Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Painting With Words

If painting has taught me one thing it is patience. I’ve been working on this oil painting since the first of the year. My wonderful art instructor, Lane Whitney promised I would learn so much from painting this ‘old world’ apple painting. And she was right. You must first draw the apples carefully measuring so they are in proportion. The painting is a series of layering the paint to achieve the effect you desire while showing light and dark values to create the depth of the apples. As you complete the layers the painting evolves into hopefully something that is pleasing to the eye. And for the artist it’s the satisfaction in completing a piece that you’ve poured yourself into.

Writing works much in the same way. If you do it well you will learn patience. Because you start with an idea or a mental picture of what you’d like to evoke to your reader. You must first build a picture which is compiled of the characters and the facts. Then you make sure the story has some depth and you begin layering the story so the reader is drawn into it and continues reading to get to the pinnacle of the story and hopefully evokes emotion that concludes it was an enjoyable experience. It’s the satisfaction of completing a well written story that others desire to read that encourages you to continue to improve and challenge yourself in the craft.

I was hoping to share in this post that a submission I made for a book of compiled stories had been accepted. But the dreaded email came, ‘rejected’. Actually I wasn’t as disappointed as I expected. I surprised myself that I felt peace at the results. I’d rather have something well written published than something that was mediocre. And in retrospect it could have been better written. Submitting a story is sometimes half the battle. I once took a writing class at a local college where the instructor had never submitted her writing for publication. When I asked why, she said she was fearful of rejection. If I’m going to be rejected let it be from a publisher not from myself from the beginning.

A couple of days after my rejection I was contacted by the interim editor/publisher of a local newspaper wanting to know if I’d like to do some freelance work for them. She offered two assigned stories if I’d like, but they would be due in two days. I thought it best to accept one because I didn’t think I could do both well in such a short span of time. I completed my first assignment and received payment for my story!

This journey of going from writing to seeking publication is truly a step of faith. But yet I sense I’m going where God is leading and until he tells me to make a U-turn I’ll trust him in my endeavors. So far the stories I’m doing have been about amazing people who are battling or have survived cancer and heart disease. I enjoy meeting people and everyone I’ve interviewed have been very nice. I was offered a choice of what to write and chose feature stories. The stories will be 400 – 700 words and if needed I will also be responsible for photos. So I get to work in two areas I enjoy. What a blessing to have this opportunity to practice my craft.