Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy. —Saadi
A New Class
I’m taking a sketching class. Why? Well, the truth is that a few nights ago I stayed up a bit too long looking at Facebook and I fell victim to online advertising.
I haven’t taken a sketching class since college and my skills are rusty. Last night, I tried to sketch a dahlia, and it did not go well. (Ugg, petals!) That awkward, sloppy sketch left me feeling frustrated...so I started another. This time, I drew the vase. I turned out better.
This feeling of frustration is very familiar. As a writer, I hold a mental image of the thoughts or emotions that I want to convey in my stories, and the truth is that they often fall short, especially when I’m settling into the first draft of something. The world is unfamiliar, the characters seem like strangers, and everyone’s motivations feel murky. Even the sentences seem clunky before the book reveals its rhythm.
But we get to know our work in the same way we get to know anyone: slowly, over time, and much better the more time we spend with them. The truth is that difficult moments with someone are often the times that bond us, and I have tremendous affection for the books, such as A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic or The Dreamway, that gave me the hardest time during their creation.
If you’re going through a difficult period with your work, please know that you’re not alone; artmaking often feels very awkward. In fact, that’s a good sign—it means that you’re stretching yourself. Make sure that you spend some time with your creativity this week. It’s a friend that will never abandon you.