Window Painting

It’s been a couple months since I’ve posted, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy.

window1  For those of you who don’t know, there are a few brilliant online art schools/learning spaces. I’ve just subscribed to SVSlearn.com.

This is a site ran by a couple of accomplished illustrators (Parker and Terry) who have set up an extraordinary selection of video classes (and other materials) that you can subscribe to.

It’s a lot of work, but worth it.

Anyway… to today’s subject. Window painting. I began watching Scot Campbell’s channel on Youtube a few months ago and was hooked. I love this way of painting, because though it’s temporary, it’s a continuous exploration of an artist’s talents.

A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook, a couple of local pages that I would paint windows window2or do something creative for barter. I only received a couple replies, but they have been challenging. Today I fulfilled my first one. The window painting.

I’m still working on the second one. It’s a drawing of a cougar woman. Still sketching it out, but haven’t gotten into that sweet spot yet.

Comments are nice. As are shares.

Products of Writing

With digital publishing many indie authors are now attempting the authorpreneurship path. That is, rather than just writing for the fun of it, some of us write to sell.

Some of us want the products we produce to reach a wider audience and to continue to do what we love doing. In order to do that full-time, at some point, we need to earn a living from it.

Ergo, the business of writing. As sterile as the term ‘product’ sounds, a creative work does tend to be a product of the author’s imagination and craft. Unfortunately, most of us creative types over the years have been told we’re not creating to sell; we’re “expressing” ourselves, or worse, we’re creating for the sake of creating.

I’ve never heard a teacher told they are teaching, just for the simple pleasure of teaching. Nor that they shouldn’t worry about getting paid for it. That goes for any profession–except of course–the arts.

If you are in a creative profession, for some reason, there is a certain measure of audience and perusers who believe you should work for free. And they want you to believe it too.

Personally, I like the idea I can offer my work at no cost on occasion. It’s not just a way to thank readers, but it’s also a testing ground for some of my literary experiments. If I’ve never written in a particular style before, or if I just want feedback, this is helpful to me, and I hope, entertaining to others.

But as a professional writer and indie author I also expect to produce work that sells. If I did not attempt (at some point) to sell my work, I would not be a professional writer for long.

The business of writing, like any other business, is about selling. Authors have to learn to expose their work to a larger audience, then convince that audience to purchase the work.

This is no easy task. Over the past year, I have learned a little about marketing, but still, despite the innumerable articles I’ve read, the social networking I’ve tried, my work is not selling as I had hoped.

But I’ve also noticed most authors who are “making it” are not selling on Smashwords. Nor are they selling on Feedbooks. They are selling on Amazon. More specifically, through the Kindle Select program.

I don’t like the exclusivity of the Select program, because it limits what audience authors can expose their work to. But I also know many writers are going that route because the other platforms don’t offer the exposure Amazon does.

So, as an experiment, just to see if my sales numbers change, I’ve removed two of my works from Smashwords, added two (previously unpublished) to the Kindle Select program, for a total of four.

I’ll report the sales figures at the end of the three month enrollment period.

We’ll see if platform makes a difference.

Idea Tinkering: Creativity

In my struggle to make sense of the creative process, I’ve went through a few books and used a few of the methods mentioned below.

When we’re not writing, it does not mean we’re not being creative. I’m not sure about other writers, but when my writing stops, misery begins. I’ve accepted that every waking moment should be devoted to my writing.

How many other professions ask this?

Anyway, when you’re not writing, rather than wallowing in guilt, try some of the exercises below. It’s idea tinkering, meant to distract you from the current project, but still keeping the creative juices flowing.

1. Take pics of your notebooks. page by page.

2. Document part of your writing process. The read through, notes, editing.

3. Seek patterns deliberately in nature and man-made. Write them down, document through pics, notes, etc. Organize them into a presentation.

4. Record outdoor sounds then transcribe them.

5. Practice mindfulness by becoming aware of your creative process. What are you thinking? What has prompted that particular thought? How does it assert itself on to the page, or canvas?

6. Take a series of images and copy and paste them into one document. Describe the process, or write a story about the resulting image.

7. Spend a full day doing nothing but drawing and taking photos. Make notes or write a journal entry about the experience.

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Results of a few creative attempts:

patterns_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes_Pics

notes_4

Grammar anyone?

Portrait-Photo-Girl-fishing-Color-Photo-2 I don’t do grammar. It’s obvious, right?

I don’t like the technical side of writing. I know the basics: punctuation, forms of be, run-on sentences and most importantly, when to break the rules.

Now, I know there are purists out there who will poo-poo all this, but give me a chance. Some believe that creative energy in writing cannot be limited by the rules of grammar.

Yes, a perfect English sentence can be constructed using those rules, but will it be beautiful? Will it sound lyric?

Bob had a dog. The dog ran into the yard.

If I had a nickle, I would buy a paper.

The ten-year-old lasagna in your refrigerator smells disgusting.

It’s not that they can’t sound lyrical, or beautiful.   Noetic possibilities abound.

Word choice determines the sound of a sentence. Can we have both? A beautiful and grammatically correct sentence?

Most of the time, we can. But there’s (there is) the idea dangling in front of us, that says it’s impossible to be creative within the limits of the English language.

This is where craft steps in. Using the tools of the language, as you would a paintbrush or trowel, you
construct the piece you are working on. Those tools are the vocabulary and structure of the language.

We can break the rules, but those rules should be known first. We cannot all be Saramago.

Despite this, I also believe it’s necessary for a writer to write, even if they do not have a grasp on the
fundamentals of English grammar. Continual use of the language, I believe, will eventually inspire one to look at those rules. However, I don’t believe every writer needs to publish or subject others to their ill use of the language. Some things are not meant to read.

I break the rules. I use fragmented and run-on sentences at times. I love contractions. I use passive  language (Oh my!).

But most often, readers do understand the point or message I attempt to convey. Which brings us back to the reason for this post.

The purpose of writing, is to communicate. We are sending a message to our readers. But, if those readers don’t understand what you’re attempting to convey, you have not done your job correctly. If the reader stops reading, because your material is structurally difficult to get through, again, you have not done your job.

Read: communication is not in the eye of the beholder. Beauty may be, but messages are not.

If the beholder has no idea what you are trying to say, but thinks what you have written is a bunch of pretty words, well, great. Still, there doesn’t seem to be much of a point. Stringing pretty words together, regardless of individual meaning, is as useful as stating, ‘I is educated.’

I will not argue for perfect grammar in writing, because I don’t believe it’s necessary for storytelling. What I will argue for however, is the use of story and language structure.

We can go all creative, break the rules, make insane statements, divorce ourselves from logic, but in the end it comes to this: if you are a writer attempting to convey a story, but your reader does not understand or finds your story difficult to read, you have probably lost that reader. They won’t come back for more.