Monday, January 12, 2015

Writing Your Art Out

If you've hung around the alley at all, you might know that I am a sucker for suggesting this writing craft of ours is an art. But, it is super easy to lose focus that it is artistic when we have many many factors influencing our perspective on books in general. We have the different publishing trends, the yays and nays of writing for today's reader, the incredible competition of talent out there, and the thick skin that must be grown to handle someone ripping your story to shreds and telling you your art just ain't good enough.

Bravo to all who've stuck it out and are here, with hope, passion, and a clear vision of their dream! Phew, what a journey.

I have six books written and edited. And through that, with all the factors above, I admit that I have had my share of failed attempts to write a story for a certain "trend". This is an art no-no. It wasn't from my heart but from my desire to get published. And let's just say, that kinda writing is pretty transparent and thin in the eyes of a reader. Art is at its best when it's about the heart of the artist. No matter how private a person you are, or how business-oriented you might be, you may as well just read between the lines in this Lichtenstein quote:

Another way to say it:  In order for your writing to be art, you have to put your heart in it.

Let's put all those above outside factors aside when we set out to write a story.

 I don't want the static of the world to interfere with the rhythm of my heart. Can a painter pour his heart on the canvas with the gallery owner tapping him on the shoulder and directing his every brushstroke?

Shut the doors to the outside world, and let your heart do the writing.

When I step back and look at my heart-directed stories it is then that I sense art has sprouted from my Sometimes, after months of putting a book aside, I'll pick it up again and be surprised that my heart's timeline and my character's arc are aligned.

I'd like to believe that God's breath has something to do with it, as well as a little bit of paint:
And it's even better when I am in the middle of a story and I suddenly realize that. I might be writing about a situation I've never been in (like a beheading in the 16th century...YIKES), but I have shaped and molded my characters to become an illustration of my own heart journey-without even purposing it! What follows is an awesome ride of discovering greater significance at every twist and turn. And it mustn't be extinguished by quickly fleshing it out, writing only for the market, or worrying about the naysayers. 

If I want my writing to be my art, I must be sure to not only listen to craft podcasts, but my heart:

We can't touch our readers, change hearts, and share God with others if we are not writing art onto the pages. And by that I mean:

So, when have you written your art out lately?


Susan Anne Mason said...

Lovely post, Angie! And so much truth within.
When I wrote "Irish Meadows", I wrote from sheer love of the story and characters - even though I knew I was breaking many of the 'rules'. I
I wrote about an Irish Catholic family, I had two main love stories and four main characters, and one of my heroines fell in love with a priest (or almost priest)! I knew what the publishers would say about this book, but I didn't care. I loved the story SO much I kept going and didn't take people's advice to break it into two separate books, to take out the Catholic elements and the priest.
And guess what? An editor from Bethany House LOVED it too!
So definitely write from the heart! You never know where it can lead!

Angie Dicken said...

WONDERFUL example, Sue!! Thank you so much for sharing. Love your journey! Have a great week.:)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Beautiful post, Angie. You've given good food for thought here. I believe the story I'm revising is a form of art. It talks to issues I've been working through in my own heart, for most of my life. It was fun to fast draft it and see where it led. Now, it needs lots of work, and I'm up for that. Hopefully, it will shine and one day be an encouragement to those who read it.

Great post!

kaybee said...

This is good, Angie. I know my "art" and "heart" have taken over when it feels like something else is driving, me, mainly God. Sue Mason, your comment helped me because I am working on a two-romance story and have been gently and not-so-gently advised to split it, but it works better this way so let's see where it leads.
Kathy Bailey

Angie Dicken said...

Jeanne, I am pretty much where you are. Finished the draft, now working out the kinks. It's so fun though when it starts coming together!!

Angie Dicken said...

Yes, Kaybee. I agree. I think the art comes out with God right beside me. Feel his Spirit a lot while I write! Hope you have clear direction on your story!