Sunday, August 29, 2010

My art and writing and dreams and stuff

Once upon a time, I wanted to be an artist when I grew up (or an actress or an author).

I'm actually a primary school teacher and busy with my family (three kids: Sam, Reuben and Carissa).

I spent some time tinkering around drawing illustrations for a children's book I wrote but just really struggled with what I envisaged in my head and my ability (or lack of) to produce the same thing on paper. I ended up having a break from the kidlit scene and moving onto writing YA.

Now,  I'm struggling with with the same thing in my WIP - knowing what I want my story to be and the gap between my vision and the actual words. I am such a harsh critic of my own work that I wonder if I actually hinder myself ever getting anywhere because I often focus on my shortcomings and not on my progress or strengths. Does anyone else ever feel like this?

Also, I keep reading some of the best writing out there and comparing myself to the most gifted of illustrators and just deflating at my own floundering progress. And feeling like the reality of me getting published is not really a reality at all.

Other times though - brilliant writing and artwork inspires me to stop being so lazy and stretch my creativity muscles and really throw all I can into accomplishing things.

What are you like? Does brilliance inspire you or sometimes get you down? or both, depending?

So last night I was feeling a bit flat about everything and I pulled out some of my own work and instead of looking for flaws I just felt kinda proud that I can start with a blank piece of paper and change it in to something. The same with my first MS - to take a story out of nothing an breathe life into those characters is something that only I did. And no matter how lame and cringe-y some parts are - I think it's worth celebrating  that I gave it a go.

I'm so up and down with how I feel about writing and I don't even know what this post is about. Maybe about dreams and getting older and still feeling so far away from things I felt I'd do as an adult when I was a kid. And about me learning not to be so hard on myself but also learning how to push myself.

I guess I just wonder if anyone else gets hung up on the same things.

And I just want to say, hey, me too.

And I love the thought of all you guys out there giving it a go and even though some of you are on the other side of the globe, your blogs and emails and own accomplishments inspire me to push through and hold onto that little kid seed inside of me that believes that one day I might be an author or illustrator when I grow up :)

And, here's a pic I drew for a book (ahh, that I've since abandoned...but am thinking maybe it's worth giving it another go?) and yay for the end of winter here! Spring in two days!

A cropped shot of my winter pic in progress

Cropped Sections

The left side

The right side

Centre

Sorry for my slightly ramble-y post. Love you guys :)

21 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, your artwork is amazing! I mean it- I'm not pandering, it's really good! Cartoons take a certain flair to draw, and you have captured their playfulness in the snow. I love it. (It is SO bizarre for me to wrap my head around the fact that you are in winter- then I remember- different HEMISPHERE!)

    I actually popped over to your blog to give you a blog award, you can find it at the top post of my blog http://thenewbienovelist.blogspot.com/

    But isn't it funny how the Lord works? I read your most recent post, and I just want to rush right through cyberspace and hug you and say I FEEL THE SAME WAY TOO!! It's like we are twins! (well, sort of)

    For me, I know that when I hit a wall, and get discouraged with my writing, it's because something in my plot or my character's motivation just isn't working out. Right before WriteOnCon, (did you know anything about it?) an online writing conference a few weeks back, my writing stopped-dead. I started comparing myself to other writers, doubting my story, my characters, my abilities. I was listening to the fear. But then, I immersed myself in 3 days of writing training: reading blog posts and critiques by amazing authors and people who knew what they were talking about, and I saw my MS with fresh eyes. I saw the things that just needed a little tweak here and there. And strangers read my work and liked it, and saw potential. (That blew me away, b/c I thought it was an INCREDIBLY rough-rough draft of a chapter) And now, things are rolling again. I think that all sorts of art-drawing or writing is emotional and roller-coastery. It is in the nature of the art itself.

    So, I am happy that you pulled out your old drawings and shared them with us. And I am happy to know there is someone like me. Someone who can sit there and think one day that she is a semi-okay writer, and the next feel utterly miserable, and then the next be very proud with what she has accomplished.

    Write on my friend, Write on.

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  2. Oh so cute. I love the little guy with the snowball on his face :D I wish I could draw like you. Don't give up Nomes! xo

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  3. The hardest thing about art, writing, and being creative in general, is to figure out how to do it when you're not inspired. I dreamed of being a comic book artist when I was younger, but the sad truth of art for me (I oil paint, etc. to this very day) is that it IS only something I can do when I'm inspired. If I'm not in the mood, it just seems to turn out to be rubbish. I've never figured out how to overcome that ...

