Keeping Art and Writing Fresh

Linda Townsdin

Linda Townsdin

Writing and making art have always played important roles in my creative life. Most recently, I’ve been concentrating on my mystery series—creating images with words instead of paint.

My dear friend, Julie Williams, a wonderful artist and writer, recently sent me a gift of watercolor art materials and told me about a technique she thought I’d enjoy. She was right. I always love trying something new.

Not long ago, encaustic painting captured my imagination and I created the piece above. For those unfamiliar with encaustic art, the medium is hot (or cold) wax and pigments. I did this piece using hot wax on glass.

For me, the back and forth between visual art and writing has been a way to refresh my spirit, and it always enhances my work. I know many writers who read this blog are also musicians, artists, photographers, etc. I’d love to hear how combining your creative activities keeps you inspired.

Letting Your Story Go

I’m close to finishing the second draft of my mystery, Focused on Murder. I’ve rearranged chapters for maximum suspense, ramped up my subplot with new scenes and once I’ve reviewed and edited it, I’ll have carried out the most important step in K.M. Weiland’s “Wordplayer’s Manifesto” I posted a couple of weeks ago: Don’t just start stories, finish them.

Next on the Wordplayer’s list: Set your stories free. Send them into the world.

The time is getting close for me to let it go, but I’m torn between wanting to let it fly and continuing to tinker. Will it be as good as I can get it? Probably never. But where exactly is that place where you know it’s ready?

Paying attention to my inner voice

I used to paint large canvases and mixed media pieces and I recall standing at the same precipice. Is it ready to show? Will a few more brushstrokes enhance or ruin it? After not listening to my inner voice and adding one more touch and then another I ruined my share of paintings until I eventually learned to pay closer attention.

I know I’ve ruined a few short stories and one early attempt at a mystery as well by adding one touch too many. I don’t want that to happen this time.

In my blog from July 3, Inspiration Comes in Three’s, I quoted Kristine Kathryn Rusch: “The book will never be perfect. Take the advice that those of us who’ve worked in broadcasting learned long ago. I think it was best expressed by Tina Fey in Bossy Pants: The show doesn’t go on when it’s finished; it goes on because it’s 11:30. Exactly. At some point, you must simply let go of that book or story or play and move to the next.”

Reading Rusch’s piece again reminded me not to take myself so seriously. I’m writing a mystery that I hope will entertain, with characters who have enough emotional depth and honesty so readers will want to continue reading stories about them. I’d also like to leave readers with my take on turning a few stereotypes upside down.  

What do you do to trust your inner voice and not let the negative noise get in the way?