How Writing a Book is Like Painting

 In 5 Ways to Art, author, book, creating, discoveries, edit, painting, vulnerability, writing

Dear Friends,

Now that Studio Stories is finally here, I’d like to share with you how the book came to be.

But first, I’m excited to invite you to my very first book reading: October 17 at Busboys & Poets Takoma, DC.  I hope you can join us!

And now, here’s the true story behind Studio Stories:

Once upon a time a young counselor at sleep-away camp got to run Arts & Crafts. It was pretty much a dream come true, what with playing with art stuff all day and painting little kids’ faces. She did it for a few summers way back when.

The years went by and the woman kept making art and teaching. Then she got tired of teaching kids and started teaching grownups. She taught the classes in her very own studio. And some real interesting stuff started to happen. Their art spoke to them. Through writing and sharing about their work, they figured things out – things about themselves, about the people they love, about their past, and about the present. Epiphanies emerged. Friendships formed. And lives changed. So her husband said, there’s a book here. Write it.

So she tried. She tried a lot of times. This book writing thing was different from making art and she didn’t know how to begin. Then, one day, she thought, I’m going to write this to my dear friend Dave. And she found her voice. She wrote to Dave.

10 or so years later, her book, Studio Stories, Illuminating Our Lives through Artis a real live book.

Along the way, she learned a few things. Here are 5 of them…

5 Ways Writing a Book is Like Painting

1. Sometimes you have no idea what the heck you’re doing. I’ve been writing most every day since I was 17. So you’d think I’d know how. But writing a book isn’t the same as writing in my sketchbook.
When I started, I had no picture in my mind of the finished book. Around that time, in my art classes, we were working in clay using the idea of Life as a journey. Below is my rendition of my Life as a journey. My journey at that moment, writing a book, was a total mess.

Mess of a book


Thankfully, Sara, one of my wonderful students, and an author of 3 published books, explained to me, “That’s what all books look like when they start.” I can’t tell you how helpful that was!

So, I kept at it and slowly it began to have a form. Just like a painting would.

2. Discoveries happen along the way. As I wrote, I learned. Actually, I could write book about all the things I learned writing my book (but believe me, I won’t). Even now, in the last stages of putting it all together, and figuring out how to get it out into the world, I’m still learning. A lot.

It’s the same when you’re making art. There’s always something you’re figuring out. Even your mistakes teach you. Nothing is wasted.

3. That’s why they call it a craft. As I revised my book over and over again, I’d find myself seeking a perfect word, or a phrase that would mean precisely what I was trying to say.

And I thought: so that’s why they call it a craft. You’re crafting each paragraph, each sentence, just like you craft your artwork – altering colors, adding, taking away, so that it evokes the exact sensation you’re going for.

4. You have to edit.  My process of making art often goes something like this: I start > I keep going > I step back > I look at what I’ve done. And then: I add > I take away > I add > and back and forth it goes.

And turns out, my process was pretty much the same for writingStudio Stories. I started writing > I kept writing > I read > I revised > I reread > I revised. And then I revised again. About 1,000 times.

Searching for an elusive title

.5. Courage. This creativity stuff is personal. You feel vulnerable seeing the work you’ve created in private go out into the world.My art’s been on gallery walls, me feeling like an emperor with no clothes. Everything is right up there for others to see, and judge. They might not know this, but it’s me up on those walls, me they’re judging. And that’s not easy – at least it’s not easy for me.

And now, the book – the book it took so long to figure out, so long to write, so long to choose a title for – that book is starting to be in people’s hands. Pretty exciting – and pretty scary. But a very wise young woman, my daughter actually, told me: vulnerability is where we meet one another.

I believe there’s value in the pages of this book, and I think it’ll be a great place to meet. So I’m thinking courage. I’m going to be brave and share it around, just like my paintings.Studio Stories is finally launched, ready to order! I’m hangin’ on for the ride. Hope you’ll join me!

To all you are,

These days, the best way to sell a book is by word of mouth and sharing online. So share, share, share, and thank you, thank you, Thank you!!!

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