Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It Takes Time

My mom is an oil painter. For Christmas this year she gave me this:


The photo doesn't really do it justice, (the colors are much more vibrant), but it might give you an idea of why it's so embarrassing that I can't even draw stick figures. She's a real artist.

Today, she had an art day with my four-year-old daughter. This is what my daughter painted:

What I love about this painting (and what my mom always says about my daughter's art) is that it's so expressive. The extra colors and lines, and the crooked smiley face and tilted eyebrows just make me happy. I think I'm going to frame it.

I like looking at these paintings side by side, because they remind me that we all start as beginners. I've only been writing for two and a half years. I'm still learning, trying out new techniques, and practicing hard in hopes that someday I can become a REAL writer. I think sometimes I forget that writing, like any creative pursuit, takes time to master. I'll read something amazing and wonder if I will ever be that good, but I'll forget that most amazing books aren't the author's first attempt at writing.

I've read on agent and editor blogs that more people are writing books and trying get published than ever before. I think this is good. Some of those people are bound to write wonderful things that I will love in years to come. And some will give up, because they'll learn that writing is hard, and writing well is REALLY hard.

I don't want to be one of the ones who give up.

The other thing I gleaned from looking at these paintings side by side is that even though my daughter is a beginner, her picture is still fun to look at. I hope people feel the same about my writing. Just because we're beginners, doesn't mean our stuff isn't worth reading, right?

Are you just beginning your writing journey? Or have you been on this road a long time?

48 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

Wow! You're mom's amazing. And your daughter. At four, I think she can paint better than me!

I'm definitely at the beginning of my journey, but already I can see noticeable improvements from the first day.

Tamika: said...

I'm the biggest beginner there is! It's like kindergarden 101! Ha!

Your daughter appears to have a natural gift. Art is a wonderful expression of emotion, and your Mom embodied that. She is an artist, and so are you.

Girl with One Eye said...

Oh Natalie, I love this post. You are so right because I'd hate to think I've put my heart and soul into something that is not worth reading just not worth publishing...yet. I've only been writing a year and I know it's a long road ahead of me but I see HUGE improvements from when I started. There will be those who opt out and those who don't they usually call themselves published.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow! Both paintings are fabulous - looks like your daughter takes after your mom. This is a wonderful post, Natalie. Art and writing are so much alike, and sometimes it's a matter of who has the tenacity to stick with the dream.

Anissa said...

Beautiful! We all have to start somewhere.

Mary Campbell said...

So cute! oh and your mom's is good too. Just kidding - Your mom's is gorgeous. Your analogy is perfect.

Susan R. Mills said...

Amen to that! Both works of art are equally beautifully in their own way. Your mother and daughter are both very talented, which leads me to believe that you must also be blessed with creativity. I can't wait to read your first book!

Marybeth Poppins said...

Both pictures are amazing...seriously for a 4 yr old that is really good! If you write as well as they paint you'll definitely succeed :)

Jessica said...

I LOVE your mom's painting. There's one on my wall that's similar in tone and content. Love it. Does she have a website?
Your daughter's is so cute! And she really did do a good job with the color contrasts. It definitely stands out. :-)
I love your analogy in this post and completely agree. I'm determined to never be ashamed of my first pubbed book (someday when I'm a multipubbed bestseller, LOL) because I was learning and if it got pubbed, then it entertained someone, right? LOL
Great post Natalie!

L.T. Elliot said...

I've always wanted to be a writer but I've only really pursued it this last year. I'm still kind of new but I'm enjoying the ride. I think you're doing awesome!

Melissa said...

Wow, both of those pictures are wonderful! I'm okay at drawing, but my oldest daughter has a real talent.

I'm like you - at the very beginning of this writing journey. But I hope to stay on this path for a very long time. This is my passion, and I want to develop it to the best of my ability.

Catherine Denton said...

I LOVE this post. It almost made me cry. So inspiring. Both paintings drew me in. Thank you for the lift.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Both of those paintings make my heart sing! Such glory and emotion.
I've been a writer most of my life, but I've only been seriously writing fiction in the last couple of years. I'm still learning tons of stuff and loving it.

