Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Painting in the New Year

Every year I resolve to lose weight, write more, read more, work out, be a better person, etc. Every year I break down mid March and wonder why I am doing what I am doing. By the end of the year I find myself sad that I never followed through with the promises that I made to myself. What kind of resolution are these? They are the kinds that are too broad to make. You can resolve to lose weight, but that means you have to do many things to make that change. It's hard for most people to stop eating junk, to start eating write, to calculate calories, to work out every day, plan out your meals.

It's just as hard to write a novel. What kinds of characters am I writing about? What are their stories? What are they like? What do they like? What do they look like? What is my story arc? What is this really about? etc. It is tough to stay on topic when you have a two year old roaming around the living room and you have to work a full time job so this means you have to get up early to squeeze in your writing time but what you really want to do is sleep.

Over the past year, I did write but mainly for myself. I also learned some new skills that I continue to work on despite the kinds of messes I've made with it (sometimes literal messes). I've become a painter and I love it. It is a wonderful thing to be able to express oneself while making art even if it isn't the art that you are accustomed to doing. When people move their eyes over an image that I created and express their desire to do exactly what I was able to do in a few hours, I feel glad. I was able to put away the fear of failing for a few short hours. That in itself has taught me a lot. Painting teaches me that my inner critic, ever present while I am writing, needs to be silenced. I let the suppressed feelings out and allow them to roam. It has allowed me to be more creative and to take chances that I haven't taken before.

So this year there are no resolutions. There is only the wish to stay the same or to get slightly better at the things that I have worked on all year. I am not going to take a leap of hope only to find myself in the gorge of despair next year. I am not going to resolve to write more or to even read more of a particular author. I am just going to be a painter of words. I will plop them down, smear words across the page with as much feeling as I can muster. I hope they scatter around the world bringing light to other people's dark, for that is what every writer hopes.

Here, here to a yellow New Year! I hope everyone's New Year is as bright as they paint it.

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