Being an artist is literally a hands on job. Using my hands to create something useful and valuable is one of the best things ever. The creative process of placing my hands on the work has taught me a few things.
It has taught me about my own power and limitlessness. If I can take a blank canvas and turn it into a product of value, then I have a certain kind of power. This reminds me that my only limit is myself. My hands are tools that engages my mind to my vast potential. The possibilities are endless.
The mastery of anything comes with practice. The repetitive motion of my hands connects with my brain and brings a synergy that nothing else can. There is power in action; in sitting down and getting the work done time and time again. After doing this for a while the process becomes intuitive. My hands know what to do; my brain tells me where to go.
Working with my hands have also taught me patience. Practice has taught me not to rush the process; to enjoy it step by step. I have waited for paint to dry, for colours to take root, and for my mind to distill an idea. Practice and patience go hand in hand and both assist in mastery.
I become close to my projects. I have touched them; and they have touched me. It is impossible to create art without becoming affected by what you are creating. In the final analysis, my work and I will be touching and connecting with someone else as well. At least, that is what I hope for.
Writers write and the more we do it the better we become at it. It’s like they say practice makes perfect. When we write in our journals we may not be doing our official writing but the act of writing constantly can sharpen our minds and our thought processes. So when we come to the writing that we do for publishing, we will have unconsciously honed our skills a little.
We can also consciously use our journals to develop our skills as writers. We can try out different writing methods and see which one is best for us. This is where we can try a writing technique that is not usually our style. Who knows, we may find something that could possibly enhance our writing and make our stories that more exciting and meaningful. The great thing about our journals is that we can try these things with ourselves before we allow anyone to see our finished products.
Our journals may also have great story ideas in them and so we can use our own past experiences as research. Think of all the places we have been, our thoughts and impressions on events close to us and far from us, stories told to us by strangers and family members and just the events of our everyday lives. We have some of this written down in our journals and this record can be used as fodder for interesting stories. Rereading our journals can take us back to a particular memory and all the feelings that surround that memory and make for powerful fiction or nonfiction.
Let us look at our journals as more than just static records and see them as tools to sharpen our skills and as a library where research can be done.
Remember there is nothing like words in black and white to help you see where you are and where you are going.
Sheryl A. Keen
Author “Journal According to John.”