Corinne maakt

My drawing and painting life

Blogging along with Effy

Aug22_face_HedyEpstein3loose_crop

a messy one-liner drawing in my sketchbook

Blogging, blogging… blogging along with Effy.

I’m taking part in the “Blogalong with Effy”, or: The ARTFULLY WILD BLOGALONG WITH EFFY. Effy Wild, a journal artist and online teacher, is hosting this challenge. The idea is we blog daily in September. I want to get back into a blogging rhythm and I will join for the sake of doing it together, in community. I may not keep up daily blogging all month, but I don’t think that’s a problem. I need a rhythm and this will help me find it.

Today I’ll write about what might keep me from succeeding in writing more frequently, the inner critic. And I’ll illustrate it by showing some of my drawings.

So: daily blogging, how to make it work in a way that it doesn’t take that much time? Or that it doesn’t mess up my day? Well, there’s one piece of advice I’ve heard more often: I could get up half an hour earlier each day and do it then. Get up at 6.30 AM, write a piece and then have breakfast. One possible thing that could mess this plan up is that I share a house with Hubby and Son. If I get up, will they be bothered by it? Will they start to rebel against it? Don’t know. We’ll see.

An alternative is that I wait until after breakfast and tidying the kitchen for the day and do it by the start of my work day. It could be an alternative for what I often do: write morning pages (write for the sake of clearing my head from clutter, sort the important to do’s from the not so important, make a little drawing, and then get going). I hear you say: Oh girl, that’s not the same thing! Yes, I know! I may need to do both.

Anyway. That’s not the only problem I see for this plan. I know from experience that a morning practice may show more and more time-consuming as I go ahead. Writing blogposts in say half an hour, how do I make it work? It will probably lead to an hour, hour and a half and so on. One reason for that is that I have the tendency to be perfectionist. Also, I run the risk that I lose focus, start wandering in all kinds of directions as it were, it I just write, write, write. I will start with one question and add another and another. I will write about all sorts of things, end up with a piece that is not particularly clear. Not the best kind of piece for the blog. Not right away at least. Some people call this process: writing the ‘shitty first draft’. You just have to accept that that’s what happens when you start writing a piece, be it a short story, an article, a full-blown book: you write the shitty first draft and don’t fuss over it being shitty – at first. You need to produce raw material first, work on it to improve it. You’ll have success in the end.

It goes like this: we accept the shitty first draft as a fact and try not to be judgmental about it. Keep the inner critic at bay, that little voice inside us that tells us ‘see, you can’t do this!’, you are not a writer, don’t pretend!’ and nasty downers like that. Don’t be bothered by it being shitty. It should be shitty. It’s OK. You write, you put it away, do something else, you read it and start editing. What should be there, what shouldn’t? If it’s really shitty, you just mine it for gold (I just made that up). A text is really shitty for example when there’s no structure, no clear point, it drags along and you never even finish one point. In Dutch we say ‘look for the little pearls’ (pareltjes). I thought mining for gold would be a good way to express that: you go back to the text and try to pull good ideas from it. Every good idea is a bit of gold, or a little pearl (pareltje). You can start a new text from each one of those points. That’s fine. That’s progress, even though there is no masterpiece at that time (yet). All part of the game.

The question is: Do I want to bother you with the shitty first draft? No. I do not. So if that happens, I will have to have a plan B.

Now for the other bad habit that might pull the rug from under me: I’m perfectionist. That doesn’t help if you want to write a shitty draft. How to take care of that? Many artists talk about their inner critic, that idea seems to fit here too. Talking about the inner critic, one of my art teachers, Tamara Laporte from Willowing, often tells us that we should see the inner critic as a person who wants to help us, but is rather protective of us, maybe overprotective. She is afraid for us that we might be hurt. She is not our enemy even though we sometimes perceive her like that. Tamara will say: You can just tell her to try and trust you that you’ll be fine. Ask her to be silent for now. This is a subject that artists often speak of among themselves in the online classes I’ve taken. I remember other people saying it in a slightly different way: we could send the perfectionist critic to sit in a corner – perhaps with a lovely cup of coffee or tea? – and leave us to it. So that’s what I should do:  send the perfectionist me – one version of the ever present inner critic – into her corner. Sit there and be quiet for today. If only because I need to work fast, I must make it to the end of my blogpost in time. J

So, that’s my strategy. I tell my perfectionist ‘mini-me’ that today it’s fine to be messy, to write shitty pieces. No one will be hurt by that. Today, for the first draft, it’s fine if I don’t spell well, it’s fine if the sentences go all wrong, it’s fine if I make style mistakes and so on. It’s all fine. (Do you hear me talking to the inner critic? I’m soothing her, making her sleep by the repetitive lines.)

Then when I go work on a second version, I will need the perfectionist me for a little while. She will help me make the piece better. But still, in a one a day challenge, I can’t afford to be too perfectionist. So there!

And there it is. One piece written, about writing drafts and the inner critic. It’s not original. But it’s there.

Drawback: writing this – plus editing – took quite long. And you might say it is way too long for a blog. Ha! OK, I will be looking for ways to produce a daily blogpost and make the time it takes about half an hour on average. One way to do it would be to write shorter pieces most of the time, and longer ones only one or two times a week. And I may have try the wake up half an hour early strategy. 🙂

BLOGALONG with EFFY in SEPTEMBER

A community of bloggers that share their blogging, started by Effy Wild. Effy Wild is a teacher of art journaling, but is also a writer. She created the blogalong: we make an effort to blog daily. We share links to our blogposts on her blog. We support each other. Find the full explanation on her blog. Writing in community has a wonderful side to it. We read each other’s posts. That takes time, but it also helps. We all feel support, we all get better. I will go to three other bloggers today and comment on their blogposts.

