Saturday, January 10, 2015


by Lacey Gunter

So, as I mentioned in one of my November posts last year, I am working on developing better illustration skills to be able to both write and illustrate picture books. After watching several drawing videos, I have heard multiple artists state emphatically how drawing and sketching are learned skills. One of the videos stressed the idea that it is great to be capable of drawing a nice representation of something, but to really master it you must practice drawing the object or thing over and over and over until it is very easy to draw the object in a very short amount of time. He emphasized the connection between practice and time, the greater the practice, the shorter the time it takes to be able to draw a good representation.

I thought about how this might apply to writing.  Does consistently writing every day help you to become faster at writing a story or a manuscript? I'm not really sure whether this is true.

While mulling this over, I happened across an article written by an experienced illustrator about her creative process.   She talked about how at the start of a project, getting those first ideas too come out was such a grueling process and it was like wrestling with the characters. But once she got a certain way into the process, things finally started to flow and eventually flood out.  Yet no matter how many times she had done this, the initial part of the process was slow and difficult.

This idea seemed to better fit the bill for me in describing the writing process. The creative process seems to always be so slow and difficult at the beginning. But once you got far enough into the process, your practiced skills and abilities take over and allow you to speed through the rest of the process.

So, yes, perhaps writing every day will help you to become faster at writing the story, conditional on whether you have convinced your creative genius to come along for the ride yet or not.

But maybe for some of you, even that is too narrow of a conclusion? Are muses as varied as writers? Do some muses show up more frequently after dedicated time and practice, while others are as wild as the wind and will never consent to be tied down?

I have yet to find a connection between dedicated practice and the free flow of creative ideas for me. If I had to describe the way my creative process worked, I would probably say my creative juices start to flow only at the last possible moment after all else has failed. 

On the outside this might look like procrastination.  But to me, all those sessions of hoping and mulling and thinking and trying would suggest otherwise, even if they only resulted in blank pages. Then again, someone might make the argument that all those sessions were simply practicing.... If only I could figure out how to get that eleventh hour to come quicker. (Cringe!)

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