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh yes, frame that picture! How cute! And you Moms painting is beautiful.

I have only been writing for about 18 months. I have no intentions of giving it up, but I know that writing is avery long road. I have traveled a few long roads though, so I am take a bet on myself. :)

Lisa and Laura said...

This is one of my favorite blog posts ever. Just perfect. I'm bookmarking and tweeting this one, Natalie.

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Your mom is a beautiful artist! And you know what? SO is your daughter! This is a really wonderful post (I know I'm seconding a lot of other comments already...)

As for me? I feel like I've been on this journey my entire LIFE. As a writer, I have been. But as a writer who's about to be actively seeking publication? Well I'm brand-spanking-new on this path! I'm really hoping not to be one of the ones who gives up either!

Bane of Anubis said...

Good post, and your daughter's already a better artist than I am.

Hardygirl said...

Holy Cow! I'm speechless. Both paintings are equally gorgeous. I LOVE this post!!

sf

V. S said...

Both are very talented!!! I love how you compare the writing process to art!!!

Erica said...

Beautiful post! I love both pieces. Oh yes, frame it :o) Your daughter would love that too. My sis paints too, and we have her work all over the house. Being creative is a beautiful thing :o)

I am definitely a newbie! Been writing for a couple of years, but really have gotten serious about it last year.

This is one I'll remember :o)

Stephanie Thornton said...

Wow! I love both those paintings- you need to get them both framed!

One of my favorite paintings is one on canvas my daughter did for Father's Day. She was only two and it's globby and covered in pink glitter paint. I wrote on the edges what she said as she painted it- it's precious!

Your post had kind of perfect timing- I had to give you a little something on my blog today. :)

Valerie Geary said...

Wowzer wowzer to both of them!! The picture your daughter made is a wonderful one to hang on the fridge... no.. scratch that!! The wall!

staceyjwarner said...

I love your daughter's painting. I hope you frame it.

I've been on this road for my entire life, LOL! It has had different phases but deep down even when I've tried to say I'm not a writer, I've always been.

much love

Thomas Taylor said...

Lovely pictures! Your mother's painting is very good, Natalie, but your daughter's picture is truly delightful, and would look fab framed on the wall. There's an artistic soul behind that happy yet troubled expression.

Oh, and, er, what road? Perhaps I should get out more:)

Aubrie said...

What a beautiful painting! You are so lucky to have a mom that can contribute to your household decor! You'll always think of her when you look at it.

I've been writing for about 4 years now, so I'm still pretty beginner myself.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Your daughter's painting is priceless!

I'm about a year into my writing journey so I'm definitely a fellow beginner. :-)

Linda Kage said...

Both pictures are absolutely beautiful. I would love to see more of your daughter's artwork a few years down the road, just to see how her style has changed.

Great analogy on writing. I still like to go back and look at my early stories and feel glad about how much I've changed, how much I can still change and grow.

destrella said...

Super talented family you have there. Awesome and beautiful! :O)

Patti said...

I feel like I've been on this road for a while, but I'm still a beginner. Awesome pictures.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Natalie, I do believe your daughter and mother share the same wonderful gift. They are both awesome artists. What treasures, and yes, definitely frame you daughter's piece. It deserves it!!

I'm with you, I don't want to be one that gives up, either.

Elana Johnson said...

This is so true! Anything creative takes time to master. And even then, it's not mastered. It's just evolving.

I've been writing for two years, and I learn something new about words, myself, the process every single day. It's an amazing ride.

Jill Kemerer said...

Your mother's painting is beautiful! And how lovely that she's sharing her talents with your little girl.

I've been pursuing publication for almost three years. It's not easy and I have many doubts, but I know I'll get published at some point.

Heather Sunseri said...

Both of those paintings are incredible! I'm sure you will cherish both forever! I got such warm feelings imagining your mom helping your sweet girl paint.

You are so right about beginners. I'm definitely a beginner on this path and loving almost every minute of it. I don't plan on giving up anytime soon.

Belle said...

