Sacrificing interests

I realized yesterday that I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush since April 30th. For someone who once was pretty active in this department, it surprised me. This is the last painting I did:

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I’ve been so busy writing I’ve forgotten about my art. This is the way it usually goes in my brain: Have flash of character or story, or both, and cannot stop thinking about it. The character, usually a pain in the ass, will not stop talking to me. While cooking dinner, driving on I90, and grocery shopping, this character (or sometimes more than one) continues it’s little conversation in my head. I’ve been know to write whole chapters and sequences of dialogue on my phone, random receipts and anywhere else. I talked about this in my last post.

So here’s the tally since end of May on the writing front. Completed first drafts: two, both in edits, and beginning bits and pieces of a third. WIP 1 has 102,373 words. That needs some serious editing to get down to a manageable length. Written May22-July18, 2018. I like the story (and the research for this book including into How to Disappear was seriously fun. I learned a lot should I ever decide it’s a good idea.) I just finished the second WIP that brings one character from the previous piece forward. He’s a tough cop with a serious soft spot for his kids and a certain woman who proves to be hard to pin down. She has a complicated past, one she’s just not ready to let go of quite yet. For research I read I Love A Cop. This one is sitting at 98,738 words. I like the witty back and forth (my main character, Meg, is a feisty, rather smart-assed journalist, who has a serious penchant for drunk dialing her ex-husband.) It needs a few tweaks so this word count will go up. They say anything over 100,000 words is a tough sell, but dang it, if that’s what it takes to tell the story then… I started this one August 7th and finished it three days ago.

Like I said, the characters YELL AT ME at TOP VOLUME sometimes and don’t let me accomplish anything until I tell their stories. This happens a lot. Back in 2008-9 I spent many a night after kids were in bed sitting at my desk pounding out a two-book series. I still love those characters and frequently have What Would Kara Do moments. I queried it around for awhile, had beta-readers, and it received positive feedback but has yet to be published (the typical story of a struggling writer).

I’ve already written premise and a couple of chapters of the continuing story of my journalist. I’m currently digging into background research for the second main character even though he is not currently military, his past life influences some of the choices and plays a role. I’ve started reading lots of military stories including more unusual behind the scenes ones like Grunt by Mary Roach (which I’m finding hilarious because of the authors dry humor in certainly unfunny situations). On my bookshelf at present (among others):

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I’m a bit of a freak about research. If I say they get on a plane from DC at 10:30 pm and fly to Seattle and the only option is via San Fransisco, then that’s the way my character gets to Seattle. Accuracy as much as possible brings realism to the story in my opinion. Sometimes I make myself insane trying to get details like a cop’s work shift cycle correct. But then again, I hear voices so…

I mentioned to an IG friend of mine (you can see her art at PricklyPearArtAtx) that I hadn’t painted in months, and she mentioned she hadn’t written in a year since getting wrapped up in her painting. I wonder if it’s like for other creative types as well. You fall into something you’re enjoying and all other creative pursuits go by the wayside. I’d like to find time to paint again, but I know the upcoming months are going to be crazy (school, homework, kid management, a very needy dog, life). I’m just hoping I still have time to write. I wrote day in and day out for a few years and then suddenly stopped for a few years. I’ve only really just come back into obsessively writing in recent months. I would hate to lose that again (though I’m sure my family would enjoy not seeing my laptop glued to me 24/7. I even bring it when we go camping, because: voices.)

What creative outlets do you enjoy? Do you sacrifice one for another?

 

Inspiration Tuesday: Art Studio

I am a huge fan of art. My bookshelves, and floor space, and coffee table are filled with art books, books about the art world, art history tomes, and catalogs of most of the major art exhibits I’ve been to here in London (I consider them my souvenirs. The Husband thinks of them as the things that break boxes. Potato, pOtato)

A few months ago, as we were finalizing all the downstairs renovations for our house in Seattle we once again started talking about the different rooms and how we wanted to make better use of them. We have a five bedroom house, and most of the rooms are very generous. We only use three as bedrooms. We used to use the downstairs ‘bedroom’ as an office/exercise room. It would have made a perfect guest room because theres a 3/4 bath right next to it. But it’s right off the foyer and has two big windows (that get fabulous sun) and a glass panel door. It was too painful to see it as a room that only received use 3-4 times a year. {it’s ugly and utilitarian here, and a longer rectangle shape than the picture shows, but have faith!}

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So the upstairs extra bedroom became the guest room.

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And no one went in there. I can’t really blame them either. It is uninspired. Since we only lived in the house a year, we hadn’t done much to the house yet (painted two walls downstairs and that was it.)

The guest room was a wasted room. The kids have a family room upstairs for their hang out space, and we have a downstairs living room for adults to lounge around. This room really didn’t have much of a daily purpose. Since we’ve been in London, The Husband said I should take that room as my art studio, and we would work out storing the mattress and bed frame (since it’s just the free one that came with the mattress), and pull those out when we rarely need them. It is the only room with north facing light (perfect for my painting). I can set up a desk for writing, have plenty of storage space for paints/canvas/fabric/etc, and have still have room for photo shoots for fashion posts.

Can I get an Amen and Hallelujah!?

Immediately I had to pull out this book, Studio by Sally Coulthard and starting flipping through. My Pinterest Art Studio and Art boards are long and colorful and full of ideas.

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My mom bought me this painting print for my birthday, and i can’t wait to get it mounted and framed. {I first saw the artist – Samantha French – on YoungHouseLove, and I love her stuff! I also ADORE this artist¬†for a similar theme.}

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I had thought to put it in the kitchen, but now I’m not quite sure since it’s very inspirational. I love the print and it gives me such a happy feeling looking at it. Since we have such an entirely new look planned for the kitchen, the colors of the painting will look amazing {!!!} in there.

White River granite island counter, white cabinets, with navy island cupboards, grey backsplash subway tiles, and Nero Antratice Lux Pental countertops for the outer U of the kitchen with light grey walls.

If it does go in the kitchen, I have plenty of other art for my studio space. I want to keep it fairly light and neutral, but with lots of art I can rotate in and out to keep me inspired. Of course, I’ll have my fantastic collection of art books that are works of art in themselves. I’m also loving some of these storage ideas to keep everything right at my fingertips.

No matter how the room turns, out I am pretty excited to transform it into my space where I can be in the middle of painting and not have to clean up everything to make dinner (I can just close the door!), or worry about anything being disturbed during while drying, or my supplies being pilfered for someone else use. {looking at you Chick…}

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My son gave me this book of inspirational quotes from artists for Christmas and I love flipping through it to remind myself that creating art is about me, not about what other people think of it.

This quote sums it up very well.

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