    When I started writing, it changed all of that. Writing has been the greatest thing, because it's a way i can be creative, and even when I don't feel like doing it, I can still churn something worthwhile out. (At least I can trick myself into thinking it's worthwhile.) I can look at my prose so much more objectively than I ever could my art.

    The only thing I can say to you is not to ever give up trying. I do believe we can turn this writing thing into a 'job', where we can face it and deliver even when we're not 100% into it.

    Sometimes it helps me to step back and say, "it's not about perfection, it's art. It's about individuality, and MY interpretation of what I'm seeing, hearing, etc. It's not about recreating anything." I've thrown out so much of my art over the years because it hasn't lived up to my expectations, and I refuse to do that with my writing. I'm just going to keep hammering it until it IS what I want.

    I wish I could encourage you more, Nomes, but I know you'll work through it. That's what artist do.

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  4. When I see truly amazing works of art-- whether it's writing, or the visual kind-- it encourages me to try my best too, and go out and create something maybe half as beautiful. But it also sometimes brings me back to reality and I start to feel a little hopeless at the same time... like I'll never be that good, haha. xD

    So I guess it's both. But more importantly, I hope you never give up on whatever you set out to accomplish.

    I absolutely love your pictures. They're fun and cartoony and lovely. I wish I had your drawing skills! <3

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  5. Drummer, I hear what you are saying and I understand how hard it can be from day to day. One day up--Wow! Can't believe that came out of me. To the downs--Whoa...who am I kidding? I'm a lost cause. But you know what? No matter what, there is one thing you have created that is more beautiful than anything in this whole world--the portrait of life which shines and glimmers in the eyes of your family; your husband and your three precious gems.

    Head up, girl. You are so super talented in your artwork, music and your writing) and you can NOT compare yourself to ANYONE. Just be you and all else will fall into place. There are so many people who believe in you, but the ones who believe in your most are probably sitting behind you on the couch, running around the house screaming, "That's mine. Give it to me!" or crawling up your leg telling you they love you with a peanut butter and jelly covered face :-)

    xo

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  6. Oh, Nomes *huggles*

    You artwork is delightful! And I mean it, it's perfect for kidlit. I wish you hadn't given up on this, I'd love to see this completed :)
    I love art too, but I can't ever do cartoons. They require a special skill and you do have that. It's easy to get critical about one's work, you know. I'm always trying to make everything about my work perfect which is hindering my progress on it. I want things to be perfect from the start, right from the first draft which is why I've been editing first, writing later. It's like a compulsion. And I'm trying to change that because if I go on like this, I'll never finish my book.

    There's always a gap between what the artist visualises and what she produces. always. It happens to the best of them. But you can't think of that, because when you finish something, it's a feat in all its imperfection. You can perfect it later, finish it NOW.

    Give yourself a chance. You're worth it :)

    *cheers Nomes*

    <33333333

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  7. I think writers and artists are always their own worse critics (actually wrote a paper on that once), but your art work is amazing. I adore the characters (the cat in the glasses is very cool) and the colors are beautiful. There is so much life in the scenes and I would love to read the story that goes along with the pictures.

    Turn those negative thoughts about your art into positive ones, and believe in yourself. Self talk works both ways, don't listen to the negative.

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  8. O.M.G

    That is absolutely amazing.

    fjknkjsdnfn You must get back to it! I absolutely adore it.

    "comparing myself to the most gifted of illustrators and just deflating at my own floundering progress"- Every time Nomes. Every time.

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  9. ahh, thanks guys :)

    I feel kinda overwhelmed by all your awesome comments. Also, overwhelmed by all the chocolate I ate tonight, haha :)

    @ Newbie: Thanks mate - and its so cool to know you feel the same (well, not that I want you to feel the same, but, you know :) And I'll pop over to your blog :)

    @ Jess - thanks :) kids at my school think they;re cute too.

    @ EJ Oh - and I know what you mean about not feeling inspired, b/c when I am inspired I am so on fire and when I'm not - well, you know... so lame and pathetic...

    @ Linna - you are so awesome :0 you always sparkle just general coolness so thanks for cheering me up.

