Write! Draw! Sing!

Fiction, poetry, painting, paper-mache, memoir, technical writing, composition, clarinet– who said you had to choose just one?  Okay, your University, when, by your fifth semester, they finally made you declare a major.

photo collage by Amanda Kimmerly

But, if you’re anything like me (or anything like our beloved We Put Words On Paper group– a hodgepodge of screenwriters, poets, fiction writers, rhetoric writers, and journalists), you, my darling, simply want it all.

And so, with my ounce of wisdom (and two ounces of research), I confidently advise: go ahead! Write! Draw! Sing! Your creativity counts on it.

The Devil’s Advocate raises his bushy brow and intervenes with:  Yes, but you made a goal to finish your short story by Wednesday.  How is painting going to bring you any closer to your final draft?

Fearful this is true,  I bust out my journal and a pen instead of paints.  With no stroke of genius, I write, “gotta write!” at the top of the page. And then stare at the letters, maybe outlining them in bold. The page stares back like an indifferent teenager.  I yell (to myself, because the roommates are in the next room…), “My adult knowledge will crush your puny teenager brain!”  When ridiculing fails, I proceed to glance over my earlier notes, hoping for inspiration.  The page, in all my scrutinizing, still does not care.  Desperate measures call for…eyeglasses!  I put them on as to appear smarter to my journal.  I brew some coffee, because at this point in my addiction, it actually settles nerves.  But, all I can think about is brush strokes and color schemes and how my empty living room wall needs a makeover. By the end of the hour that I set out to write, the page is covered in squiggles and birds and music notes.  It looks pretty.  I rip out the page, because I could use it later for a collage.  Progress on short story?  Nil.

I took my creative woes to Fantasy author Robert Stikmanz, who writes and draws and designs.  He shared what I was hoping to hear:

Photo by Christine Rose

When writing, as you’re well aware, a writer maintains an imaginary visual space in which details of the written work stage and play out. When words don’t come, I often draw, referencing that same space. Perhaps I intricately doodle a character, or part of a character, or even nothing more than a leaf on a plant in the imaginary field. In a way, that doesn’t matter. The result is often that the literary blockage disappears while I am not thinking about it, but thinking about something else. Other times I draw in order to clarify exactly who, what, or where I am trying to describe.

book jacket photo

Poet Kim Addonizio, from an interview with Poetry Flash covers the same topic:

Kim: Well, I wanted to be a musician. So maybe I would have stayed with the music. But I still play. I’m learning blues harmonica now. I really love the blues.

Poetry Flash: Your poems are like blues. So you haven’t gone too far from that.

Kim: Yeah. And I originally wanted to be a singer. But I think I’ve ended up being a singer in another way.

So folks, if the words aren’t flowing, try a different technique.  Write a song that might be a song your characters would like.  Draw out a map of the town where your story takes place.  Develop the world you’re creating through any medium, and see how each art form acts as a catalyst for another, and when the time comes to write your story, I hope, in the words of Bukowski, “it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you.”

taken by the band, We The Granada


About kimmerlyaj

Hey, there! Thanks for reading my blog, Polished Pear Creative Editing. My name is Amanda Kimmerly, and I devote my time and talent to making manuscripts publisher-ready. If you have an unedited book, or have started one of any genre, please connect! www.polishedpearcreative.com. Cheers!
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2 Responses to Write! Draw! Sing!

  1. foldedflat says:

    This is great stuff! Not just for writer’s block but also as a battle cry against some of the balkanization we do in our minds. We’re taught, like you said, to keep our subjects separate and neat, but it’s to our great detriment.

    I am now inspired to offer a logical extension of the concept as I’ve understood: don’t just do something “artistic” but perhaps try working on some simple math problems that relate to the space you’re approaching.. Calculate the size of the room it’s taking place in, decide the mass of objects there. Maybe try picking the precise species of wood for the chair the subject sits in, decide how it’s constructed — and research woodworking and joinery if you don’t know any of that world. It starts to open doors…

    This was an important post for me to read, it has changed how I think, in a subtle but important way. So thank you for this 🙂

    • kimmerlyaj says:

      Math problems? (gulp). My brain would explode!

      Just kidding. Very insightful. I’d love to see how calculations affect my thinking and creativity. Thanks for inspiring me, too! (and also thanks for reading/responding).

      Love, hugs, and best of luck with your creations,

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