I saw this quote, it brought me up short. Recharging your creative batteries is vital for anyone who writes. And one way to do this is to play with your medium. My medium is writing, but I’m lucky enough not to have a day job. I write for a living.
But that’s also a problem. Because I write for a living, I tend to focus on things I can sell. In part, it is a matter of time management. But creative energy also comes into play. I can only write so many words a day and once I’ve reached that limit, additional writing doesn’t happen. Butt in chair? No worries there. I’ll plant my butt right here, thank you very much. But my mind is not pulling any more words to the surface.
This means that creative play is going to have to take the form of something other than writing. Fortunately, the day I saw this quote, I also found out about Inktober. Inktober is a month long illustration challenge. While I would never consider myself an illustrator, I did put myself through college creating graphics for archaeological reports. I know longer work in graphics so drawing is once again fun.
Inktober sounded like a good fit. Jake Parker is the illustrator who created this event and he provides a list of prompts. That’s them at top right. Don’t want to use the prompts? No big deal. Draw whatever you want. Rather draw with pencil? Go ahead and sketch first then ink later. Rather work on the computer? That’s okay too. So is adding watercolor. Or doing calligraphy.
Unfortunately, I had yoga before I sat down to work. When I got home, I searched #Inktober and almost fell out of my chair. Seriously? You did that in a morning? That was when I discovered that a lot of professional illustrators rough their drawings in September and ink in October. Lesson #1. If you are primarily a writer, do not look at what the pros do. You will freeze up.
Fortunately, as my grandad would say, I’ve been blessed with more gumption than sense. The prompt for Day #1 was poison. Nope, my poisoned apple isn’t going to win any prizes but it is my stiff looking poison apple.
Lesson #2, loosen up. I needed to have fun so for Day #2, tranquil, I decided that I would go with basic shape and a sense of motion. I like my yoga poses way more than I liked my poison apple.
Lesson #3, do it my way. I’m a graphics girl. So for Day #3, Roasted, I did a simple graphic, adding some color.
It took me three days to get around to being creative and having fun. But the whole challenge has me thinking visually and has already sparked a story idea. Even if it is the only story spark this challenge brings me, I’m having fun which is the whole point of creative play. Care to join me?
To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey. Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins November 12th, 2018.