Comforting Creative Outlets

If you’re like me, every day has started to become a bit of a blur…but happy Monday all the same! After reading Sue’s great blog post last Monday (Why the World Needs Creatives More than Ever) I started to feel less guilty about my complete inability to write last week – I definitely felt my overall anxiety had depleted my creative reserves (not to mention having a household full of boys trying to work/being out of school). Instead of writing, I found myself turning to what I now call my ‘comforting’ creative pursuits – namely sketching and painting (as well as my less comforting, more challenging, creative pursuit – the dreaded knitting!).

I’ve dabbled in painting for years, always enjoying the fun of doing something for the pure pleasure of it. I’m not particularly good but also not particularly bad, so it’s a hobby that can be both satisfying and comforting. Unlike my writing, I don’t feel the pressure to excel or try to make a living out of it and, because I lean towards abstract art, my paintings don’t even have to look like anything in real life (bonus!).

The last couple of weeks I’ve found that getting absorbed in a painting is a great stress reliever. I get to just focus on the stroke of the paintbrush and the subtleties of color. It enables me to get engrossed in something other than compulsively checking news apps or social media – and time does seem to pass in a completely different way when I’m painting (hours seem to float by, calm and serene – it’s lovely!).

Next week my boys start back at school via remote learning and hubby will continue to work from home, so I need to set up a new schedule – one that reintroduces some decent writing time (I feel I really ought to get that back into focus!) and which, I hope, will also include time to paint. In these troubling times, I feel I need my comforting creative pursuits more than ever…

So TKZers what are your ‘comforting’ creative outlets? Are you having trouble focusing on your writing – or are you using this pandemic as a way of channeling your thoughts and feelings at the moment (I feel completely stymied in this regard!). What creative pursuits are you turning to? Books for me are also a comfort – although I had started a post-apocalyptic YA novel that might need to get re-shelved for while for my own mental health…

BTW – here’s a photo of my latest painting  ‘in progress’ – no judgement please:) When it’s finished it will hopefully look a little like the one at the top of this post (which I finished last week:))

Oh, and here’s a photo proving I have actually made some progress knitting!!

22 thoughts on “Comforting Creative Outlets

  1. If I may… other than spending most of yesterday on JSB’s TKZ post/challenge… ?


    I, too, have taken up the brushes and pencils, working on my watercolor “skills” learned in college as part of my architectural education… and the guitar a bit more – to the annoyance of the home bound… I am trying to keep from going all Jack Nicholson / Shining on each other – and me… it’s a small house, but a big yard~

  2. “Comforting creative pursuits”–what a great concept, especially for those of us for whom at least one kind of creative activity is a vocation (“job,” tho not one that pays).

    I’ve been reading more (justifying it as searching for comps) and editing less. (My novel, my novella, and my bunch of stories are all at the edit stage.)

    Reflecting on Clare’s challenge, I think I have to get back to my “writing journal,” where, for a while, I was trying to do free-flow writing each day–either an add-on to the previous day’s flow or something new. The trouble with add-ons is that the piece soon becomes a work piece.

  3. I love to draw and paint and have a painting project I want to tackle involving the re-purposing of some copper-bottomed flat plastic/tins from the grocery store (which should make a great backdrop for painting desert scenes) but I’ve been too wound up to do it.

    The current crisis has created more chaos, but hasn’t freed up any time. Until I can settle down and get used to mass hysteria as the new normal, my objective is to just write whatever pops into mind. Whether I have a specific story in mind or not. That worked for me this morning. I probably wrote close to a thousand words. Have absolutely no idea yet what I’m going to do with it, but the main objective is get words on paper (literally paper, because I’m sick to death of computers at this point). I’ll doubtless have some good stuff, and some garbage. 😎

  4. I, too, am having trouble settling down to authorly stuff. I’ve received my first novel back from my editor. Need to dig into second-round edits on that. And I’m about 2/3 of the way through self-editing and layering the first draft of my second novel.

    Yesterday, to keep my hands to the keyboard and those girls in the basement busy, I started a list of first lines, such as: “Jassie stretched and touched her bloody fingertip to the thin branch overhead.” Or, “The shabby old man heard screeching tires behind him, but turned a second too late.” Or, “She sat alone in the white-tiled room, wondering why it smelled of decayed flesh.” Some are brilliant, some are trash, but the exercise was entertaining.

    And there are so many headlines these days! I’ve taken more than a few and tweaked them…replacing the word “coronavirus” and replacing it with something completely off-the-Covid-wall. Fun.

    On to other artsy stuff. I’m a music enthusiast…used to be more heavily involved in the performance side. So, I take some time away every day to listen. Just discovered some heavenly cello music. Music always feeds my soul. It’s such an optimistic art…it’s hard to be a deer-in-the-headlights when I’m plugged into the greats.

    Unfortunately, I also like to cook. Ah, well, we do need to eat in quarantine!

    • I have also been doing a lot of cooking – mainly baking, which feeds the soul as well as the waistline:) Hope you can get into the editing – though sounds like you’ve also been doing some fun writing activities which have made me think maybe that’s what I need to do to regain some writing focus. I think we should do whatever we can to try and distract from the headlines:(

  5. Wow! Your knitting looks great. I need to get out my needles again. I almost have my pottery room cleaned out so that’s where you will find me. Working with clay is very soothing.

    • Patricia, the photo hides the dropped stitches and other mistakes thankfully! Love the idea of pottery – though sadly I don’t seem very capable when it comes to any three-dimensional art but it sounds soothing:)

  6. I’m fortunate that a certain skilled beta reader just returned my WIP with excellent suggestions. I’m working through the ms. to make her changes, which is easier than trying to generate fresh, original material on my own. Yet it’s still very satisfying to see the story get better with rewriting based on her ideas.

    Your paintings look like beautiful stained glass windows, Clare!

  7. I’ve always felt that my life direction was like a cattle chute. Wide at one end as you enter then narrows down to one direction. I’ve been interested in many of the creative arts, but I have a talent for only one– writing. I’m okay with that, and I have always tried to use my “free” time to do things that aren’t sitting in one spot. The gym, working in the garden, cooking when there is someone besides myself to cook for, etc.

  8. Your post resonates 200%! All I want to do is sketch/draw, watercolor, make zines, practice hand-lettering, and knot paracord bracelets. That pesky “work” of writing copy for my clients is annoying (but pays for the art supplies and the bills). LOL

  9. Sorry I’m late! I’ve been cooking up a storm. My husband loves it, of course, but if I keep this up, we’ll be 300 lbs. by the time the crisis ends. 🙂

    Beautiful painting, Clare. I’m so glad you’ve found a creative outlet that brings you joy during this difficult time.

Comments are closed.