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 ...er...keyboard. 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:
So, when have you written your art out lately?