Thursday, March 24, 2011

Whatever You Focus On

This week, I found myself struggling for a topic.  Was I really so smoothly engaged in my writing that there were no hitches?  Could that possibly be?

I started to wonder if by looking for places where I had resistance and fear I was actually creating resistance and fear.  You know, that idea that whatever you focus on you get more of.  Like in therapy: if you only dwell on your problems -- and don't give energy to what's actually working -- you won't move forward.   Then I started to wonder if the blog was a good idea at all.  After all, I confessed to Wylie as I was telling her about all this the other day, I can spend hours (I mean hours) working on a post.  And THAT really is keeping me from my work!

Wylie laughed.  She suggested I do my posts as timed writing exercises like we did in our Thursday night writers group: you give yourself a topic, press the timer and then go. Ten minutes.  Write non-stop whatever comes to mind, no thinking, no corrections, no going back.  It's a fun way of getting everyone in the group focused and ready to work.  But for some reason I couldn't commit to that idea.  What if the writing was crap? What if it didn't make any sense to others? Who would want to read it?  That kind of writing can be really hit and miss.

So Wylie suggested I riff on something I was working on in the book.  Immediately, that ode to Eros came to mind.  It was a prayer from antiquity that I found in a book by a Jungian analyst -- it was the closest thing I ever came to discovering my true religion.  But I couldn't commit to that either. I felt (and still do feel) that the book should not be discussed here.

After my conversation with Wylie, one of our other masterminders, Linda, who seems to channel ideas from the gods, gave me another great idea for a blog topic.  She sent me this link to, which connected me to this whole "painting a day" community on the blog-sphere, where painters use their daily blog to crank out one painting a day.  A great way to foster creativity and innovation!  What if I used my blog in a similar way, say, to work out ideas for a poster series I want to do relating to one of the characters in my book?

All these great ideas were running through my mind about how to change the blog to support my work.  And then yesterday, I realized:  I actually did have one fear this week that's been holding me back. 

I skipped every painting day this week.  In fact, I have not painted one illustration for my book in almost two months!  I painted the cover art and the first illustration, a portrait of my main character, and then I stopped.  What happened?  Looking back, I think I freaked out when the style of the portrait didn't seem to match the style of the cover art.  The cover (the flying coat) was very orderly while the portrait felt a little "outside the lines" (colors actually mixed!) Not only that, ha ha, but try as I may, I couldn't get the portrait to look like the main character as I've described in the book, with thick dark curls, etc.  Instead, she kept coming up looking like me!  Ha ha!

I'm such a control freak! When am I going to get out of my way????


Cynthia Wylie said...

I love your portrait. I think your styles look similar enough. I wouldn't have even noticed! I will give you another tip. Sometimes using the same color palette - which you have done here - can cover up minor style variations. Keep painting. Keep writing.

Linda said...

I like it -- the blog post AND the portrait.

NOTHING wrong with either of them. Fun to read and see!