I’ve kept a journal off and on since I was a junior in high school. It was an assignment in my English class. Long after the assignment was over, I kept on as I found it to be a way to clarify my thoughts and anchor myself quelling my teenage anxiety.
Away at college, I added to my journaling by writing letters to friends, often 3 to 4 double-sided pages. I poured out my hopes and fears as a young adult on yellow lined legal pads. Never during that time did I consider my writing to have any type of creative value. My major was in the natural sciences and didn’t give language arts much if any thought.
Fast forward 40 odd years to my 60’s, now a retired middle school science teacher and a practicing artist, piles of journals stored in boxes in my attic. Then, last fall I picked up a pencil and started reading & writing poetry every morning as an alternative to reading and listening to the news. The 2016 election was driving me crazy. Much to my surprise, poetry started emanating from me. Not only was the process satisfying creatively, it started becoming food for my visual artwork. As time passed, my writing has continued to rescue me from the darkness of the world events. (I choose not to write about them either).
In January of this year, my blog followed the poetry. Originally it was going to be a way to document my visual art processes, but it has turned into a platform to showcase my writing, photography as well as my artwork. Again as with poetry, the satisfaction of writing a blog surprised me.
Julie Cameron of the Artist’s Way series suggests writing 3 full pages every morning. She calls them “Morning Pages.” Years back for a while I tried to do that. Though I did receive plenty of insights, the 3 full pages exercise were just too prescriptive and forced to me and I began to avoid the process.
Now I believe just write- daily in whatever form suits you. For me sometimes that can be a few lines, an entire poem or just editing something I’ve written the day before. Anything to tame the squirrels running loose in my brain. It’s a creative act that can be achieved with the immediacy of pencil and paper. You don’t need paint, canvas, a studio, clay or kiln. It’s a relatively quick process. Paint pictures with letters, words, and sentences. When you aren’t inspired visually, find inspiration & clarity in your written expression. Free your psyche to give your visual art more direction than it’s ever had before.