Happy January! Can you believe we’re already over a week into 2019? I swear, I’m partially in shock. I still don’t know what happened to the entire month of December. But you know what’s really cool? I’m back in the RADblog for the next couple months! So, we’ll be hanging out for January and February, before Ms. Boehm’s return (isn’t she amazing?!).
This month, since it’s January, let’s talk about resolutions.
More than that, let’s talk about resolutions for writers.
But let’s take it one step further.
Let’s talk about resolutions for writers, which have nothing to do with writing.
Why? Because as writers, it’s good for us to get out and do things, to see the world through a new lens (or two, or three, or four). So, this month, this beautifully chilly January, let’s talk about some things you can resolve to do this year, which have nothing to do with writing—but that I believe will help expand your writing career.
They’re also all things I’ve personally tried, so you know I’m not just talking.
#2: Painting, Drawing, and Digital Art
Last week, we talked about doing something that gets your body moving, that teaches you a little something about coordination. This week, I wanted to take a completely different route. Because this one will actually help you a great deal in your writing, if you take the right path (and if you’re in certain genres).
I’ve personally dabbled in painting, since high school. I used to do beautiful abstracts of acrylic paints, and I had so much fun with it. A couple years ago, I took up drawing as a hobby (one that I unfortunately haven’t had as much time to dabble in, lately). And since I got a tablet a few years back, my love of acrylic abstracts has moved from the physical and into the digital (I also try my hand at book cover design, which is, in and of itself, an art form).
That’s how you know I know what I’m talking about here.
See, all these forms of art are visual. Unlike writing, where we’re trying to paint a picture in someone’s mind, visual art allows others to witness our art with their own eyes. It allows us a chance to explore what people see when they look at art—and from there, to strengthen our writing skills.
But I know that paragraph might’ve been confusing, so let’s expound. There are two main ways writers use visual art as a tool to further their writing: in exploring a new creative outlet, and through inspiration from our writing.
If you’re one of those writers who wants to explore a new creative outlet, painting, drawing, and even digital art will teach you a great deal about writing. You’ll learn what goes where, you’ll gain a better understanding of what colors work well with others. If you paint like Bob Ross, you might even develop better use of setting within your writing, by understanding more of what our world really looks like.
On the other hand, if you allow yourself to be inspired by your writing, your visual art will be a mirror of the things you’ve written. You’ll get a better visual handle on what things look like, on the worlds you’ve created. If you’re like me, and you’ve created a world all your own, your skills can help you hone the feel of your world, or even to create a map that may someday show readers what your world truly looks like (and will easily help you keep everything straight in your own head as well). You could use those Bob Ross skills here, too, to show your readers the differences between our world and the one you’ve created in your writing.
Whatever the case, visual art is a hobby that will always be extremely useful for writers. If your resolution is only to take up a single hobby this year, this wonderful 2019, then let it be visual art. Let yourself explore a new venue, a kind of art very unlike that of writing—and yet one that informs it, a great deal.
Associate Editor, etc.