I am the queen of ideas but pretty much suck at implementation. I'll be honest: the only reason I'm trying to score a ginourmous book deal is because how else am I going to afford to hire all the people who brilliantly do all the things I forget to? For now, I'm happy to wave the shiny new ideas I do manage to move from the THOUGHT IT UP pile to the GOT THE T-SHIRT pile proudly, like the $1,000 lotto ticket I once held in my hand and managed to not lose. Today's Shiny New could be a giant fail or a quiet success, and both are okay with me. I just want to give it a shot and see what comes of it.
My friend Cecily, a brilliant writer and (she doesn't realize this yet, but she is also a very talented artist) and I had a conversation the other day about doubting ourselves and undervaluing our own talents. It's human nature, we both know. And human nature sucks sometimes. But back to the Shiny New, which is an idea I've been dreaming up since the first time I realized that I had Actual Artistic Ability. I've wanted to somehow combine writing and art and provide a place and a space for the many talented writerly artists I know (and those I hope to know). I also wanted to make sure that whatever I came up with allowed for all levels to participate -- from the basic beginning artist or fledgling writer to the accomplished and successful.
On instagram, I'll often see friends post pictures of their beautiful creations (almost always with a big and slightly bemused I did THIS smile) after a fun evening at one of those painting events where you get to drink and laugh with your friends while creating something beautiful on canvas. I live too far off the beaten path for that sort of thing, but I love the idea of self-doubt (I am no artist!) being quieted by sheer joy, togetherness, and perhaps a bit of wine. I think that's why these group painting events are so successful, really. After you sign up with a friend or two and arrive, probably thinking you wasted the money because you can't draw a straight line, you realize you already spent the money on the participation fee and you are already there and what the hell...may as well have some fun, right?
The beautiful thing is that most of the others are thinking the same and they dive in when you do, because even if you think you can't do it well, you may as well have fun with it. Right? And then you step back and you are smiling and bemused because you did it and you love it and look at that, you just got 67 likes on instagram!
I live too far away from civilization for any kind of writer's group, too. My friend Mercedes is a fantastically talented horror writer and I am in awe (and totally jealous) of the constant support and obvious camaraderie shared by her writing group friends in my Facebook feed. They have things like word wars where one will say something like Okay Gang, I've got 30 minutes on the clock! Go! And then they will all report back on the same thread in 31 minutes with the number of words written within the timeframe. They make each other remember that the dream takes work and sometimes that work means forcing the words from our veins because how else will they appear 0n the page? They build each other up and talk smack and laugh and cry with each other because the writing life is a roller-coaster just as often as it is a Bill Murray Ground Hog Day marathon.
I want that.
I want all of it.
So here's what I'm thinking. An image and a story. I'll post one of my original pieces for you to replicate in your own style with your choice of medium and include a writing prompt that ties in to the artwork. You'll have one week to complete your art and short writing from the prompt (500 words or less), and post both completed works on your website, blog, instagram feed, or Facebook account. I don't want this limited to the blogosphere, so I'm open to sharing and connecting on any platform that appeals to you.
The Prompted CopyCat is nothing formal. No official forms to sign. No fee to be paid. Just an idea to pass on and join in on if it calls to you. Every week I'll post my own completed writing from the previous week's prompt so you know I'm here to play with y'all, too, before posting the new art and prompt combo. Think of it as a living, guided artist journal. Or an illustrated writing journal, depending on which identity you feel more drawn to.
I'm going to forgo linkies, at least for now, because I'm not quite sure how this is going to play out yet, but I do ask that participants do a things for us to be able to connect with and support each other on our respective journeys:
1- Always play nice. We are here to create a community, which means we always play nice in the sandbox.
2- Please link each week's prompt on Aspiring Mama when sharing your work online.
3.Use #PromptedCopyCat on twitter and social media outlets like instagram (which doesn't allow for live links).
4. Leave a comment linking to your work and completed prompt in order for me (and hopefully others) to find and support your efforts.
That's basically it. For those of you interested in joining in, here's your first assignment:
Valentine's Day is on my brain because the jewelry ads are telling me I need more shiny things. So we start with doodles and hearts.
I did this one with ink on a torn out book page. Used book shops and garage sales are great places to score deals on pages it won't hurt your wallet to doodle on. Another option is to raid your own collection of books. Instead of getting rid of the ones your don't read, try using it instead as a starting place for your art.
I prefer to rip the page out before doodling, that way I only ruin one page if I decide what I end up isn't what I intended it to be. And while I started out with zentangle books, I usually end up veering off into another direction, so now I tend to just put the pen to the paper and look up when I feel it's time to stop. For this week's Prompted CopyCat, you are welcome to try replicating this image, or go wild and see what you come up with on your own. As y0u can see, I like swirls and curves and I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to clean lines. But if you are copying or merely using this as a starting point, remember that this is yours to create with the eyes you see. Art is not supposed to be perfect. Embrace what you see and how you see it.
As for the writing prompt? Tell me a love story. It can be any genre, but please try to be respectful of the fact that Prompted CopyCat is meant to be an open community, so no 50 Shades stuff, okay?
I'll be back next week with my completed prompt and the next Prompted CopyCat assignment!
Hope to see you then!