4 Ways Exploring Other Art Forms Can Help You as a Writer


A painting I did recently

Almost every writer I know is also artistic in another area. Either they are painters, graphic designers, musicians, actors, or filmmakers. This is maybe because we are storytellers, and there are so many ways to tell a story.

I’d like to encourage you to step outside of your artistic box and try some form of art that you don’t usually do or some form of art that you may not be comfortable with. For example, I’m not particularly good at visual art, but sometimes I like to paint just because it’s fun. You could try playing an instrument you’ve never played or writing a song. You could paint something. You could try to sculpt something. You could get crafty and make a collage or decorate something. You could try performing a spoken word piece at an open mic night. Learn to crochet. Go on YouTube and learn the “Thriller” dance. The possibilities are endless.

The point is to try something new and to be creative in a way that you aren’t usually–in a way that is just for fun. Not only will you have a blast, but it may actually help your writing. Here’s how:

1. Stretch yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.

When we try new things, it forces us to grow and stretch. We might go places we aren’t comfortable with. Performing a spoken word piece in front of people at the coffee shop may be terrifying, but when you do it, you’ll find a new strength and courage you never knew you had. This will translate to your writing process, too. How many times as writers do we need to take risks and stretch ourselves as storytellers?

2. Give your writing a rest while keeping yourself in a creative space.

Sometimes it’s important to rest as a writer. Whenever I finish a story or a play, I always need to put it down for at least a few days or even a week before I look at it again and start revising. When you initially write something, you are usually on what I call “first draft high” where everything seems to be a good idea. After a few days, though, you can look at your draft with new eyes. While you are resting as a writer, though, it’s a great idea to try something else. Even if you are simply crocheting while watching those old episodes of Daria, you will still be creating something. (And hey! You could have a scarf or a blanket at the end of it.)

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A blanket I’m working on

3. Find new ideas and inspiration.

While you are practicing a different art form, you may stumble upon an idea for that next story or screenplay. Maybe you are painting something and the colors give you a particular emotion that inspires you to write about it. Maybe you create a collage that makes you write a poem. The possibilities are endless. I have written quite a few songs about characters in plays or novels that I have created. Every writer I know who is also a different type of artist has these “overlap” moments. You never know how you might be inspired until you try it.

4. Rediscover how fun it can be to make art.

Sometimes when I am writing, there is a “pressure.” I know that eventually my literary agent will probably read it and then publishers and then people and then there may be horrible reviews on Amazon that make me want to eat ice cream and cry. We all have these worries and anxieties when we are creating art we know we are going to show people. This art is just for you, though, and that allows you to simply have fun with it! And when you allow yourself to have fun painting something or performing a monologue at a party or playing a song on the ukulele, you may just rediscover how much fun it is to create a piece of writing as well.

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