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Writing Wednesdays with Michael Haase: How Writing Improves All Art

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Now that you're improving your life by writing something every day, a good question to ask is "where do I go from here?" I assume that the vast majority of the people visiting this magazine consider themselves an artist in one way or another. I will maintain throughout my series of articles that story drives all arts. Creating art is like cultivating a field of flowers, and story is your bumblebee, your pollinator. Without a story, your art will neither thrive nor bloom.

In all arts, practicing the art of story is imperative. I doubt Monet saw a pond full of water lilies and rounded up his supplies with the simple thought that he could just "paint those really well." I challenge you to view "Water Lilies," and not have a story of your own spontaneously write itself in your head. If you're thinking "no, I just think it's pretty," then realize that the reason why you think it's pretty is because of a story popping up into your head. Seriously. Story runs that deep.

Now...let's assume that my influence upon you is somehow swift, and you've been writing something every day...onto that pesky question: "Where do I go from here?"

If you've been writing every day since my last article, then you have at least seven writings under your belt. First, perhaps you can look back in satisfaction that you have written more in the past week than you have in the past month...or maybe even in the past year. Look back and be satisfied.

Now look forward. What kind of artist do you consider yourself, first and foremost? It's okay if you are several different types of artist, just pick one for now. Got your answer in your head? Then let's apply your writings from the past week to your art.

If you consider yourself a writer, then take one of your seven or so writings and turn it into visual art. Cut it up, paste it onto a page, color over that page. Maybe you could try rewriting it in the best script or calligraphy you can manage. Or, maybe you could sing your words. The street runs both ways, writers: practicing other arts will improve your writing as well.

If you consider yourself a musician, then take one of your writings and start scoring it. Perhaps you consider your music serious, and yet you wrote all comical things. That's even better. Force yourself to compose some lighthearted music, in that case. Sometimes artists become too comfortable with one type of genre or palate of emotions and fail to recognize how all emotions play into one another. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone with writing.

If you are a visual artist, then take one of your writings and illustrate it. Make your words understandable without anybody needing to read them. Once again, if your writings don't match your typical style of creative talent, stretch yourself. For example, if you create gorgeous landscapes most of the time, try creating a cartoon based upon one of your writings. Why not? What's the worst that can happen?

It's important to push yourself as an artist. It can become easy to get caught up in assuming all of the artists who typically influence us are perfect. I believe great artists are those who are the least afraid of having a trash can nearby. Why? Because you learn about yourself from your mistakes. So, get out there, create some time, and use maybe ten minutes of it every day writing a story, poem, or anything at all. Let a little bit of story every day pollinate your art and improve you as an artist, and you will soon be running triumphantly through fields of flowers you created.

Questions? Comments? Want to connect, or just need advice? Feel free to contact me at madmrbutler@gmail.com

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