Question for other bloggers, especially the other participants of the blogalong: how do you make it work, so that the project of writing regularly (or even: daily) doesn’t take up too much time? Or is this the wrong question? Please share your thoughts below.

 

PS Do read yesterday’s post on the blogalong by Effy on her blog: “Failure is always an option!“! It’s so to the point of letting go of perfectionism. Go read it.

PPS I’ll talk about the one-liner drawing some other day.

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13 comments on “Blogging along with Effy

  1. eastcoastraven
    September 4, 2017

    I love this post – all of this is on my mind too. I also may not make it every day (thanks for helping me feel that’s ok) and will probably have short and longer posts.

    • corinnebekker
      September 4, 2017

      Thank you eastcoastraven. I’m glad that me sharing my worries and thoughts help you.

  2. effywild713
    September 4, 2017

    Hi, Corinne! I do morning pages, too. They’re my first priority, and often, they are where my blog post comes from. It works like this: I do my pages, and then I find the gold in the pile of brain dump. Then, I formulate that idea into a blog post. It’s really helpful. It’s almost as though I’ve already written my shitty first draft via the morning pages.

    It is time consuming, though, either way. I prioritize my writing life because its so darn therapeutic for me. ❤

    • corinnebekker
      September 4, 2017

      Hi Effy, thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I guess you’re right – that’s how it works: morning pages are for shitty first draft, an occasional bout of whining (haha) or writing lists. Perhaps I should just accept the fact it is time consuming, eh? xoxo

  3. Mary
    September 4, 2017

    Hi Corrine! Love this post. It’s so spot on. One of the ways I plan on being successful in the blog along is on days when I am just overflowing with thoughts and ideas, I am going to write extra blogs posts and save them to publish later. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts!

    • corinnebekker
      September 4, 2017

      Hi Mary, thanks so much for your kind comment. And yes, you’re so right. That’s very effective. Will visit your blog as well during the week to come!

  4. keeponsmilingskreativekorner
    September 4, 2017

    I wrote about how i love being home and thankful for writing *all morning*
    I adore morning pages too!
    I agree. I hate that inner critic. But effy has made me self aware that she can be fun if we turn her into a flower bouquet!

    • corinnebekker
      September 4, 2017

      Thank you for your story and comment on the inner critic: that just brought a big smile to my face. I’ll try that!

  5. TheForgottenMuse
    September 4, 2017

    Back when I was blogging regularly more or less, I usually did mine in the morning while having coffee or late at night before I went to bed after the day was done. I’m still trying to find that “perfect time” but honestly I don’t think there is one, you have to do what works for you. For me these last few days, I am discovering that if I don’t do them after I’ve checked email, got the prompt, and read/commented (during my morning coffee time) then chances are good I’ll procrastinate the rest of the day on get a post up.
    Funny thing is, I’ve tried to do morning pages on more than one occasion and failed at it. But I want to try again, and again, and again until I get it. Though, I think my morning pages would be more like evening pages where I can dump all the stuff of the day into my journal.

    • corinnebekker
      September 4, 2017

      Thanks for the response ForgottenMuse. If blogging works better for you than morning pages, by all means just work on your blog. And my morning pages are often Evening Pages, or mid-day pages. I just find they help me a great deal when my mind is too busy. And it helps to get a grip on the many thoughts in my mind (when I have that, which comes and goes, mostly when I am too busy, haven’t slept enough, work too hard.)
      Doing them makes the mind more quiet. But it didn’t happen straight away when I started them. I’ve had to learn. I do have to allow it to happen, create the space for it as it were. It’s hard to describe. And the more it happens, the easier it becomes to get back into that quiet space. By now a special kind of drawing also works the same magic for me.
      Thanks for being here and sharing your story!

  6. Emily M
    September 4, 2017

    Hoi Corinne! Hoe gaat het? (I am learning Dutch and excited to e-meet a blogger in The Netherlands 🙂 Whereabouts are you?) I love your post, it was the perfect balance of serious and humorous for me, thank you! I too have learnt a lot about working with my inner critic from Tamara! Have you read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert? She talks a lot about inner critics and some wonderful words on the topic. Have a great evening, Emily xx

    • corinnebekker
      September 4, 2017

      Hi Emily. Het gaat goed. Hoe gaat het met jou?
      I am in Utrecht. Where are you?
      Thanks so much for your kind comment. Nice to meet a fellow student of Tamara! I have read the first pages of Big Magic, it’s on the desk next to me right now, I may pick it up in the month to come. But first I’m re-reading a book by Cat Bennett called Making art a practice. I love her approach to drawing – and life -, so gentle and wise. Have a nice evening too! Corinne xx

      • Emily
        September 5, 2017

        Ja, ik ben goed, dank je wel! 🙂 Utrecht is lovely, I have been there a couple of times. I live in Reading, Berkshire (England) but come to NL every couple of months for work (and holidays too – I came to Beekbergen a few weeks back to explore the forest) I will have to check out Cat Bennett, I have never heard of her! xx

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