Over the past weekend I went to a Business of Art workshop and one of the attendees on the first day was also a presenter, a musician named Jogo. One of his parting thoughts was that you should take at least one action every day that works on your art and one action to promote yourself.
I like this idea because as a full-time working mother there are not that many hours in the day for me. I can probably write a little something and do one thing that promotes it. The question is, is re-writing, revising and editing really working on my art? In one respect, of course it is, but I feel like I should be writing something new every day.
There was a time when I was able to do the morning pages every day that Julia Cameron recommends, three pages of long hand writing. Even though they were most often venting or journal pages, I liked that three pages in the morning for my creative writing as well.
I know that James Lee Burke, who writes the Dave Robicheaux novels, writes at least 750 words every single day. I’ve heard other writers say that they set themselves a limit and they produce that much of new material every day. Then the editing and the business aspects of being a writer can come later in the day. Of course, they’re working as a writer all day long while I’m spending my day driving to work, working, driving home and then taking care of a small child who demands my attention until very late at night.
So, I’d like to be creating, really creating new material every day. Even if it were just a line or two, but preferably somewhere around three pages. After three pages a day, the creativity in my writing dissipates.
Right now, asking myself to get up early enough to write before I go to work just does not seem to be feasible, but first thing in the morning is my best, most creative and energetic time for writing. So, what do I do? My best idea so far is to write in my head on the drive in and either use a digital recorder or scribble it down when I get to work. I don’t get a lot of really good lines that way though.
So, if I have limited time and I don’t create something new, is re-writing or editing “working on my art?” It doesn’t feel like it but I think I may have to accept that it is.
The one action for promotion is not so difficult. I do recognize that there is a very good cumulative effect. After the workshop, I ended up with a long list of actions to take. For instance, yesterday I pulled my short artist’s statement out of what I had written to get into that workshop. I edited it down to a paragraph and put it in my Facebook page. If I fill out one element on that Facebook page every day, within a week it will be done. Some of those same elements are going to go into my website. I’m already signed up with Weebly and bought my domain name so I can do that very soon.
In fact, I started to work on the Weebly page but I realized I need to get a visual image in my head and pick out the visual elements before I really create it. I know what I want for content on each page but I would like at least some of the images to be my own creation, photographs or drawings. Also, do I want the images to be different on each page or the same throughout the site? I think that will be my task over the weekend or next week.
Is revising and editing working on my art? Yes, I think it is. Is it creating something new every day? It can be, but it doesn’t really feel like it. I would really like to be creating something new, whether it’s a couple lines of poetry or a paragraph on a story. Today I will just keep my eyes open and see if anything occurs to me that I can scribble down.
I think this is probably a personal question with a personal answer. How do you handle it?
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