visual art vs creative writing – when worlds collided

Having finally got my scanner working again (although it’s still being a bit temperamental), I have been creating a few new drawings to add to my illustration portfolio. I say that but a lot of these drawings I create just to upload to Instagram and Tiktok. I think it’s important to produce regular new content once you’ve built up a little bit of a following (even if it’s just a small one like me). After all, your followers started following you for a reason – it’s only right that you give them more of what they signed up for.

Fortunately, these drawings don’t take up much of my creative writing time. Writing or editing my stories is a different kind of ball game for me – I have to be hyper focussed on what I’m working on. Essentially, I submerge myself in whatever project I’m working on. I read the words in my head, making sure the words flow and read clearly and concisely. I also like to write and edit as if I’m experiencing the world through the protagonist’s eyes (much like reading a novel, I guess). Therefore, I need to concentrate completely. In other words, I need perfect silence.

My drawing, on the other hand, can be done with any level of background noise. I can do it while blasting out music, or while I’m half paying attention to a tv show. That’s not to say that I don’t zone myself into my artwork – it’s just zoning in of a different kind.

There have been several times in my past where it’s felt like I’ve been fighting a bit of a war between juggling my creative writing ventures and my visual art practice.

When I was studying for my BA in Fine Art, I distracted myself A LOT with writing short stories and a novel on the side. There were several occasions when I dragged myself to the university library at midnight (in my third year I essentially became nocturnal and studied into the early hours). I would sit down with my black coffee, open my laptop, then distract myself with the novel I’d been writing. And so, of course, I got none of my actual university work done that night.

And then on the flip side, when I had determined to get my first novel completed and fully edited, back when I used to work in retail, I distracted myself with drawing and painting.

I hate to use the term distracted when I’m referring to the creative process. But still, when it came to trying to get my most important projects completed, that was exactly what I was doing.

I feel like I have now found a balance between my various practices. I’m by no means perfect, as I still sometimes find myself procrastinating with a doodle when I know I should be editing my book.

I suppose there are worst things to distract yourself with, though!

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