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Practicing other types of art or creative expression to enrich your writing..

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 16:29:34 GMT

Last term, my MFA professor suggested to try to sketch or draw some object once a day (or week) as a way to improve creative writing skills. I was wondering if anyone else had ever received this suggestion, or tried it out. What benefits did you receive from it, if any, and are there any other art forms you like to work with along side writing that you feel like improve your skills?

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 18:01:30 GMT

I have never specifically received this advice, I've just fallen into it. I have a trifecta of creative things I do, and I find that each one helps expand my creative mind in different ways: writing, dancing, and quilting. The biggest benefit to my writing is that I am more courageous artistically. If I can handle being a crappy dancer, it makes me more confident that I can handle rejection as a writer. Quilting helps me think more visually. What colors or patterns or fabrics would make this quilt a coherent piece of art? And finally, I find that if I get stuck as a writer, I dance. And if I'm too tired from dancing, I sit and quilt. And if my fingers get sore from quilting, I write. That way I am always creating, and I never feel guilty that I am not writing (or dancing, or quilting). It's quite a perfect combo!

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:21:03 GMT

Every where I look within my life there seems to be a piece of scrap paper or a journal within which I have jotted a few lines, the more writings I find the cleverer the ideas become and now I feel ready to explode. Playing the guitar or the piano always helped as I gauge how well I'm feeling emotionally from the way that I'm playing before sitting down to write and after thirty plus years I believe it may have worked. I feel very humble at the moment.

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 20:44:34 GMT

I just began illustrating some of my stories and have found that as a great way to return to work before redrafting or reworking pieces. Sometimes the revision process can be dry, but if there's one image I really enjoy then it's fun to rework it in a visual format. This is something that has helped me to return to work I'm tired of reading. Once the illustration is completed, it's helpful to have come at the work in a different way. Then I can start the revision anew.

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 15:09:06 GMT

I definitely agree with this suggestion. I really reckon that your choice of another creative activity depends on what you enjoy doing. For example, I really enjoy painting, and am currently working on a mural that I'm painting on a wall in my house, and find that the time I spend doing this is kind of meditative, and often, after an hour or so, turning my writing over in the back of my mind, something presents itself. I also think that exercising a creativity which is slightly different from writing seems to strengthen my precision and focus when I am writing. Having said that, I never really thought about this consciously until I read this thread so you have definitely brought this suggestion more into focus for me, so thanks!

Sat, 29 Oct 2016 03:27:33 GMT

Although I have never heard of this suggestion before, I completely agree with it. Other than writing, I love to do the Argentine Tango. It helps me with connect with myself and other people. It also helps in being more comfortable with being vulnerable. All qualities, I think are important for a writer.

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:40:11 GMT

I'm practicing my photography more which is helping with my writing. I often use the pictures as a stimulus for a poem .

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 03:22:40 GMT

I love listening to music or playing music to come up with ideas (though this may be because I see colors/images when I listen to music, so it might just be me, haha). I used to really enjoy coming up with book covers, and I really like storyboards, or (if you're a math-y/graph type of person) charts and visual web/map things (like the kind they have on murder mystery TV shows haha). My favorite program for the maps/storyboard layouts is XMind. :)

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 16:49:34 GMT

This may just be my background, but I do take a multimedia approach to my work. As part of my work, I'm lucky to a bit of photography and cinematography, as well as graphic design and illustration. Some ideas and concepts can be easily displayed visually while others are better suited for words. Sometimes, you need to represent things in one medium that may be better suited for another medium. This can be frustrating, but being able to think and explore ideas in different mediums and art forms helps with the translation process.

Fri, 18 Aug 2017 01:26:26 GMT

I'm a huge proponent of doodling! If I'm ever feeling overwhelmed or stuck on a written piece, I will draw semi-mindlessly for a bit. It always calms me and often gives me the space I need to figure out just what should be happening in my piece.

Alyssa Jordan
Thu, 24 Aug 2017 19:02:04 GMT

In school, I loved ceramics class. There was something about working with clay and molding things; it felt so peaceful, and it was a nice reprieve when I was stuck on a story or a character.

Thu, 19 Jul 2018 23:41:18 GMT

I have a kind of on again off again relationship with video editing. When I have the time to dedicate to it, I do find that it really does help my writing. It gives me another outlet/something else to focus on when I'm struggling with writing, and it's just another way to tell a story!

Fri, 27 Jul 2018 19:02:16 GMT

I've found that music and painting/drawing has improved my writing, if not to help me exercise my creative skills, then to help me focus and become more mindful, getting rit of that excess creative energy and even inspiring me!

Fri, 27 Jul 2018 21:16:54 GMT

I dabble in a bunch of different things and I like to think that they all play their own roles in enriching my writing. Studying a different mode of creativity can be helpful in thinking about problems in your writing and how to approach fixing those problems from a new angle. Also, I enjoy it because no one else gets to see my art and there's no pressure!

Sat, 28 Jul 2018 22:13:35 GMT

Anything that enhances your creativity like drawing or doodling is a good way to improve your writing.

Wed, 29 Aug 2018 03:44:38 GMT

I write songs. This has helped my prose in a couple ways. Because music is oral, I now appreciate the sound of words. Sometimes I self-edit my sentences to make the most of repeated consonants or the rhythm of syllables. Music is also structured; there are little motives that repeat. We can do the same in our paragraphs and even inside sentences.

Thu, 06 Sep 2018 13:59:54 GMT

I know that when I started dancing, I was entranced with this whole new way to express my emotions that wasn’t writing. I could just get lost in a song and move in a way that felt appropriate to the mood of it. Going back to writing poetry with dance knowledge showed me that there were multiple ways of expressing the same thing... love could be a word, a movement, a feeling, and so many more things. I think opening up in dance really made my creativity flow, and made me more apt to just writing whatever in my poetry, not trying to hold back because it “wasn’t good enough”. In dance, I could never make anything perfect all the time, and I think that was an important lesson to take to my poetry. Especially just brainstorming sessions.

Sat, 08 Sep 2018 04:20:52 GMT

For me it's usually acting. However, I've recently started DMing for the first time (I have played before but not DMed) a homebrew campaign (Dunegons and Dragons). With a combo of sketching out a story and events, improvising scenes and characters on the spot as required, as well as ensuring my players gain their own character arc fulfillment - I've had quite a few epiphanies about character-building and character story-arcs. It's been GREAT.

Wed, 12 Sep 2018 21:07:59 GMT

Watching films helps a lot in the whole "show and don't tell" realm for me, as I see how films use visual storytelling to get points across. Really has helped me in writing descriptions, dialogue, and just writing in general. Highly recommend watching movies such as No Country For Old Men or Django if you wanna see some quality storytelling.