It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
When I put my novel on pause to clear my head in May I didn’t think I’d be away for so long, and sometimes life takes us down the road less travelled and we fall down a rabbit hole of delight.
But I’m back.
I hope you’ve had a good summer. Mine was a voyage of discovering joy. Yes, I was finding my joy with Louise Fletcher on her art course, ‘Find your joy’, an intense 10-week programme that helps you find your thing in art making. It’s not about following her techniques but finding out what draws you, how you like to work and what you don’t like. You learn about composition and the massive part contrasts play in creating a piece of art that feels finished. And in the last module, you start to create a new series of work using what you’ve discovered about yourself over the course.
I had a fantastic time. Spent most of it letting my intuition guide me, which is sometimes tough when you resist to the surrender because you’re worrying that you’re not doing it right, but Louise and her course coaches emphasise that you’re to only please yourself. Because that’s where the magic, or joy, really happens. If you’re only pleasing yourself you can do what you like because it’s your rules. No one needs to see them ever if you don’t want to share them.
I discovered a lot about what I like in art making and what I don’t like, and I found some great artists as inspiration. I made art I didn’t like and slowly but surely made art I did like. I haven’t finished my series of paintings yet for the last module so I can’t share those, but I have found my own direction of exploration which I’m so excited about: imaginary landscapes.
Here are a few of the pieces I made over the course so you can get a taste of the kinds of work I produced (and I liked producing):
So, what now?
Well, I’m still working on my series of paintings but I’m back on my novel project.
After two whole months off, at the end of last month, I got back to it. In May I’d printed out the draft I had, to draw a line under that work, and once I’d finished my art course it just started looking at me from where I’d stowed it. I finally picked it up and read the whole thing.
I was pleasantly surprised with all the work I’d done and because of the break and some fiction reading I’ve done for fun I could see it in a whole new light.
And now the work begins again.
I have a writing retreat booked in October and am working towards getting my thoughts and reflections collated together to make that a whole week of just rewriting. I want to reduce the word count by about 20-30,000 words and tighten it up. It feels like it’s at the point I get to with my plays where out of the mass of story and scenes I have, I find that central thread it all points towards, and I go back into that thread and craft the story around that. I’m so excited but wish me luck! It’s going to take a while. More than my week of retreat I expect but it will give me a good start.
What’s inspiring me?
Landscape and seascape artists
YA fiction series
Oh my goodness. If you’re in to young adult dystopian fiction, have you read the Divergent series? I binged it in a week and felt, I think, actual grief by the end, especially when I finished book three. It’s told in first person present tense, something I didn’t think would work but gosh it totally worked on me!!
The Virgin’s Promise
I’ve heard reference to this book a few times and finally wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It’s actually really helped me to see my novel in a different way, and has helped me find that central thread that will bring the story together. If you’re thinking about structure and the emotional beats of your writing check it out.
Where do you find joy?
One thing I learnt about myself through doing this art course is that I find joy in doing different creative things. I was once told that if I did too many different creative pursuits, e.g., writing, directing and designing I wouldn’t learn as much as I would if I just concentrated on one. Over the years this suggestion got louder in my head, and, I realise now, that I was rushing for results, got too focussed on just one craft and I lost the joy. Moving from writing to visual art over the last two years has really brought me a lot of joy, and I’m finding that each pursuit is feeding the other. I would never have been brave enough to take 2 months off the novel, at this point in the writing process, if I hadn’t had another creative pursuit to immerse myself in. And although it means it may take longer to finish one thing, it’s keeping me fresh in the work and I’m loving being in the middle of so many projects.
Until next time!