It’s been a while since I’ve posted because I’ve been taking my own advice: in April I wrote about how important improvisation is to my theatre practice and after dwelling on that it’s opened a door to a whole lot of joy. I’ve been following where my creative flow has taken me, improvising and playing around, learning new techniques along the way. It’s been a liberating and enlightening six months.
“The things I did because I was excited, and wanted to see them exist in reality, have never let me down, and I’ve never regretted the time I spent on any of them.”Neil Gaiman
Over the last six months I’ve thrown myself into art making, learning more about various techniques and practices, and I’m learning something about myself and art with every piece I make.
I’m pleased to share with you my final sketchbook from my course with Karen Stamper, which was the first time I’d really worked with intuitive mark making and let images emerge on the page rather than drawing from life:
This work encouraged me over the summer to keep my own sketchbook when I went back to visit the New Forest (where I’m originally from)*:
I’d had the longest break from going back to the New Forest over the pandemic I’d ever had: 8 months. When I returned I was fuelled with the nature I’d seen and got playing around with my monoprinting (with the help of Carla Sonheim’s course) and my first series of art work emerged. I’m calling it ‘Dreams of Nature’:
But what about your writing Lucy? You brought us here to talk about playwriting, what of that?
Well, I still haven’t made it back to my play Ursa which I was working on when covid hit last year, but the novel is progressing. As part of a course I took with Emma Darwin and Blue Pencil Agency I received a report on my synopsis and first few thousand words. This was the first time I’d opened up the whole story for someone to review, and it was a great relief to be able to discuss it with someone in the industry. The story is shaping up to be a coming of age fantasy novel, and the chat and the report I received was incredibly positive and full of constructive feedback. Over the summer I delved further into the story, developing the world, and that’s where I am right now with it. Going deeper, and really getting to grips with the world I’m setting up and how the story I’m telling, feels like a trip down the rabbit hole. I’m just hoping I make it back!
For any writers out there I’d like to share a couple of tools I’ve discovered that are helping me:
- Plottr which is a plotting programme for your computer which has really helped me develop what was just post it notes on a small noticeboard. I received a discount for it when I completed my writing goal during Camp NaNoWriMo in April which helped with the cost.
- Bullet journaling, which is helping me track my writing goals and is becoming a bible on the story in its own right.
I’m currently reading fantasy stories to help me think through structure and pacing, looking at how other people do it, before I get back to a stretch of writing over Christmas and the New Year. I’m not going to make my goal of completing my second draft this year, but I’ve made peace with that. I’m always over ambitious for what I think I can accomplish, and this time of reflection and research will make the novel that much better.
Inspiration and Improvisation
All in all, approaching my creativity intuitively, improvising and following the creative flow have served me well, and is something I want to keep on doing. I knew I approached my writing from the inside out rather than the outside in, but this exploration has given me a confidence which I haven’t had before in this approach.
Art making is making me a better writer too, as I’m touching my creative well in a different, more immediate way, and some of the images I’m making are serving as ideas for the novel. Each form of creating is feeding the other. I’d like to recommend two books for anyone interested in exploring art making intuitively Louise Fletcher’s Life Force and David Mankin’s Remembering in Paint.
If reading this blog has inspired you in any way, I’d encourage you to think, what’s changed for you over the last year? What’s stayed the same? Is there a way you can keep yourself open to new things whilst at the same time developing a practice that you can rely on? I loved this quote I found about October from Bonaro W. Overstreet, “October is a symphony of permanence and change.” This new approach I now have I hope will become permanent, yet within improvisation and play, change is inherent.
Until next time.
*So you may’ve spotted I now have two Instagram accounts, one for writing and one for art making. Please follow me if you are interested in seeing how my work is progressing.