I’ve lately been sketching scenes that are inside my head onto paper. They’re memories that one would more typically journal, but here I am randomly drawing them in a spiral notebook. The drawings aren’t very good, but I don’t care. I’m just doing it because, well, for no reason at all.
It reminds me of a time when I worked in the corporate world and one of my editors was writing a book. He had used up his vacation time and needed a week off to spend 24×7 writing, so he could meet his publisher’s deadline. I gave him the week without pay and when he returned, he sat in my office and told me he didn’t write a word. I remember him saying I was the only one who would hear this confession. He was too embarrassed to tell anyone else at the office that every time he sat at his desk, instead of writing, he drew with colored pencils. I remember responding without alarm, rather indicating he probably did exactly what he needed to do, something to free his imaginative thinking. If he’d forced himself to write, the result probably would’ve been unusable.
I recently discovered by chance, via online literary trolling, The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind, a new book published by Findhorn Press. What captures me is author Cat Bennett’s concept that drawing is a process that can help us get out of our linear thinking and worrying mind. She begins the book’s preface, writing: “To be creative is to make something new or to make new connections between ideas that already exist.”
You can access the first 33 pages of The Confident Creative on the publisher’s Web site. For best viewing, mouse over the Flash Player and click on “view in full screen.”
The aforementioned editor whom I worked with in the late 1990s published his book with Da Capo Press in 1999: Grateful Dead: What a Long, Strange Trip: The Stories Behind Every Song 1965-1995. As for me, who knows what ideas I’m connecting right now. I guess I’ll just keep going. According to Cat Bennett, you never know what will happen when you pick up a pencil.
5 thoughts on “Be confident, be creative”
So good to see someone else found this book useful – I’ve been using the techniques in it every time before I start a chapter of my new book – my blog about it is here – http://www.thebookwright.com/2010/05/04/why-authors-need-to-draw/
Thanks for your thoughts and the reference to your blog. There’s something here with all this, just as you write “for authors, drawing actually makes you a better writer.” It makes me curious, too, about graphic novelists, drawing (literally) from both visual and narrative skills. (BTW, enjoy the workshop. I read about it in The Guardian!)
It’s interesting that your friend just naturally turned to drawing and that it freed him up to finish his writing! When we feel pressure to ‘perform’ (like a deadline!) we can get stuck. Drawing can take us out of that pressure mind and into a space of relaxation where we can get ideas easily and act on them without fear or stress. Lots of people don’t think of drawing as tool to be used like this! But it works!
And you’re quite right not to care whether your drawings are good! Just have fun making them! And see what happens!
That incident of my friend drawing instead of writing happened a little more than 10 years ago, yet it has stuck in my mind. I knew something good had happened (the drawing) while it appeared nothing had happened. I agree — people don’t think drawing is a tool … they think it’s goofing off.
Reminds me of “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” and “The Artists Way” — both helpful tools for getting us out of our logical/rational-controlled brain and into a place where we FEEL incompetent, so all the really good, intuitive, authentic things have a chance to come forth. We all need help to go there…
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