Beautiful paintings, both of them! I find that I am far more conscious of being on the learning path when it comes to my own artwork - I spent much of my life not knowing how to draw, and then one day about eight years ago, for some reason I picked up a pen and drew my kids playing Nintendo. It wasn't a particularly good picture, but I enjoyed it so much I started looking into whether I could learn more, and that's when I began to realize that drawing ability isn't something that most of us are born with, it's something that most of us must learn.

With my writing - and I think this is because, despite a decades long writing hiatus during which I continued to write, just not specific projects - I've always written, and so I've been learning all the while. It's just that I've never thought of it consciously as learning. But it's something that's very similar to drawing. Writing is a craft, and as such there's always room for improvement, I think.

I love your posts, Natalie - they always get me thinking!

Voidwalker said...

As I see your daughter's painting and compare it to my own 4 year old daughter's artistic skills, I'd have to say your daughter has a bit of the artist in her! My little girl doesn't quite get it yet. Maybe later for her lol, maybe never. Some have that brain type.

Jennifer Shirk said...

First, your mom's picture is amazing! second, your daughter's picture is precious! And yes, so happy and expressive. I would definitely frame that. She's got talent.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Both pictures are so lovely! Your family is talented all around.

I am struck again and again about practicing and honing our craft. I've come to the point where I'd be fine if manuscripts I've spent years developing never see the light of day. If they were necessary to get me to this point, they served a purpose. We'll see what's to come.

Sandy Shin said...

Your entire family is so talented! Love both paintings.

As an artist and a writer, I love the connection you've drawn between writing and art, because it's very true. I am still a beginner when it comes to writing, but you're right. Everybody has to start somewhere. By persevering, I hope to become better someday.

Joanne Fritz said...

Ah, such talent. All of you. And an inspiring post. Thanks, Natalie.

I've been writing for 2 and a half years. Before that, I was an on-and-off writer (more off than on) for too many years. This time around, I'm determined to stick with it until I'm published.


Hey! It's My Blog

sherrinda said...

How beautiful!! I know you will treasure both paintings.

I am a beginner on this journey and finding it joyful and yet so incredibly difficult at the same time. (Working full time is dumping obstacles on my writing road!)

VR Barkowski said...

What an inspiring post, Natalie. Beautiful, as are both paintings. I've been writing for almost four years, but still don't feel like a "real" writer. I sometimes wonder if I ever will. I've finally found the courage to say I am a writer, though, if someone asks. That's a step in the right direction.

Candice said...

Great lessons and reminders. Sometimes I get so impatient to be "there" you know the place where I finally feel like I've found success as an author, but when I'm realistic I realize my first few books were practice. But still fun and worthwhile.

Jody Hedlund said...

LOVE those pictures, Natalie!! Thank you for sharing your insights. Honestly, one of the things I fear most as a beginner is getting my first book out there, and disappointing people. Even though it isn't the first book I've ever written, I'm still relatively "young" in writer years! Your post is such a great reminder that I don't need to be perfect yet!

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Your mom and your daughter are both very gifted. I'm a beginner on my journey, but that's exciting because it means I have so much waiting up ahead.

Oh, and your link worked. Yay! :)
Click for My Blog

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Love the paintings and definitely a great analogy. I've been writing off and on since I was in high school, but have only gotten serious about it in the last year and half, so I know I have a long way to go.

Chuck Dilmore said...

whoa...
your Mom and daughter are talented!
seriously, both works are beautiful!

"the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!"

you didn't get skipped, Kiddo...
you've got the goods!

peace~ Chuck

Daisy Whitney said...

Writing is hard, but it is worth it! I am about to start writing my sixth novel and it was on my fourth when I landed a book deal! The first three went unpubbed and will likely remain that way. The fifth I wrote while waiting on edits and now I am starting the second book in my book deal, which is thrilling to me! So keep at it! Keep going! Your writing does improve over time and persistence married with talent is a potent combination!

Terresa said...

I like how you point out that beginners stuff is worth reading too!

The analogy of art/painting and writing is a good one and gives me pause to think. Because, as cliche as it sounds, it's true: it's the journey that we need to relish, too. Not just the destination.