I recently did some pretty serious reorganizing in my bedroom and studio space. It’s a good thing to do occasionally. In the process of boxing up old drawings and sketchbooks, I came across a shockingly high number of… old drawings and sketchbooks. I drew a lot when I was younger. I mean… A LOT. And I wrote A LOT. I am utterly flabbergasted by the sheer quantity of doodles and scribbles that I managed to get out before I was even old enough to drive. GEEZE. It may or may not explain old math grades, but that’s neither here nor there.
But I imagine my current self talking with my younger self. When I was 12 or 13, I really began to get into writing and drawing as a means of storytelling, and I spent hours a day with my notebooks. Nowadays, I feel like I don’t have as much time, or doodling just isn’t as important as whatever else I’m doing. I don’t think there’s anything worse than an artist who doesn’t take doodling (aka, sketching) seriously… It’s like if Gene Kelly didn’t dance unless he was on stage, in front of a camera. Or if a baseball player never tossed a ball to himself outside of the field. Or if a racecar driver always took the bus when not racing. It’s all right if it’s your hobby, but if you want to be serious about your work then… you have to be serious. I guess the shocking part for me is that I used to be MORE serious about my creative side. Crazy. How do I get it back?
Well… Besides reverting 100% to childhood (since I’m replacing the rear tires on my Firebird tomorrow, childhood doesn’t sound horrible), I made a list of key “things” that I think would help me get back my ‘child-like’ passion for actually creating.
- “Lights Out” Doesn’t Matter. I know exactly why I wear glasses: it’s because I read, wrote, and drew in the near-dark. Probably shouldn’t have done that. NONETHELESS! When real inspiration hits, don’t wait for a “convenient” time to arrive with it. When you have an idea, RECORD IT IMMEDIATELY, day or night!
- You Are Part of Your Audience. This doesn’t mean just write for yourself, and forget those other jerks. It means you need to respect your audience’s needs in the same way you want writers to respect you as a reader. Don’t cheat them out of the good stuff, and don’t spoil them with the sugary stuff either.
- It’s for Fun Too! I know how stupid this might sound, but I forget how fun drawing and writing can be… That’s the downside of doing it professionally, I guess. I get caught up in the whole “business” aspect of it, and I forget that I also love it J
- It’s Your Party, You Can Cry if You Want To! Yeah, I know that song. WHAT NOW?! But seriously… It’s okay to just boss your work around, even if it’s in the “wrong” direction. You KNOW that scene is sappy as hell, but dang it, DRAW/WRITE IT ANYWAY. You just know that every moody guy has a metaphorical (or literal) crazy-wife-in-the-attic, but leave the old hag there anyway! Draw the cheap-shots, and write the sucker-punches. I get so caught up in proving my brilliance that I’m afraid of creating something cheesy, over-done, lazy, or just plain crappy. DO IT FOR THE SAKE OF DOING THE THING. (Or in my specific case, make all of the guys tall, dark, handsome, romantic, and mysterious! Who cares??)
- Love It. Yup. Love it because… Well, when I was 8-12 years old, I didn’t really know why I loved stories so much, except that they were “additional worlds.” It was travelling, for me, but usually to worlds I’d never see in real life (aka, Middle Earth), meeting people I started to idolize (such as Carson Drew HA HA HA), and fighting battles I’d proooobably never face (still yet to see a real-life Nazgul.) It was pure adrenaline rush combined with learning and knowledge. Writing and drawing should still have some of that… maybe just in a different way?
So essentially, just do it and love it. Because if you love it, you’ll want to do it right.