    @ Mel "One day up--Wow! Can't believe that came out of me. To the downs--Whoa...who am I kidding? I'm a lost cause." EXACTLY! And I've read your stuff and you should stick to feeling the wow side of things - your whole concept and WIP is amazing. And, yeah, kids, hey? haha.

    @ Bee - I know what you mean about perfectionism. so hard not to want it to be awesome the whole way through. I know I'll love what you write b/c I love all the same books you do. x ans thanks.

    @ Jan - would love to read that paper :) and thanks for the compliments too :)

    @Amna - you're comments are always oozing enegy and shouting out encouragement to me across the globe. Thanks matey.

    xx

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  10. I wish I'd seen this post earlier but there's always going to be someone who loves what you do, no matter what. I think you're a great artist by the way. I just know you'll be successful. :)

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  11. I adore your drawings! They're amazing - really jolly and cute, they make me feel happy :). I wish you the best of luck with all you endeavour.

    (I just sounded like a really pompous old man, didn't I? :P)

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  12. Ah Nomes, yes to everything above. I've felt it all and still do - especially after having read four amazing books right in a row and thinking to myself, who am I kidding? But as depressing as it is to think that I will never be that good, it's more depressing to think of life without having any dreams to pursue, whatever those dreams may be.

    And I think that all artists are perfectionists who have moments of doubt. I read somewhere that Monet once burned dozens of his paintings because he felt they weren't good enough - and this was after he was famous. Obviously, I would never say burn your manuscript and start over, but, you know, even geniuses have their moments, so don't ever feel you're alone on this one.

    Your art - I've said it before, it's so amazing!! I really think you ought to keep up with it, make a portfolio, whatever artists do. I'm not sure what all the protocols are for illustrators, but you should find out. Maybe just send some of your stuff to agents or publishers and see what kind of response you get. I'd love to see this in a picture book someday. :)

    Finally, big bone crushing hugs. I know you'll be back to your creative self soon. <3

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  13. I think many people compare themselves to others, I know I do all the time but the only thing it manages to accomplish is to get me down. I've done this for years (I'm particularly bad at comparing myself with my friends, I do it all the time), I'm still trying to stop but I just have to think that as long as I've done my best thats all I can ask for. Often we are the most hardest on ourselves which can be good sometimes as we strive to push ourselves further but other times its not because no matter what you do nothing will ever be perfect, well for me anyway.

    Your artwork is amazing Nomes, absolutely adorable, gee I wish I could draw like that.

    Just keep positive you'll get back to it and don't compare yourself to others (I know easier said than done).

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  14. wow I cannot draw AT ALL- what you can do is amazing! you should def feel proud you have that gift because i can tell you right now, a lot of us don't have what you do. It's an amazing skill that i have accepted (a very long time ago) that i do not have. and its great you can share it with us and we thank you for that!

    yes i get down on my words too sometimes, but you know i think when you start thinking like that it's just your brain's way of telling you it needs a little rest. refresh, recharge, disconnect for a while and focus on the other stuff in your life that makes you happy like your family. and when you cant make the words match whats in your head (basically the way im writing this poorly constructed comment lol) just let go of the perfectionist in you and remember sometimes we will write poo-poo! lots of it! poo everywhere! but the words will be there, you can look over them, change, hone, rework or toss! you are a talented writer (and artist!) whose blog I adore and admire. x

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  15. I <3 this blog! It's so nice to find another Australian writer.

    I'm inspired by the brilliance of others; I just get deflated by the fact that if they struggle to get their brilliance published, what hope is there for the rest of us?

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  16. Oh my goodness, that picture is darling! Did you truly draw it?! That's brilliant. In response to your question, I'm inspired by random things, but I'm deflated by my own restless mind. I often think that an idea simply won't be good enough especially when the Hilary Duffs of the world are simply published on a whim. Perhaps that's just me :)

    I'm a new follower, and I just love the look of your blog!

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  17. OMG, the drawings are so cute. It remind me of my childhood days. I love also paintings and drawings. :) by the way thanks for the comment. I'm really confuse where to read first. :)

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  18. Hey guys :)

    Thanks for all your awesome heart-warming comments that make me feel kinda gooey, haha.

    I love knowing youre all out there cheering each other on.

    My husband is in awe of all my buddies on-line who read my blog and take time to comment and be so cool in general.

    I guess I am in awe too :) Like, wow. :)

    xx Thanks guys.

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Thanks for the commenty love :)

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