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Art and Creativity

These past few weeks have been a bit stressful for me.

I can't even fully explain why, except that it has to do with all these questions buzzing around in my brain: "What am I going to do with my life?" and "Why am I still living in this town when I should move to the city, where there are better job opportunities?" and "Why are all my friends getting married?" and "Will I be alone FOREVER??" 

Anxious Kristin is anxious. 

Anyway, my go-to solution for stress is usually writing. Except that, after four years of college classes, teaching me the proper way to write, my inner editor was on a rampage - trashing whole chapters (Hulk-like) before I could even finish them. 

Writing wasn't a release anymore. It wasn't even fun. It just felt like homework. 

There's nothing more frustrating than wanting to create something, NEEDING to create something, but being unable to do so.

So, on my day off, I do what I usually do when I'm frustrated and stressed and confused - I went to the bookstore.

And I didn't migrate to the YA section, like I normally do. I headed for the art books. I bought some colored pencils. I bought a beginner's guide to drawing and painting. I took my purchases home, and I started to scribble. 

They weren't great scribbles. They weren't even good scribbles. But it was color, pictures, art - and it felt good.

And after scribbling for a few minutes, hours, days - writing wasn't such a chore anymore.

I have this theory that art begets art. Sure, we all want to master something; we want to be the best singer / dancer / writer / painter that we can be. But creativity is all linked. The joy of scribbling on a sketchpad can translate to the joy of breathing characters to life. By learning and delighting in other forms of art, we're not taking away from another. We're only appreciating new ways of setting our creativity free. 

Kristin Briana Otts

Kristin is an aspiring YA author with an abiding love for her dog, ghost hunter tv shows, and rainy days.

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  1. I do the same thing when I start hating my writing because my psyche is out of whack. A Sketch pad and pencil can do wonders. Great post!

  2. I do this with music. My best days are the ones where I go from laptop to harp to laptop to harp... It helps that I don't ever want to be a harpist. I just do it for me.

  3. I do that with art as well. Sometimes I just need a break from constant note taking, planning, writing, and I need to do something different but still creative. It really does help.

  4. Preach, girl.

    I've only had two semesters so far and college is doing the same thing; for the past nine months at least one professor has been staring over my shoulder as I write, criticizing, correcting, and worst, scoffing.

    Now I craft. Something about cutting up paper makes paper easier to write on.

    As for Anxious Kristin, Anxious Glenna also feels you. I think, though, you are a fantastic writer with a brain that works in ways I can't begin to understand and absolutely love to witness, and generally a fantastic enough person (not in the you're super nice way so much as you have a pretty swell head on your shoulders) that things will sort out, by hook, crook, or book.

    1. You are super lovely and wonderful, and I'm so flattered that you think I am too. <3

  5. I had the same experience in college, and even after college. The first semester, I had a mental breakdown and wrote a book in 2 weeks. I wrote its sequel a few months later. And then I didn't finish a full length novel for 6 years. Not until this spring and I've finished 4 since then. (Whether or not they're good doesn't actually begets art. Every book I write is better than the last and we're getting somewhere...)

    I own watercolors still wrapped in their case. Maybe I'll paint tonight after a stressful dinner.

    I also find that writing something different helps. I took a creative writing course (my only one. I was a poli sci major) and wrote short stories. I learned a LOT in that class.

    I also think that reading outside of genre is important (I just blogged on this the other day). I went back and read two books that I'm surprised my favorite political science professor didn't recommend to me. I read about war and political theory and why people listen to the voice of conscience. And then I read some neuroscience. Then I read some philosophy and theology. That helps too.

    Oh, and compulsively rereading my favorite books is always a go-to. I think Tamora Pierce's Alanna and I are going to bond tonight as well, with a glass of wine. <= this is how college grads do it, kids.

    1. Rereading old favorites is definitely helpful! And it's always fantasy for me as well. Currently Ursula Le Guin and I are getting reacquainted. :)

  6. That right there is why I play the piano. And I've had sketching help, too. :)

    This is so true, and beautiful. Thanks for sharing. As for your anxiety and the reasons for it, I've been there, it sucked, and oh golly, I'm sorry you're dealing with all that. If it helps--the state of suspension doesn't last forever. Don't know whether you're the praying type, but I am, and I'll say one for you.

    1. I am the praying type, and I very much appreciate it. :)

  7. I do this, too. When I'm stuck, sometimes I head outside with a camera. I see what I see and take pictures of things. I try to see something in a new way. And usually I find something to inspire me. Great post, Kristin!

  8. That first full paragraph -- that's me right now. And the second one too, to a certain degree. I think I'll take a trip to the mall tomorrow and enjoy the art of fashion design. :D

  9. I agree that creativity begets creativity. I'm glad "scribbling" helped you not see writing as a chore anymore. :o)


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Item Reviewed: Art and Creativity Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Briana Otts