Unique: Developing My Personal Style As a Creative #AtoZChallenge

Hi everyone and welcome to my letter U post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today, I want to talk about developing my own unique style as a creative.

As a writer, I think I do have a unique style. I have certain words that I use often, even though I try to vary my language too. In fact, I may have so much of a specific word choice that it gets boring at times. I really want to step outside of my comfort zone where it comes to my writing more and explore styles that I don’t normally employ. This includes poetry and flash fiction.

As a polymer clay artist, I haven’t really developed my own style yet, in the sense that most of my current creations are still based on the creations of popular YouTubers. Some are actually pretty much copies.

An interesting exception may be my unicorns. I do give a specific twist to my designs, most notably in the twisted mane and tail.

Unfortunately, with respect to my polymer clay, I struggle to step outside of my comfort zone even more than I do in the area of my writing. I fear ruining my clay, even though obviously that’s no problem, since I can always buy new clay. Honestly, now that I think of it, I may not have a unique style in any of my creative pursuits at all, but may just be sticking to a particular comfort zone. I really need to start experimenting more!

It may all be related to the fact that I’m not as imaginative as I’d like to be. Then again, Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way (I think) encourages her readers to explore creativity by experimenting. She also says that, to be a good artist, you first need to be a bad artist. In this sense, maybe I should really start making my own unique creations rather than copying from YouTube more. They may turn out rubbish, but so what? Some famous quote I think said that something’s better well stolen than poorly created. I think I disagree.

Artistic Self-Discovery: Am I Even an Artist? #AtoZChallenge

Hi and welcome to day one in the #AtoZChallenge. I have been uncertain as to what topic to choose for my first post. Last year, I chose to use my letter A post as an opportunity to introduce my topic. Today, I’m doing something similar. My topic this year is creative self-discovery and self-expression. A question that’s always been on my mind though, is: “Am I even an artist?”

When I joined some groups for creatives and artists on Facebook, I initially wasn’t sure whether they would be for just visual artists like those using paint or drawing as their primary medium. I mean, even “mixed-media” art usually includes some aspect of visual art. Thankfully, the members of most groups have been able to reassure me that, as a polymer clay hobbyist, I am more than welcome.

Then comes the question of quality. I mean, does my work have to meet certain standards to be considered art. I am still in many ways a beginner and, in all of the creative pursuits I have made, never got beyond that level, if I even got beyond the level of a 3-year-old.
Then I am reminded of Julia Cameron’s words in The Artist’s Way that you need to be a bad artist before you can be a good artist. In other words, no-one really is naturally good at art. She in fact seems to go as far as to say everyone has the ability to be creative within them.

The thing is, I am both rather impatient and perfectionistic. This combination means I feel easily discouraged by negative feedback on my first attempts at something creative. I really want to skip the “bad artist” phase and, especially when I know other people move on from that stage more quickly than I do, I feel disappointed in myself.

That being said, I realize now there is a reason Julia Cameron says you shouldn’t show your Morning Pages to anyone and shouldn’t even reread them yourself until week eight of the program. Wanting to share your creativity too soon, may lead to negative feedback and this in turn may lead, as it has with me, to discouragement.

I am learning this as I start to explore macrame, first learning the knots quite well before I’ll even think of showing anything online. That way, I am still trying, might still fail, but the chances are less that I’ll make a fool out of myself on Facebook.

To get back to the question that sparked this post: yes, I am am artist, just like I am indeed a writer even though it’s been nearly seven years since that one little piece I got published in an anthology. And even if I had nothing published in print, I’d still be a writer. Similarly, just because I don’t sell my artistic creations, doesn’t mean I’m not an artist.

#IWSG: My Biggest Writing-Related Regret

IWSG

Hi everyone. It’s the first Wednesday of the month and this means it’s time for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (#IWSG) to meet. I have been doing pretty well in the writing department over the past month.

My Morning Pages, which I started last Saturday, are going strong so far, although I’m resisting getting up for writing them sometimes. I am not as strict with myself as Julia Cameron expects. I mean, I can’t handwrite at all, so I am typing up my pages. I am also not being strict about the three pages (750 words) per day. So far, yesterday, I almost got there. The other days, I barely got to 500 words if even that.

Then again, I’ve been blogging quite consistently over the past month. I wrote 23 blog posts in December, which means I reached my goal of publishing 300 posts in 2021 (in fact, I published 303). In January so far, I’ve been posting everyday and I am still quite motivated to continue doing so. There are a few blogging-related challenges that provide prompts, such as #Bloganuary, #JusJoJan, etc. I don’t intend on participating in any of these challenges every single day, but to use them as springboards towards creativity.

Now on to this month’s optional question. This month, we are asked to share our biggest regret in our writing career. I don’t quite consider myself as having a writing career per se and, as such, my biggest regrets involve things I didn’t do rather than things I did. Like, in late 2020, I fully intended on writing a story for Chicken Soup for the Soul about the impact of care homes closing to visitors due to the pandemic on me and my husband. I never did. I could, of course, still write the story and share it on my blog, but that would be different to submitting it to Chicken Soup.

Behind the fact that I never wrote, much less submitted the story is a fear of rejection. I tend to think my work is not good enough. Then again, if I don’t try, I will never succeed.

In my Morning Pages, I keep writing that maybe I am not supposed to do The Artist’s Way at all, because I am already public with my writing and my crafting. I am not a shadow artist in this respect. Furthermore, as Julia Cameron says, it is audacity, not talent, which gets some people to become published creatives and others to stay in the shadows. I tend to interpret this to mean that, if I am audacious enough to publish my work online without having done the program first, it must mean I’m not talented. That’s probably not what she means.